Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Award-winning Documentary Producer/Director William Petrick Brings His Experience to The Five Lost Days

Today's guest blogger is Emmy Award-winning documentary producer/director William Petrick. Petrick has created documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery, MTV, Court TV and many other cable and broadcast networks. He is currently a senior producer with Bill Moyers Journal on PBS. You can find out more about his book, The Five Lost Days, by clicking here. This book is available at Amazon.com.

In the article below, Petrick answers my question of how his experience helped him in writing The Five Lost Days. This novel tells the story of struggling documentary producer Michael Burns, who has traveled to the remote Maya Mountains of Belize to capture exclusive footage of the last surviving curandero. The traditional Mayan healer may hold the key to discovering new medicines among the vast, uncharted flora of the rain forest. But with a violent civil war spilling across the border from neighboring Guatemala - and Burns inexplicably drawn to the aging curandero's American apprentice - the filmmakers stumble into a more explosive story than they ever could have imagined.

"I don't think I could have written this novel--or wanted to--without the experience of working in documentaries. The best reporters and producers really want to get the story right when they travel to far-off places and conflicts. But, many times, there comes a time when the story you thought you were going to cover doesn't materialize and, suddenly, there you are in a JOB--someone's paying you to get a story and feed it to the media beast. At that moment, what's truth and what isn't can get blurry as can your own perceptions. The pressure to tell a story--any story--takes over with unforeseen consequences. It's not always bad, of course. Sometimes this professional panic can yield truth no one was expecting--especially the filmmaker.

As in many other professions and lines-of-work, there is also a very peculiar culture to the documentary and news business. I don't always like it but I am perpetually fascinated by the women and men who choose to do it for a living. They're in this novel in all their courage, insanity and just plain loopiness. When I think of a crew member, I think of the people on Burns' crew (the main character) who will do anything, risk anything to GET THAT SHOT. They're like bush pilots in the wilderness who risk all as a matter of routine."

You can read excerpts from The Five Lost Days here.

THE FIVE LOST DAYS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on December 1 and end on January 30. You can visit William's blog stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in December and January to find out where he is appearing!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away a FREE virtual book tour to a published author or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced by Pump Up Your Book Promotion at the end of every month!


Dorothy Thompson said...

Thanks for hosting William today on his virtual book tour, Cheryl! Great writeup!

Tracee said...

This book sounds great - thanks for posting about it Cheryl!