I never noticed it, but writers, news crews and, now that I’m experiencing them, film crews have something in common. They all have to be experts on stuff they may no personal experience with.
Perhaps it comes from the needs of a storyteller, but their circumstances all require a degree of expertise in order to succeed. I recall from my news days that my poor reporters had hours between getting assigned their story and talking about it on television. Within that time they have to research, find contacts, interview them, and the footage has to be pieced together into multiple packages to air multiple times that same day. I really feel for reporters who get their facts wrong or misrepresent their topic. Most certainly don’t mean to.
Likewise, I’m watching a film crew desperately try to find local areas that for their idea of “desert.” Unfortunately, where there’s people, there’s unlikely to be Hollywood deserts with cow skulls and saguaros. People need food and deserts are good places to turn into farms. Where do you balance the line between showing a desert and showing what’s actually out there?
And, of course, if my Knowledge Bombs have taught me anything, it’s that us writers want to explore the world, but we can’t always uproot ourselves and experience everything firsthand. Fortunately, we usually have the luxury of longer research time than film and news, but still, improper research sticks out. A lot of care has to be taken to properly represent people, places, and cultures you’ve never seen.
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.