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Docudrama: Words of docudrama wisdom

On telling the story of Pompeii: 'Frankly, the biggest character was the volcano... we were following the mountain and what it was going to do next. It's like Ridley Scott's Alien, [the audience] knows the alien is out there, but the characters don't know what it's going to do next. There were lines in Pompeii's narration that would say 'By now, the pressure had been building up to...' and you think 'God, it's going to blow, but the people are still trying to figure whether to go in or out of their house.' It's classic drama telling around a real event.'
March 1, 2008

On telling the story of Pompeii:
‘Frankly, the biggest character was the volcano… we were following the mountain and what it was going to do next. It’s like Ridley Scott’s Alien, [the audience] knows the alien is out there, but the characters don’t know what it’s going to do next. There were lines in Pompeii’s narration that would say ‘By now, the pressure had been building up to…’ and you think ‘God, it’s going to blow, but the people are still trying to figure whether to go in or out of their house.’ It’s classic drama telling around a real event.’

On the boundaries of poetic license in docudrama:
‘The key thing is that you don’t deceive the audience…. You can make things up if it doesn’t matter to make them up, and if the audience would not be distressed about the fact that you have made them up. One of the key things about dramadoc is that you must never turn the narrative on something that didn’t happen, or else the whole thing falls apart.’

On promoting docudramas:
‘If you’re going to do them, you’ve got to support them fully with all the marketing. It’s very simple: if something is going to be a big noise, you have to make a big noise about it. I do have some sympathy for the broadcasters in that if something doesn’t stand out in the schedule because it’s more of the same, is it worth putting the financial commitment into?’

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.

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