1. Hartnell
    Offline

    Hartnell Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire, England.

    does anybody else find that watching documentaries helps ?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Hartnell, Nov 19, 2010.

    We are not all clever and we don't all have all the experiences of a fighter pilot or a deep sea diver etc. So I am finding that it helps my writing if I watch documentaries, it's like I am building up my knowledge base and in doing so I am able to write about more things.

    Although I think its great to do research when you are writing a story or a novel, I think this is also helpful to obtain a good overall knowledge.

    Also I wouldn't mind getting myself a good camera and a notebook so that I can take drives out to places I have never been before. To get inspiration as well as a bit of knowledge. Like taking a midnight drive to an empty airport or an innercity suburb etc.

    Does anybody already do this ?
     
  2. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Yes I find it useful watching them without a plan. For example one morning I turned my character into a falcon lol By the end of the day I had watched a documentary of the Island of St Kilda - which gave me my world's devil 'The Great Skua' it gave me the idea for the indigenous people, and the idea that they may still be alive amongst everyone. Then the idea of anyone can turn into a bird lol Other documentaries give me ideas. I have watched loads of different birds flying on youtube. But TV shows of all description do give me ideas.

    I set all my stories in my local area - Covesea Island = Morayshire. I am lucky out of my back window are hills out the front if the airbase wasn't in the way there would be sea and mountains (my MIL from Colorado calls em pimples lol) - the plant and animal life is amazing. It has dinosaur footprints, fossils, a biggish city, great history. In the right light in certain spots (when it gets really red) you can imagine parts of it as desert the arrangement of trees can look a bit like Joshua Trees or an oasis. My buildings I borrowed from other places though - however I have a place near by with lots of experiemental buildings which gave me the idea. There is enough history to keep me going for a lifetime with the historical stories.
     
  3. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    General knowledge never hurt anyone.

    My art mentor during the first years of my career gave me ton of advice, but the one thing that sticks the most is when he said that as an artist, I could never know enough about everything. Physics, history, psychology, philosophy, individual people's lives, personal experience...it all helps you comprehend the world you're recreating in your art. Most mistakes in art and writing come from simple ignorance.
     
  4. Hartnell
    Offline

    Hartnell Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire, England.
    You are making me really jealous ! I would love to live somewhere like that, it must be such an inspiration for any writer. All we have around here are houses and the odd park but luckily we are own a small drive away from some countryside.
     
  5. Hartnell
    Offline

    Hartnell Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lancashire, England.
    Horus I know what you are saying and it is so true. I work with a very successful and respected haematology consultant and he says much the same thing . He says things like " the one thing people can't take away from you is your knowledge."
     
  6. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    Well, they could always chop your head off...which was the "cure" for excessive knowledge for a very long time in human history. ;)
     
  7. Islander
    Offline

    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    1,542
    Likes Received:
    59
    Location:
    Sweden
    That's a very useful idea, Hartnell. I think I'll start doing that.
     
  8. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    It is inspirational but with help of camera angles I can get something that looks like any landscape I need for my book. Major city is the only one - I have to travel 70 miles for that.

    Also because my 'real' and imaginary world are the same I can go and walk whereever to be where my characters are supposed to be. Covesea (pronounced Cow-see) actually exists however is a small coastel group of houses rather than an island lol

    It was a youtube video of a Gyr falcon that influenced my Great White Falcon changed a whole book to get that to fit lol - Also houses of my elemental people are influcned by enviromental architecture - documentaries and reading on that - the ceramic domes are fantastic because they really do use earth, water and fire in their construction (I use wind to shape them lol) - the houses are built by magic that was influenced by Nader Khalili. Documentaries on the albatross gave me other characters. I enjoy documentaries anyway so watch them - I do think being in the UK and having the BBC we are really blessed with some of the most amazing examples of them.
     
  9. Tessie
    Offline

    Tessie Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,103
    Likes Received:
    62
    Location:
    Mass
    Yes, I do all the time, whenever I can squeeze a documentary into the day. I enjoy a good one almost as much as any epic movie. I think you are correct when you say that it is helpful to obtain a good overall knowledge. This has been my personal aim when I started my historical novel. But even if it wasn't based on history, I would still like to give myself some time and research before finishing my first draft and moving onto the second.
     
  10. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    You never know where the idea for a story or novel will come from. The more varied the materials you read and watch, the greater the potential number of ideas.
     
  11. Eunoia
    Offline

    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2010
    Messages:
    4,395
    Likes Received:
    80
    Location:
    England
    I find documentaries incredibly interesting, and potentially helpful. I only watch those that interest me of course, but the absorbed knowledge no doubt will come across in my writing, and sometimes it does spark an idea. I think having a general knowledge is really helpful and watching documentaries is great.

    If I could drive and wasn't scared at the prospect of being out alone at that time, I would do the drive thing at midnight. :p But I do go for walks during daylight, and just wander to new places, get myself lost.. it's great for inspiration and I jot down any ideas and take photographs.
     
  12. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    i avail myself of all that's available, when researching... if that includes documentaries on the subject, of course i'd use them... and i watch docs on an almost daily basis, anyway, in the performance of my 'day job' as a practicing philosopher...
     
  13. Jaybrownuk
    Offline

    Jaybrownuk Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2009
    Messages:
    54
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    UK
    I watch a lot of Docs. I think Nat Geo and the BBC are great wells of information on so many subjects. I have found many ideas hidden in documentaries over the years.
     
  14. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    having spent a year in canada before 'retiring' to tinian, i've been suffering withdrawal for the past 5 years, being without access to bbc and cbc's wonderful stuff... and that goes for great fiction series, as well as exceptional documentaries... here, i only get a sparse few on pbs... not nearly enough to feed my addiction to the finest tv has ever had to offer, darn it!...
     
  15. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    can you get BBC iplayer? or can we only get that in the UK - it is on the website. Channel 4 has a similar programme and their documentaries are good as well. Tend to be more news based.
     

Share This Page