Who Killed Hazel Drew? header image

Author Ron Hughes Saved Me from the Devil

– Posted in: Unfolding Documentary

Ron Hughes - Author Who Killed Hazell DrewSooner or later every documentary filmmaker finds themselves sinking in details. For me it was hundreds of 1908 Newspaper articles. I’m seasoned veteran so I didn’t think it would paralyze me, but unfortunately, it did. Yup I was in deep overwhelm hell but thank god, Author Ron Hughes saved me from the devil.

See the Video Below

When I decided to take this project on I planned on working in stages. I would either make a very small documentary designed for a local audience or if I found that the project generated momentum then I would invest more time and more money.

So, after about six months of doing interviews, researching Hazel’s murder and shooting a small amount of reenactment footage I decided to jump in with both feet.

And, not too long after that, I found myself in deep shit.

I was totally overwhelmed with how many newspapers covered this story and I was concerned with how I was going to sift through the duplicate stories and find the articles that would visually support the story I wanted to tell.

I foolishly thought that by simply reading Ron’s book, as well as a cross-section of newspapers – I would have all I needed. It wasn’t until I settled into writing the script that I failed to realize that I needed access to newspapers Ron referenced but didn’t name in his book.

I needed a high-resolution scan of these newspapers

Excerpts from a 1908 vintage newspaper will give the spoken word a visual layer.

Seeing the actual newspaper and highlighting the important text from the article adds texture and intrigue because it gives the viewer something credible and authentic to look at.

A topic or event can be covered with narration but an audible narration needs a visual counterpart, hopefully, this is also adds value to the unfolding story.

My choices are:

  • Archive photos
  • A reenactment scene
  • Abstract emotive video
  • A talking head interview clip
  • A newspaper image

Ideally, it would be some combination of the above.

I can’t count on interview subjects carrying the load one hundred percent of the time. So that means I would need to find the specific newspapers that matched the narrative points I was making.

My heart sank when I thought about how many days or even weeks I might spend looking for these needles amongst the humongous online haystack.

God Bless Ron Hughes

In a state of despair, I reached out to Ron and asked if I could buy his collection of newspapers. I was hoping that he had been downloading the papers from a digital archive.

He wasn’t.

But, he said he did have photocopies and that I was welcome to them at no charge.

At this point, anything would be helpful plus it would be great to see Ron. But I was also slightly disappointed that these were hard copy photocopies and would likely not be of a resolution good enough to be used in high definition video.

I meet Ron for lunch and to my surprise, he showed up with a box that solved all my problems.

Check out this video and find out what was in the box and why Ron Hughes is my hero.

The box that solved all my problems

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  • Michael M Burns March 29, 2018, 4:07 pm

    I’ve known Ron a long time. He’s a good man.

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