Documentary Idea

  • Neil Campbell

    Camera Operator

    More like "no idea"...

    I met Phil at The Blue Note in Leominster (a quirky ramshackle Blue Club like no other in the region) some months back. He has an atypically sunny demeanour for Leominster - a perennial dazzling smile and olive skin, which got me curious...I fished his story out of first a mutual friend & then Phil himself, & I think it's a good one.

    Phil was sold by his parents in Ecuador when he was two - he was adopted by a remarkably committed British couple, who already had a Chilean toddler to their name (now his sister - one year older than Phil's 39 years).

    Phil has not had the easiest of lives - he's been shoved from pillar to post by the National Health, suffering depression - I would suggest he has had major identity & self-esteem problems. But a lovelier, gentler soul you rarely meet. Intelligent enough, appalling taste in music, a pleasant presence in any company, gay without being Danny La Rue.

    Next year he turns 40, and bravely wants to finally look into his roots to mark the occasion. His sister did something similar - she took a trip back to Chile; but as a tourist, without any interest in looking into her biological/family origins. Phil, on the other hand, is haunted by the possibility that he may have a family who miss him & wonder...his life here has been somewhat dysfunctional - square peg for intangible reasons. He's interested in bringing his origins into focus. I pointed out to him the gamble - he may discover nothing but poverty, desolation & desperation; or he may discover elated brothers, sisters & an extended family who all look similar & embrace him...either way he gets an answer, closure, possibly an opening into new colours to his life. At the very least an eye-opener for him on Ecuador, the language, customs, food & so forth (like his sister did in Chile).

    An interesting additional factor is his British father (now quite elderly in his 80's), who was big in Cable & Wireless, presumably communications, and has an active & considerable interest in family trees - there is the possibility he could be enlisted in the project...

    I'm out of my depth alone.

    Stories like this are common in many trouble spots around the world - I'm sure many of you've seen it first hand - but I think this story could be a real pearl; a moving & fascinating metaphor & tribute to all the children displaced & parted from their families by poverty, war & natural disasters - Ethiopia, Romania, Bosnia, Iraq/Afghanistan, Haiti...as well as an examination & perhaps a tribute to Britain's response...

    As for extended possibilities - these cross-cultural origin stories are not

    at all uncommon - this could be the first of many. The genre is popular.

    I look forward to any replies.

    Neil Campbell

    What do you think? How does a mere crew cameraman get a project like this up & going?

    • 30th Sep 2020
    • 515
    • 1
  • Jarod Dean Winchester

    Script Reader

    We are in a world of independent filmmakers. It is not uncommon for one person to be taking on multiple roles. I would suggest you map out how the shots are going to look like and pick a writer if this isn’t your strong suit.

    • 30th Sep 2020
    • 1