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The musket shot heard ’round the world

Recent TV trends suggest there are three key ingredients that will ensure broadcaster buy-in on a project: conflict (in front of the camera that is, not behind it), getting 'real' people to dress and behave like it's another era, and focus on a seminal period in history.
March 1, 2004

Recent TV trends suggest there are three key ingredients that will ensure broadcaster buy-in on a project: conflict (in front of the camera that is, not behind it), getting ‘real’ people to dress and behave like it’s another era, and focus on a seminal period in history.

The War That Made America, a mammoth US$10.8 million undertaking, is further proof the equation works. Spearheaded by Pittsburgh-based public broadcaster WQED Multimedia and French and Indian Wars 250, a public/private partnership, the four-hour series examines the French-Indian Wars (1754-1760). A sprawling conflict fought throughout northeastern North America, the war determined whether France or England won the right to exploit the continent’s natural bounty.

The doc, produced by Arlington, U.S.-based Spypond Productions and Boston’s Loeterman Productions, will center on events in the Ohio River Valley. It was there that European territorial ambitions – and those of a handful of First Nations tribes – converged to spark the conflict.

The production, shot in HD, will include extensive portrayals of everyday life in the wilds of the New World, including the construction of forts and trading posts, and the weapons and tactics employed by the combatants.

Planned ancillaries include a companion book, a web site, and comprehensive educational and outreach initiatives.

Funders include the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Grable Foundation. The War is scheduled to be broadcast on PBS nation-wide late 2005. WQED is handling international distribution. MS

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.

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