Should keywords for a documentary series be per episode, per series, or both?

Tim V. asked: So, I'm prepping for an 8 part portrait series and trying to follow the MUSE process from beginning to end. This series is about identity and city life. How through immigration the city of Rotterdam became one of the most diverse cities in the world and how being a 'Rotterdammer' (from Rotterdam) has come to mean a whole lot of different things to a lot of different inhabitants. 

All portraits have a single heart with three big things. Their stories start with how they came to this city in different periods in recent history and show us how they became part of the city and it became part of them. 

Now, do I conastruct my five keywords around the hearts story, the purpose of the entire series, a combination? Or would it be advisble to have two sets? One to keep the series in general on track. And one for each episode, for each specific story?

Definitely come up with a list of keywords for the overall series. This should help drive the overall look and feel, as well as helping to create consistency throughout. And each episode really should help you reach the overall goal of the series, so keyword at this level makes a ton of sense.

Now for each episode you have a couple options. If the episodes are shot quick and they are rather short, then the overall series keywords should offer enough guidance. If you're spending a good deal of time on each episode and/or they are longer (say a 22min tv episode) then I would use the main keywords to help find the overall episodes, and then a set of keywords for the episode to help drive that story.

For example, we have a developing series that will be online in a more cohesive fashion in the coming weeks with a working title 'The Remarkable Ones'. As we travel, we take a day for ourselves to tell stories of inspiring people. Lek, the elephant whisperer, and Soar, with Dave Jacka, both are part of that series.

We have series keywords that are;

  1. One
  2. Remarkable
  3. Intimate
  4. Perspective
  5. Global

We use these keywords to drive the series. Each episode has one person who is and/or is doing something remarkable. It's global in scope, intimate in feel, and always comes back to a new way of seeing the world or our place in it.

But then as we did Dave Jacka, we made keywords for his story. We used the keywords to ensure he was the right fit for the series, and to define our approach (intimate and perspective) but then we had Dave's own keywords as we got into the nitty gritty of his story.

Oh, and one bonus point, if you don't mind unsolicited advice. Rather than starting your episode with WHY they came to the city, which feels a tad more purpose first, consider starting with what they LOVE about the city. Show us their desire, make us fall in love, then take us on a journey.

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