In our last episode, episode 064, we did a 1 hour, 40 minute documentary that interviewed 50 people from 9 countries.
We’ve been asked by a lot of people how we did such an enormously ambitious episode. We explained it recently on a recent thread on twitter. Here we’ve combined and enhanced what we originally tweeted to go behind the scenes on how we made this documentary.
First of all, we interviewed a lot of people. Graeme did the majority of them. (He interviewed 22 of them over a weekend in November!) .
Joy also interviewed quite a few people, though her interviews were not quite so… ridiculously packed.
We then logged every single interview in a Google Sheet. We noted themes and key soundbytes (and gave times for everything). This was a critical piece of the work. Joy did the majority of this, which was heroic. (The bits in purple are quotes about Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor, for ease of reference.)
It became obvious after we did the interviews that many of them were talking about a) how much they loved Graham as a character, b) how underdeveloped Yaz was or c) how important the historicals were, so we just noted timecodes for those to make supercuts.
Once everything was logged Graeme created a “paper edit” that copied and pasted the logged soundbytes into a loose order, grouped by theme. We built a script around that and edited to that but in editing things changed as we realized some soundbytes were better in other places.
Here’s a section of the script. Again, the edit of clips didn’t always happen quite as shown.
From there we edited the materials to the draft script. (Graeme edited Act 1; Joy edited Act 2; both edited Act 3). There were points in the edit when we remembered other stuff we heard when we were going over the recordings that we didn’t highlight/log. We would sometimes edit “old school” and just go through the recording, find what we were looking for and add it in. Also, the shape of it changed as we added narration (and as we added music in a separate editing/mixing pass). Graeme and Joy didn’t record together until the very end when the edit was mostly locked, so during the process they often narrated both hosts’ parts; alas listener, you’ll never hear the edits where Joy is introducing herself as Graeme (and reading his lines) and vice versa!
We actually did our final three interviews mere days before we released the episode, by which point the edit was mostly locked. We slotted them in very carefully. The day the episode went out, we discovered we accidentally left someone out of the edit… so we had to add them the night after the episode dropped!
In short: it was a lot of work. We wouldn’t recommend it for the faint of heart! But it was definitely worth it!