The damage: Jane Delmer discovers how much it costs to make your own docu-soap

Once you needed the gravitas of a Dimbleby to feature in a television documentary. But being an inept driver is nowadays qualification enough. From Driving School to Health Farm, from The Matchmaker to Chef's School, the docu-soap is the staple of primetime television schedules. With their quirky, tragic or plain dysfunctional characters, their cliffhanger endings, melodramatic confrontations, and voyeuristic probings into their subjects' private lives, they are actually a cheap version of the soap opera. Since the set alone for the ill-fated Eldorado cost pounds 5m, their attraction to the networks is easy to comprehend. So why not cash in? Get yourself a black flak jacket and trainers for that authentic TV crew look, then swoop down like a Swat team on your local chip shop for a bit of alleged real life. Don't worry, you won't have to pay the cast. Just think Jerry Springer: people do anything to get on television. If you can interest a TV network in buying six half-hour episodes, here is your budget ...

Screen savers A one-hour documentary might need 200 hours of footage, but a docu-soap may only take 20. So a three-hour series is a mere 60 hours of filming. Digital tapestock at pounds 9 per hour, pounds 540. You'll need to be on location for at least six weeks to capture enough action: camera kit at pounds 500 per week, pounds 3,000. Subtotal, pounds 3,540

The director's cut At pounds 1,000 per week, a director will cost pounds 6,000; cameraman, pounds 200 per day, pounds 6,000; production manager, pounds 450 per week, pounds 2,700; petty cash to cover travel, telephone bills, sushi for the director's lunch and other sundry expenses to make life bearable on set among all that gritty real life, pounds 3,000. Subtotal, pounds 17,700

Editing highlights Editor, pounds 900 per week for eight weeks, pounds 7,200; transferring footage to VHS at pounds 30 per hour, pounds 1,800; hire of editing suite with on- line editor at pounds 100 per day, pounds 300. Subtotal, pounds 9,300

Out to launch Hire of Marie Antoinette Suite at The Ritz (cocktails, 100 guests) for that crucial launch party, pounds 550; canapes, pounds 235; Champagne, pounds 395. Subtotal, pounds 1,180

Total pounds 31,720

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

    £18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

    Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

    Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

    salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower