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From Pythagoras to the present, tracing the deep roots of today's movement for animals. Free audio download.
From Pythagoras to the present, tracing the deep roots of today's movement for animals. Free audio download.
From Pythagoras to the present, tracing the deep roots of today's movement for animals. Free audio download.
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Putting the Jigsaw Together

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The main interview for Episode Three is Prof Hugh Bowden in the Greek and Roman Life room in the British Museum. Pic by Elizabeth Alexandra Fisher
The main interview for Episode Three is Prof Hugh Bowden in the Greek and Roman Life room in the British Museum. Pic by Elizabeth Alexandra Fisher

This week, as the UK broiled in its hottest ever July, I finished a rough edit of the first episode. It doesn't have the final voices or music, so it's nowhere near ready to share. But it means that after a year and a half, I'm excited to know how the story begins.

Episode one of any series always has more to carry - to set the tone, set out the background, and convince the listener to come back. But this first episode is particularly ambitious - it covers prehistory, negotiates controversies, on top of its core job of describing the emergence of the world's oldest extant vegetarian movement. (Extra thanks to Orna Klement and Robb Masters for help with draft edit voices.)

So episodes 2-15 should come together more easily!

As with all large projects, not every task went according to plan. Most sadly, a vegetarian cafe that was the last quintessential example of 1970s vegetarianism closed - and given the stressful runup to closure no longer wished to be part of the series.

Project Dashboard at end 2015 Q2
Project Dashboard at end 2015 Q2

But you can see that the green is rolling across the dashboard. 

Behind the dashboard are some really interesting interviews done in the last three months that I'm looking forward to editing into the show. The British Museum kindly let me record the main interview for episode three there. Hugh Bowden is an expert in the Orphic movement of the Greek and Roman era, of which vegetarianism is a strand. The British Museum have a "totenpass" with a series of cult instructions for navigating the afterlife. (Thanks to Elizabeth Fisher for helping out.)

I also visited the St. Athanasius Coptic monastery in the remote north Yorkshire moors to give a sense of first hand practice of the Christian fasting tradition. (And the thanks for driving me there go to ... my parents. Some parental duties never go away.)

Although there are 7-10 interviews left (partly because some experts generously agreed to second interviews when more of the structure is in place), most of the remaining work is audio and script editing. In Q3, I'm planning to concentrate on an era at a time - the middle ages in July, the enlightenment in August, and modernity in September. 

In October, I plan to concentrate on the audio readings and other dramatisations.

If you are interested are interested in the project management of all this, I'm using the Pomodoro technique to manage my time, as well as the dashboard above. If you want more detail follow veganoption on twitter, where I'll tweet changes in the dashboard at least every week.  

The big question is: when will it come out? My plan is to bring almost the whole project close to fruition before I launch. This is mainly because some of the project, such as dramatisation, is much more cost and time effective to do as one batch of work. My aim is to return to paid employment at the start of 2016 with episodes coming out and all but the last two columns entirely green.

This remains a massive project covering the whole of human history, often resting on the kind of question that chroniclers found marginal. It will be worth the wait. 

Cyndi Rook, Sarah Louise Morley, and 4 more people like this update.

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