The ‘ The Reinvent Remains’ As A Documentary Treatment

(In a documentary treatment you should describe your character using an exceedingly apt adjective…
a stronger impact requires this adjective abut your character’s goal. This is called the Logline)


A purposeless Barnsley young man attempts to find purpose as a security guard on the pits as they are closing down


Two stairs down
Neither half up, or halfway..
how men
made a sack of land

a weight of meaning


Like light come to eyes gradual.

Slagheap midday watch flit clouds
pass shadows over pit solidly below.

Wind gust cornfields white clouds over hills Lake District or Peak.

Sit on edge manmade hill
different shadows ripple
over great washer building,
over cylindrical slurry tanks,
flat across concrete bunkers
unused sand, gravel lime. wpid-img_20140428_100148.jpg

(A picture of absence)

Dark few days ago nightshift freezing veins hands stood up purple ice encrusted ground concrete hurt when fell deliver post one Christmas in Royston slip weight bag haul down push prise open sprung letter box put letter through whole hand inside house quick out lid slam shut in face.

Shadows never what they seem long night morning no lighter bushes people: old men slumped down after pit work, cloaked gentlemen, or jeaned women real people shadows. Never what they seem.

 Whoever I meet wants to hurt me. Brash people lights snap on. Hurt eyes, frighten. I want darkness again. Darkness always makes them what they are not.

Imagine shapes revealed in spotlight of hat lamp are not what I imagined >wpid-img_20140428_100213.jpg

(A picture of absence)

Intuition gradual, cumulative. People shine bright lights in eyes when hurry thinking do not think fast.

Thoughts clouds pass over redundant pit this life.

( Good documentary treatment describes situations, people in vivid detail to make the story come alive)

Patrol with senior security guard

He loves women with walloping big breasts.
“It will not always be dark at seven.” His favourite phrase.
An orphan. Parents could not cope. Put him away. He suffered bullies, brought up his brother.
Never went to his mother’s funeral.
His wife nags and shouts, off work with her leg.
The firm will not give her a sit down job. Doctors can find nothing
Suffered illness all her life, all his married life. Asked her husband to
take her out.
“You must be joking!” he replied.
He only stays with her because of their son. He talks and talks of his son.
He says, “My boy when he were small used to say: ‘Me can do it! Me can do it!’
Well told him he couldn’t. ‘KICK DEE! KICK DEE!’
he would shout.” And this dad laughs away his disabled
Some psychologist might say this dad needs a mother. Why else love women with walloping big breasts?

it took a regular twelve hour shift
walk around with a clock in Grimethorpe.
low paid security guard of N.U.M. remains:
ripped floor-tiles, dust piling up like unused coal.
To find key to fit the clock
to record time found key
account for your existence,
evidence collected.

A set
of other keys echoing their jangle into empty spaces
unlocking door out to wasteland of rooms without walls or ceilings
you can see a cold October sky abuzz with stars
coke plant behind its steel fence working
up a head of grind industrial lights.

nowt to do but waste time,
kick up weather worn tiles old floors, look forward to going in,
lose fresh air from plant, climb creaking stairs
reenter security guards room
where Bill ogles Mayfair and unattainable
asks why you’re back so early, didn’t you realise
soon as you get back sooner he’s out
call you ‘Dumb Shit’, take clock/keys
leave you to room at Three o’clock.
His tales of steel industry
that let him go
remain with you .
this sat supping coffee
in Grimethorpe Activity Zone,
wait for people to attend your jobsearch room,
listen how building you guarded
will be called heart of the Village.

( audience to visualize your film. Write in present tense,
provide an overview of characters, locations,details of film.)

Last girlfriend dimmed harsh lounge light before sex on couch her son, whom she said did not know we slept together call out, ‘Mum. When you coming to bed?’

I always waited half awake asleep for his call harsh light in eyes come alter situation, she always went upstairs I was left.

Stopped pit headgear looks down
Waiting for runner beans mature
Then go.

Butcher Bills Roses left last Wednesday
Baker Tom’s carrots tomorrow
On own soon runner beans

Long walk from house now
Newsagent Marks started weeds
Pulled up one, but two next time

Sheds on outskirts leaking
Woods swollen without tending

Next season no plans
Unused plots miles around.

It is a strange trick.
image(A picture of absence)

Hear distant sound on road car lights up close.
Bright white headlamps run at angle to security camera.
We’re not allowed Teevee. This is better.
We control point of view.
controls in old pit managers office.
One camera bolted to one leg pit head gear. Another on corner of our flatroofed office.
pit stack silhouette.
golf course on outskirts bright till 11. High point.
Walk down long well-kept drive at 3.30 look at orange lights
villages/ towns spread below.Diamond necklaces,
Looking through lens
cars all light for second.
One brightness

image (This is not here now)

separates two distinct blazes follow drive past
two become one again
Sometimes car behind another, one becomes four
cameras see shades black/white.
One by one cameras will stop working
controls taken.

Sometimes local police have coffee chat on crimes
We wait for our inspector turning into drive,
exit back way. Make it we’ve been on patrol

(This is not a documentary. This is real life.)

Dad hit me I was nine in room electric bright too much invaded dark behind closed wet eyes.

Mam tried hug me irons going out dress in bra and panties. Hug me to her all I see bright light blind me.

I turn from her from light. My body shield for eyes.

Electric light grief tears.

Bulb especially bright night Mam told my sister and me Dad and her divorcing.

Too bright all evenings arguing themselves into it.

I learn gradual. Light dawns cliche. Someone tells me something I look bemused takes long time for dawn.

I No flashes inspiration.

Big pit
p>has long drive from main gate a rich house

There’s six Security guards sit in one floor old building play cards, warm ourselves ogle Playboy . Door reached by tides of slurry slosh into wellies outsize lorries coal packed drive through.

Walk roadside. Don’t wade through. (Yawns causeway edge to middle.) You can see nowt. Some holes man-deep.

Walk carefully over gantries. One dipstick security lost grip, Caught hold just in time his hard hat sunk in mud, thirty feet below.

Two-by-four handy for up top where coals piled up. Eastwards from village’ come up tonight. Sell it door to door when it’s nicked and we’ve not given them good hiding.

Mrs O’Brien gives us Christmas dinner Christmas Day. Warm plates in Tommys microwave. Little Billy’ll be bring his t.v., again. And after your snap if you get bored you can always go on patrol outside. Don’t forget your Walkie Talkie for if you see owt. Takes good four hours walk perimeter.

Watch Mad Monk walk mud
All pits have ghosts. Monasteries under slag. Don’t tell no Archaeologist. Stop production. Jobs on line.
Reinvent Remains

Once worked in department store due to be closed Recession.

 On day received, without warning, redundancy notices, section manager said ” Can we move those light fittings over there and bring those shades over here.”

Training course had explained customers need fresh items to buy, soon get bored. Need thirty day or less ‘item bite’.

Job centre I’d worked at six months previous held same. Jobs on boards replaced every day.

John lad I’d shared house three months could not stay in one place, got bored. Same with his girlfriends.

Once items not selling best selling height we had lunch. I out in fresh air. Demolition crew knocking down St. George’s church. Saw new roundabout Townend shop change name Leos to Pioneer.

Struck me sudden.

Saw corrugated roofs new shops knew every building, every person was temporary.

Local joke council ignored preservation orders knocked down old buildings. Nostalgia for best market in Britain ‘improved’ by concrete indoor market, after flood of 1968.

Workmen always digging up recently laid pedestrian precinct. Plenty of jobs in demolition/construction

As Security Guard
protect valuable rust, walk redundant coal Washers
who’s decaying steel Washers frame a site a village.
observatory to some guards,
ancient paths across compound.
bomb sites after a war, wpid-img_20140428_100650.jpg (This is not here now)
adventure playground’ for kids throw stones at unused Washers. A guard shouts ‘Oi! Bugger off.’
Accuses them making wasteland useful
An art gallery: artists,
photograph pencil record outline, display remains.
Pits filled in.
Soon bulldozers remove inappropriate make an industrial estate.
wpid-img_20140428_100603.jpg(This is not here now)
spoilheap remains
invented as an ordinary hill. Every year while it grew
ancient footpaths raised.
Redundant miners and their dogs haul upwards now stare down at flatroofed units
potential industry.

( avoid passive words such as: Should, will, might and maybe.

. USE dialogue snippets, descriptions of the environment and characters. Be honest and personal)

him hauling his bike up road
packed coalsack slung
across handlebars

See effort each step up
coal weight wobbles
him to say it shall not

‘Police Did This!’
sprayed board on a Fords’ broken

Panting over Winterers ploughed field
four layers too many after
Tracksuit bloke shouldering
Coal sack bounds across furrows

Night shift

After long night soul looks forward
Four hours to zombied bus
Swapping jokes, their kids tales
Rest want long silence
Not fall asleep miss their stop.

Day shift

Blessed, no industrial lights
Blessed, Sun behind cloud, in rain
When warm strip off layers
Tie, look tramp. Nobody notices.
Stickler offices insist on dress
Idlers couldn’t care, look for place to kip
Tell you keep eye out.
Their silences demand chat
Nowt to say
Less as twelve hours inch by

Contemplate lobbing halfback
Through windows
Recorded as ‘vandalism’
In accident book

Contemplate building sculptures
Of broken window frames,
Smashed pallets, tapered steel
Draw mural on blank walls
Of sand, gravel, like bunkers
With coal, coloured stones.

Natural art.
Demolition men already here
To punch lights out

Industrial lights
going out all over I stand on one side of Dearne look over to my patrol night before.
North Gawber colliery on one side, Amco plant on other. Where lights less I can see other.
Tall concrete steel warehouses, night workers. Unlike mine repair shops can hardly hear hammers welding on walk outside, for another hour and a half, before twenty minute break: coat off, note arrival time pray not dodgy biro quick slurp flask before out again intimate Siberian cold.wpid-img_20140428_100616.jpg


Winter evening before stood sentry on frozen cracked concrete edge North Gawber pit saw Willow Bank , only known site South Yorkshire for plants with weird names Frogbit and Whorled WaterMillfoil fall away to Dearne.

Remains old forest flank river flow misused canal where barges once unloaded prosperity, loaded hope to move away.

What did you know of history then? Wished knew how to make go faster shifts.

Night at Amco on other side walk along calm as owt, moan what boring job this is, goalrake odd stones wham! an industrial light half blinds.

Concentration camp searchlight snapped on been caught escaping, sirens others woken all the massive orange plant, motorway builders still museum dinosaur bones, stare at you metal darknesses deeper
Hear gust shake chains on fuel tanks whip up shallow gravel round empty temporary huts, echo off discarded plastic wrapping.

(In a documentary treatment there should be a resolution to immediately engage the heart and mind of your investor)

Bloody redundant. Two penneth spent
Bartering job tales. Bored thoughtless
Guarding this pit from damage and theft
Patrolling its closure with each shift

Conversation: slack time spent picking
Out from washer frames clean sweep
Clubbers headlights up Lovers Lane.
Full beams sink brief shafts in dark

Showing up wound up winding gear
Silkstone Golf Course flags arrival
Between coal and green switch off
Take rough with back seat smooch

Windows transparent, dripping
Dawn bushes dangling condoms
And cap it all: our shift, wheels,
Shafts, leave site jacked off, jacked in, ditched.

Demolition crew offer
First trip down mine
On my leaving day
Laughed with
Pit demolition crew
Nothing their on return
Recorded memory will last

Lift drop
Ears pop
Deepest Barnsley Bed
Never knew vast
Gusty dark
Hat lamp
Avoid stumbling railway tracks
See yawning cathedral roof
Crumbly soil
Rotting branches
Pit supports steel arches
The Drift darkness often stared at above
Now staring back

Turn light off
Deputy says
Eyes do not get used to dark

Deputy heaves open trap door
Whitewashed storeroom
Discarded tools sink
Pony water trough
Their resting place between shifts
And return up.

In rising lift
Walk out prison door
grateful to crew
Into wilderness
Nothing but grass.
‘Land To Let’ sign

(A good documentary treatment engages, inspires and leaves reader feeling ‘This story MUST come out)

This is not a documentary.

This is real life

real life

Land no longer propped
by miners hands



2 thoughts on “The ‘ The Reinvent Remains’ As A Documentary Treatment

  1. Finally had a proper go at this Paul – I love the short (mostly in dimeter) sections in this – for some reason it reminds me of the start of Brigg Flatts – ‘Pens are too light / Use a chisel to write’. Anyway –
    ‘Lift drop
    Ears pop
    Deepest Barnsley Bed
    Never knew vast
    Gusty dark
    Hat lamp
    Avoid stumbling railway tracks
    See yawning cathedral roof
    Crumbly soil
    Rotting branches
    Pit supports steel arches
    The Drift darkness often stared at above
    Now staring back’

    This thumps at the head and the heart

    The meta-narrative elements are very Peter Readingesque, although your syntax in the longer sections reminds me, if anything of Mark E. Smith (in a good way). Look forward to seeing more.

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