This abstract describes only the practical problems which I face and does not touch on anything theoretical or conceptual. At some stage in the next few weeks I plan to have an abstract outlining a more conceptual problem rooted in documentary theory.
About a month ago I was approached by DJ Mohair Slim of PBS with a proposition: to take over the production of a documentary already started by himself and Nicky Bomba and follow it through to its completion.
The story is the history of Jamaican recording group The Caribs and Studio One engineer and entrepreneur Graeme Goodall. These guys were seminal characters in the formation of Jamaican music and in particular Ska, Rocksteady and Reggae. The most interesting part of this story, and the reason and basis of its relevance and interest, is the fact that they were originally from Melbourne. In 1958 The Caribs, a goldcoast cabaret band took a one-way trip to Jamaica. Whilst there they met a fellow Australian, radio producer and engineer Graeme Goodall. Together they would create the sound behind Jamaica’s early recordings and become a powerful influence on the formation of the unique Jamaican sound.
This is a preview/short concept piece put together by DJ Mohair Slim. This story is largely untold and left out of the official Jamaican musical history cannon.
The Abstract/The Problem
First of all, the fundamental problems with this task:
1) A substantive amount of interviewing has already taken place without my presence. This amounts to around 27 DV tapes full. All the interviews were conducted in several overseas locations and so will be difficult to re-produce (if I feel that absolutely necessary).
2) Style. We don’t want to create a dry, expository tale of an obscure jazz band who had an influence in the early 1960’s. We want to create a harder-edged story that explores the exploits of some adventurous young men who left their homes in Australia and wreaked havoc in the Caribbean. The stories are hilarious, dangerous, shocking and intriguing. They set the tone of the era, with mentions of such figures as Errol Flynn.
3) Budget. I plan on applying for funding but must first develop the concept and the script. The next steps of the project, to be completed throughout Honours will probably have to be completed on zero budget.
4) There is a huge amount of preliminary research done, with which I must completely familiarise myself.
Abstract: Over the next 8 months I will produce a screenplay and accompanying preview as a pitch for a feature length documentary. At this stage there is zero budget and no copyright to the music. I have extensive preliminary interviews and archival news stories and footage and hope to use these to construct a creative and engaging narrative and design an exciting visual style. Essentially this is the development of the creative approach to the story, in order to generate interest for further development.