Working on a local newspaper (although there are fewer opportunities now), “was a brilliant training ground for a career in television because you learn how to tell a story”.
Getting started “Look at the documentaries that you like and see which companies have made them … If you’re developing an idea for a documentary film, the thing that is going to make people take notice is if you have access to somebody or something that … other people might not have.”
Be adaptable “You have to be a chameleon in documentaries … to get on with everybody and anybody from the chief executive of a board of a multinational to someone cleaning the streets.”
The internet “is really valuable as tool, but not to the exclusion of calling and meeting people … there are other ways to research programmes … There’s no substitute for [meeting] people.”
On losing your mojo “You can easily get lost in your career – you can forget the reason that you went into [TV] in the first place … I need to make films because it makes me the person I am.”
As a film-maker, “I always show films to contributors … You want to know you’ve done the right thing and that they feel comfortable that the nature of the film you explained to them [at the start] is the one you’ve made.”
By Matthew Bell.