Docs That Rock

Musicians in the online wild?

As a general rule, I’ll refrain from blogging stories from places like the New York Times. I just want to believe its a world where the good stuff printed in the Times has already found an audience among readers of this blog. But this piece tells about an eight minute wildlife battle between buffaloes and lions that was initially rejected by the obvious cable networks. After it drew 30 million views on YouTube, it was turned into a long form documentary, perhaps the first long doc ever inspired by a YouTube clip.

Like other producers, I also troll YouTube looking for doc ideas but I find it doesn’t bear as much fruit as other news or magazine stories. Its hard to capture iconic moments on stolen video moments for celebs, mostly because their environments are so controlled. And sometimes, celebs command such awe that even cameramen get stymied. One favorite story is from Roger Daltrey who spoke at the premiere of our VH1 Rock Doc Amazing Journey. He recalled that when he and Pete Townshend got into their famous scrap, an entire film crew was already at their studio filming, but when the fight began, the cameramen drop their gear, mouths agape and nothing got filmed! (Maybe today’s shooters are much more desensitized to celebrity but I wonder in the heat of such a moment….)


And if there is an misstep or honest moment, it usually only plays well for 24 hours on TMZ. What’s interesting about the wildlife doc is that the eight minutes of footage needed backstory and context because the buffaloes and other animals fend the lions off from eating a young calf. I guess the animals do their dining in private since the Times quotes the safari guy as saying the rarity of the footage captured is akin to a meteorite hitting Earth. For a musical equivalent of a YouTube clip inspiring a doc, not only would the sound have to be captured perfectly (which is at odds with music and human action) but it would have to have such significance in music history that an entire story could envelop the highlight clip. Maybe when McCartney and Lennon called it quits or a short that records Axl Rose doing whatever he’s been doing for the past thirteen years instead of composing Chinese Democracy. Any ideas of what musical YouTube clips could inspire a whole doc? Post in the comments!

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May 12, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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