Clearing the Decks

clearing the deck, clearing my desk

I have to admit I was really daunted by the clearing process. During my time in the archive I watched over a 120 films, and after a long month of developing my idea using storyboards, trying to be brutal about which clips I needed from which films, I narrowed down my list to a mere, er, 80.

I knew it was a big ask, as each film required both clearing and transferring, and I was expecting the NWFA to ask me to cut the list in half. In that case my story boards would be the model of the film that never happened. In actual fact, despite the scale of my request, the NWFA were really supportive and we quickly worked out an approach to clearing and transferring.

Half of the films were listed as ‘No Action Required’ meaning that it copyright was at the discretion of the archive, either at the wishes of the donor, or due to the fact that no copyright holder could reasonably be found. The rest of the films have to have the permission of the copyright holder in order to use them. And so, with the support of Geoff, I have been busily cold-calling people to ask their consent. It’s gone much quicker than I’d thought it would.  I have at present about  a dozen left to clear.

It is an interesting thing ringing someone up out of the blue and asking them to buy into your project. I used to work as a telesales rep for a debt collection agency, and I was sacked after 3 weeks I was so terrible. However, it is easier to enthuse about your own idea, as long as you can articulate it. everyone so far has been happy for me to use their film, and many have wanted to know more or to share their story of how they came to donate the film to the archive. This is nice, because it reminds me that they are not just material for me to use, but that there are people behind them who have their own relationship to the films. I am looking forward to finding out what they think of my final film.


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