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
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
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.

SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

    £18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

    Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

    £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

    £20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

    Day In a Page

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future