TV documentary – Treatment and Audience

Well, this – as far as I’m aware – has never been covered on the radio – I don’t really think the subject lends itself very well to that, it needs to be visual.

In TV, there was a film documentary made in the US about Ray Kurzweil, called Transcendent Man, but It focusses more on the man himself and his thoughts about the singularity.

Nothing much has been produced in the UK – although my research tells me there are plenty of people here to speak to.


To that end, I’ll be making a documentary in the style of  BBC Two’s Horizon series. Horizon airs for 60 minutes, and has been going since the 1960s, and its format has changed a lot over the years.


Mine will more closely resemble the modern version, which has a strong narrative, with an underlying investigative theme. It will begin with a tease, with fast cuts laying out what the programme’s about, then titles, and on into the main part of the show.

There will be no presenter, just a narrator – so no PTCs or noddys. I’m planning to end it with a montage of talking heads to create a sense of summary. I’m not afraid of featuring talking heads, as it’s in keeping with the style of Horizon, but I will also make sure I film plenty of cutaway material.

In terms of pictures – I’ll have the ones from my interviews. Some of the people I’m interviewing work with some really weird and wonderful gadgets and robots. I’ll also get my subjects to strike some poses, allowing me to mess about with backgrounds and SFX in Adobe After Effects.

I’m also thinking of using bits of archive footage in the programme – not as an alternative to cutaways, but alongside them. I’m going to be using footage from news reports and films to illustrate my points. I know the footage I want, it’s just a case of seeing if I’ll need to get clearance and making the necessary arrangements to avoid breaching copyright laws. I’m also using specially made music throughout, which will take some time to produce, but will remove the need for me to contact artists and record labels.

Engaging the audience

Horizon has it’s own audience: generally the kind of people who have an interest in this kind of thing, so hopefully my target viewers will be keen to sit through the programme without feeling let down that it doesn’t feature a car chase, or a shootout.