The first task was to listen to and log every single one of the thousands of messages I had. Revisiting old relationships and friendships from the last 20 years was like being in therapy!
Dan Haythorn and I faced two main problems: a) a huge amount of material, and b) a total absence of any visuals. As a temporary measure we used photos trawled from numerous old albums, and simply waded steadily through the tapes until the most interesting characters and a storyline began to emerge.
The plan was to produce a short doc under 30mins as we weren't convinced a feature-length onslaught of audio messages and photos would sustain an audience. Sadly, this meant that many great moments were relegated to the trash bin. Ouch!
If the project was ever to be seen publicly, I needed the permission of everyone featured. This involved some serious detective work tracking down people I hadn't seen in over a dozen years, several of whom thought I was nuts! Thankfully, most were happy for me to use their often revealing and private messages, and for that I am most grateful.
I had also spent considerable time trying to obtain at least some kind of funding for my unusual project, only to be met with blank faces and long silences. Fortunately for me, my search eventually led me to the newly-formed Channel 4 British Documentary Film Foundation, who to my relief were very positive about the idea and gave me a cheque on the spot! Amazing.