Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/Getting the RAI on board
Getting the RAI on board
I had met Francesco two years before in Varanasi. He liked that city, almost as I do. He was doing an interesting reportage on the difficulties that people are now facing in Italy while raising a family, even if they are middle class people. It is a level of difficulty that was unknown in the previous generations. It is a problem that in Italy is even bigger than anywhere else in Europe. And Francesco wanted to illustrate the Italian situation comparing it to other countries, European and not European. I found the service intelligent and alive. His colleague cameraman was also a very nice person. We told each other that one day we should do something together. Now we had the opportunity. And so I offered him to come on board of Eugad project. And he agreed.
I told him about the objectives of our project and that we had to produce a documentary about role of European Union in contributing to the achievement of MDG objectives. I explained it needed to be an authentic news product of the Italian television, not something commissioned by the EU. We could not pay salaries to RAI, but we could cover their costs of air tickets and local logistics.
I told him that weI would have shown the projects on the ground and that I would have explained to him how the International Cooperation projects work. Then RAI would have been absolutely free to choose what to edit and put on air. Only we needed to be able to use freely the video footage and the audio recorded by them for further editions that would have been edited independently by me. Besides the video reporter of RAI we would have had also our cameraperson, and we would have shared with them our footage. The only commitment they had to take was to cover the programs without pre-conceived television stereotypes. Naturally they had to adopt a communication style that was fitting their programs and their audience; but they had to deliver what they learned in the travel, not the preconceived notions they had in mind before traveling. He agreed to that, with the only hesitation that the cameraperson he had to take was a bit rough (the previous one with whom he came to India had retired) and he may have not been so sensitive to the social commitments. Anyway he was a good cameraman - he said - and he is used to go in tough areas. Well, we will bring him along and bear with his roughness. That is anyway the best TG1 offers.
As the funds of the second year arrived to Armadilla bank account we could finalize the plans. I had long talks with Marco about budget reallocations. Armadilla employees were now on the paying roll of the project (still Armadilla had no other clients for its services at that time) useful or not they were to it, they needed to stay there. On the other side the real challenge now was the video production, which would have been the output most visible from Brussels. So after some arm wrestling we decided to split the project in two separate sections: the video production and the rest (which included the training activities in Romania and Bulgaria, the advocacy work in Belgium, and the improvement of the web site on the basis of the collected videos and the feedback from training activities and the distribution of the products). I would have taken charge of the whole video production and the rest was the exclusive responsibility of Armadilla permanent employees. So I lost the overall command, but gained much more freedom for the video production.
However it was not a wise managerial choice for the project itself. Any project needs a unitary approach, which can be achieved only through a uniting leader who has the whole vision. What happened to Eugad was that the web site did not really grow and the video production team on the field lacked the back office support. Also the training done in Bulgaria (the one in Romania was cancelled) was not really pertinent to the work we had done in the first year and what we kept on doing on the field.
But for me it was OK. Now I could devote myself fully to video production, which really was what I wanted to do. Now I could care less for the “formal’ project to those who would have managed it in the purview of satisfying the minimum contractual requirements. I was free to get fully into the "substantial" action. I had the budget. I had the team. let me do now some shopping of technology. Then, finally, I also can reach "the field"!
Difficolta' di parlare nelle news dei progetti di costruzione sociale
Cosa devono fare i giornalisti per uscire dagli stereotipi
Cosa secondo Francesco abbiamo imparato reciprocamente (EUGAD e RAI)
Lasciato sufficientemente libero di parlare al pubblico delle sue idee?
alla RAI - 5 - Difficolta' di collabarare tra due enti diversi: cultura di comunicazione
alla RAI - Cosa ha imparato Francesco da questo progetto