Documentary Making #10

I’ve seen it. A rough cut. But I’ve seen it.

What can I say? Wow. Zara and her team have done an amazing job. I genuinely think it’s a great documentary. It’s weird, I agonised for so long over line breaks and metre and form and now I watch it I realise that none of that stuff is going to matter. What matters is how the documentary makes you feel. Poetry is just a device to communicate the stories. Of course I knew that. The film is about love, not about poetry. And how did I feel, well, I laughed and I almost cried, and I think you may do too. I think I’m pleased with my contributions, it’s hard for me to tell. Normally when I see my stuff on telly I hate it, I don’t this time, so that’s got to be a good sign.

The poems I wrote are none of them in their entirety, there just wasn’t time for them to be. I always knew this would be the case. Personally I want there to be as much of my stuff in there as possible, but my ego is not so large and unwieldy that I don’t realise that the most important thing is that the film itself is as good as it can possibly be. That’s what makes film so amazing, it’s teamwork – artists and technicians working together to make a total greater than the sum of its parts. I certainly felt very proud to have been working not only with Zara and her excellent team, but also with the incredible people who told us their stories and performed by words. I have to admit to feeling very humbled that they valued my words highly enough to deliver them to the nation.

So there we go. Another project all but finished. I learned a long time ago that in the real world one successful project does not propel you to stardom (a career in the arts is not The X Factor) but I am really excited (bit breathless excited) that one million odd people will be watching this programme next Friday night. I feel very confident that the majority will enjoy it and be moved by it. I hope that they don’t think the bits I wrote detract from the wonderful job Zara has done. That’s not false modesty, that’s just me being a paranoid writer.

The Arts Council are being great in helping with publicity, as are Penguin, Tania at Latitude, and various other movers and shakers in arts and publishing who have very kindly agreed to pass on word of the film. I heard yesterday that we will be pick of day in The Guardian’s Guide next week, which is awesome. Neil D’arcy-Jones at Colchester Gazette is being wonderful as always and running a story. Thanks to Neil and the Colchester Gazette by the way, they’ve always been really supportive of me in my home town, and that way my mum gets to read about it too!

So, I shan’t be pratting on about the doc for too much longer now. There’s a page (see link on right) on it now if you want to read about all those who have a starring role. Next up for me is a tour of A Poet’s Work Is Never Done and a new show, tentatively entitled The Petty Concerns of Luke Wright – watch, as they say, this pace.

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