Thursday, June 28, 2007

NPR's Scott Simon to Narrate

There is always more to learn about this fascinating firm! My research for the documentary series seems never-ending but it is never boring. The more you know about the men and the prints, the more interesting their story becomes.

Most of the in-studio interviews are done with the exception of a Fall straggler or two. After the upcoming holiday, the crew will hit the road to shoot in the New York City area and later, down in the D.C. area. We'll spend some time with the huge collection of Currier & Ives at the Library of Congress and I'll be doing some really interesting research at the Smithsonian. All this sifting of information is sure to result in more surprises about the publishers.

I'm thrilled to report that it looks like the documentary series has a narrator: NPR's Scott Simon. His voice and delivery are perfect for this project and I couldn't be happier that he's agreed to participate.

The crew went hunting for period perfection this week and found it at Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts! We're planning 3 seasonal shoots there, complete with some reenactments (of the elegant variety, not the hokey kind with which we are all too familiar).

Transcription of several interviews is underway in preparation for a short trailer I will produce for the end of August. There will be a link to it on the website, so keep an eye out for that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Premiere of a Blog

This marks the first in a series of blogs following the progress of WGBY's documentaries scheduled for distribution early in 2008. So, what's happening?

First, let me explain that this series will illustrate the importance of "America's Printmakers" as a precursor to today's mass media and to our sense of national identity. The series will also give the audience the chance to get to know the men behind the famous business. Finally, it will reveal the surprise of Currier & Ives -- prints you never would have guessed came from the publishers famous for their homey winter scenes!

I'm the Executive Producer of "Currier & Ives: Perspectives on America" and I came on board in April. Since then, I've shaped the series (3 half-hour documentaries to air on PBS) and its themes, lined up a powerhouse list of interview subjects, established a production schedule, got to know a rather complicated budget, made travel plans for shoots outside of WGBY's studios in Springfield, Massachusetts and much more.

We're still working on finding the right narrator and music for the shows but the "look" for the studio interviews is in place and it is terrific! Best of all, it will give Currier & Ives fans the chance to see even more of the firm's prints.

I conducted our first interview just yesterday with Georgia Barnhill, a print expert who gives important context to Nathaniel Currier's early years and tells some colorful stories about his competition.

Up next, a fascinating historian who makes the case for Currier & Ives as the very first example of mass media. He'll also take on the controversial subject of the firm's Darktown series.

I'll keep you posted.