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Last Time To The Islands | Documentary Idea

by Bob Bramblet
(Bonita Springs, FL, USA)

I live in SW Florida and just north of the fabled 10.000 Islands and the Everglades. I have camped there several times by kayak. All gear, food and water have to fit in your kayak and you paddle many miles out the the Gulf of Mexico. The areas for camping are white sandy beaches right on the Gulf.


These trips are physically taxing and I am not as young as I once was. I think my next trip may be my last trip as I am no longer as physically fit.

I thought a film documenting a kayak camping trip in such a scenic, beautiful and remote area would be a great idea, plus add in the angle that this would be the last trip I make to a place I love.

I have the video gear, I can get a crew and even boats to film from. Good idea or not?

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Apr 03, 2013
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what's the draw?
by: Desktop Documentaries

Thanks for your idea, Bob. I can see why you're pitching this idea. The beauty and peacefulness of the Everglades is surely awe inspiring.

Here's the trouble I'm having. I think it would be amazing to take part in such a trip as a participant, but what's in it for the viewer of such a documentary? Where's the entertainment value? Usually a great story has some kind of a tension or conflict built in.. or the character(s) are so compelling you can't help but watch. (maybe you're one of those characters ;)

If it's purely for the beauty, hire a FANTASTIC cinematographer who can truly capture the beauty of the place and almost make it a "poetic journey through the Everglades." Almost a visual meditation. Getting some stunning aerial shots would be fantastic.

I guess my question to you is "Who is your audience and why would they watch?" If it's just for family and friends, that's one thing. Go for it! But if it's for a bigger audience, what unique twist will make them want to watch? How will your Everglades story be different than anything else out there? For example is there an IMAX film about the Everglades?

Think about the programs you see on Discovery Channel and National Geographic. What makes them great? Is it the beauty? Is it the education? Is it the odd angle (story or visually) you've never seen before? Is it the danger of the journey?

One idea to consider: Perhaps the film would be valuable as an instructional video: "How To Kayak the Everglades" and use the interesting twist that this is (possibly) your last trip and you want to share what you've learned with others.

Not sure if this is the answer you were looking for?? And maybe there's more to the story that I'm not aware of that could open up some other ideas??

Apr 03, 2013
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answer
by: Bob

Those are great questions! I think it would be more of an educational slant as I would go over trip planning, packing the gear, obtaining permits, the long paddle out, setting up our remote campsite, fishing (of course), etc. In the end I think it would take on a "how-to" vibe.

Apr 03, 2013
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yes!
by: Desktop Documentaries

Bob, that's your strongest angle. I concur! If it's produced professionally, you could sell it online (lots of options) and in outdoor retail stores. Very excited for you!!

Apr 03, 2013
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Do it!
by: Scott

Hi Bob, your idea sounds great. Sounds like you've got everything you need to set it up and shoot it. Do you have a writer or editor? You can shoot it and figure it out how it all fits together later, but if you are taking the educational approach, it may be prudent to first write out objectives and methods (much like a classroom teacher). Having this, I think, would be great in keeping you and your crew focused and not simply chasing bugs and sunsets with your cameras. Plus, it ensures that your viewers will learn what they need to learn and they will also know why they need to learn it. A little time spent planning up front can save you tons of frustration in the editing process. All the best to you Bob.

Apr 04, 2013
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Thanks Scott NEW
by: Bob

Thanks Scott! You are so right. I don't have any time line set for this so it sounds like we need to write out the objectives and set clear goals. I also found an editor who once was a pro movie editor who wants to help. Looks like it may happen!

Nov 17, 2014
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Interested NEW
by: B.L

I realise this is a very outdated post - but if it is still in any way possible, I am interested in filming this documentary. I am a documentary filmmaker specialising in observational documentary. Please get in touch at bashlory@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing back.

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