SCRIPTS

I have written scripts for documentary series that have aired on streaming services, broadcasters and digital platforms around the world. Here is a script I wrote for the series History in the Making for https://bestimo.com/easing.RoughEase Discovery Channel Europe (Quest).

visit the site CLAY POTTERY SEGMENT

go to this web-site NARRATION
CLAY POTTERY IS AMONG THE OLDEST OF HUMAN INVENTIONS. 

IN 30, 000 BC, EARLY EUROPEANS MADE FIGURINES FROM CLAY AND MAMMOTH BONES. 

BECAUSE IT DOESN’T DECAY, THE ART AND STRUCTURE OF ANCIENT CERAMICS ARE CLUES TO UNDERSTANDING LONG VANISHED CULTURES. THE DISTRIBUTION OF THESE ARTIFACTS AROUND THE GLOBE REVEAL THE TRADE ROUTES OF THE PAST. 

POTTERY IS THE FINGERPRINT OF CIVILIZATION. 
additional reading SOUNDBITE- JOSH
11:19:10
My name is Josh Copus and I make things out of clay.
JOSH HAS BEEN MAKING POTTERY FOR OVER 15 YEARS.

HIS MENTOR INTRODUCED HIM TO THE TRADE.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
11:20:20 
He showed me my life’s work when I was 15. And I’ve essentially just been doing this ever since.
JOSH WILL BE MAKING A CUP WITH  A VERY TRADITIONAL METHOD USING WOOD FIRED KILNS AND WILD CLAY.

HE  DIGS IT UP ON HIS OWN PROPERTY.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
11:25:39
I was like studying pottery in art school/ and I was like, I think you can just dig clay out of the ground and make stuff out of it/
11:26:47
But, you know I had people tell me that oh no like you can’t do that anymore. Like, you used to be able to. And I was like, you know, I’m not totally sure you’re right.
MIXING THE CLAY WITH THE GROUND WATER BRINGS IT TO THE RIGHT CONSISTENCY.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
A14:38:01 
(says on camera while showing clay)
The main sort of characteristic that people are often looking for with clay is plasticity which is the stickiness. So if you can roll a coil and bend it, touch the ends like that, without it cracking right there– that’s the stuff.

THE CLAY GOES TO THE STUDIO WHERE ITS TRANSFORMATION BEGINS.

JOSH SLOPS THE WILD CLAY ONTO A WORKING TABLE.

THIS WILD CLAY MUST BE TAMED. 

ROCKS ARE REMOVED.

NEXT IS “WIRE WEDGING”…

SLICING THE CLAY INTO SMALLER PIECES TO BREAK APART DENSE CLUMPS IN THE MOUND.

AFTER 10 MINUTES OF THIS PROCESS, JOSH KNEADS THE CLAY LIKE DOUGH WITH A TECHNIQUE CALLED SPIRAL WEDGING. 

THIS MAKES THE CLAY MIXTURE MORE CONSISTENT.

JOSH THEN CUTS THE LARGE MASS INTO SLICES. 

THE SMALLER CHUNKS ARE BEATEN INTO ROUND BALLS.

THE PREPPED CLAY IS NOW READY FOR THE TREADLE WHEEL.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
11: 44: 00
The treadle wheel is how I make all my cups…
THIS HANDMADE TREADLE DRIVES A FLYWHEEL– ALL POWERED BY JOSH’S FOOT.

A POTTER’S LIFE WAS MADE EASIER WITH THE  DEVELOPMENT OF THE POTTERY WHEEL IN MESOPOTAMIA AROUND 4000 BC.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
11: 44: 03
I like the motion of it. I like the action, I like the activity. There’s a movement and a fluidity to a treadle wheel that just isn’t available to you on an electric wheel.
FOOT POWERED WHEELS, LIKE THIS ONE, HAVE EXISTED FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
11:39:08
I started out being interested in utility with the work that I do in ceramics…and one of the things that I always come back to is the cup. It’s sort of its universal simplicity that I think is cool.
HIS FINGERS REFINE THE FORM.

HIS FINGERTIPS PINCH IN THE BEVEL THAT WILL TOUCH THE DRINKER’S LIPS.

THE PROCESS FROM SOLID MASS TO VESSEL IS COMPLETE IN A MATTER OF MINUTES.

AFTER THE CUP HARDENS FOR A DAY IT’S PUT BACK ON THE WHEEL TO TRIM THE BOTTOM.

A SNAKE OF CLAY IS MADE TO WEDGE THE CUP TO THE WHEEL.

THE CUP IS ALMOST ENTIRELY HANDMADE– JOSH USES ONLY A FEW SIMPLE TOOLS FOR THE FINAL SHAPING.

A LOOP TOOL REMOVES EXCESS MATERIAL TO MAKE THE FOOT RING.

MORE MATERIAL IS REMOVED FROM THE INSIDE OF THE FOOT. 

THEN HE REFINES THE WALLS OF THE CUP.
NEXT UP IS DECORATING.

JOSH COVERS THE CUP IN A SLIP OF HOMEMADE LIQUID WHITE CLAY. 

THE SLIP WILL REACT WITH THE FIRE TO CREATE A  MORE PRONOUNCED GLAZE.

JOSH STYLES THE CUP BY RUNNING HIS FINGERS ALONG THE LIGHT MIXTURE.
AFTER DECORATING COMES THE GRAND FINALE. FIRING.

THE HISTORY OF POTTERY BEGAN WITH THE DISCOVERY THAT HEAT COULD TRANSFORM CLAY INTO CERAMIC, AN OBJECT THAT IS SOLID AND PERMANENT.

JOSH USES A 3 CHAMBER CLIMBING KILN TO TRANSFORM HIS. THIS ANCIENT CHINESE STYLE IS BUILT ON A SLOPE THAT ACTS AS A NATURAL CHIMNEY, CARRYING HEAT THROUGH THE CHAMBERS.

HE BUILT THE MASSIVE FURNACE WITH HIS OWN HANDS. JOSH ONLY USES WOOD AS FUEL.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
B11:57:37
Wood firing began simply as the most appropriate fuel to make ceramics with because it was the only fuel. This was before people understood natural gas or coal or any of that stuff.
THE PROCESS OF WOOD FIRING IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. IT’S A STRENUOUS ENDEAVOUR. 

JOSH SPENDS 3 DAYS LOADING THOUSANDS OF PIECES INTO THE KILN, 3 DAYS FIRING AND THEN LEAVES THE CERAMICS INSIDE TO COOL FOR ANOTHER THREE DAYS. 

BECAUSE IT IS SO LABOUR INTENSIVE, JOSH ONLY LIGHTS HIS KILN FOUR TIMES A YEAR.

THE KILNS TEMPERATURE HAS REACHED ITS FINAL PEAK OF 1300 DEGREES CELSIUS. (2300 F) 

HE LOOKS AT THE TEMPERATURE GAUGE BUT ALSO LISTENS TO THE FLAMES.
BEAT– AUDIO FROM KILN

SOUNDBITE- JOSH
A10:26:00 (fire crackling in background) 
So the combustion of the fuel has an audible component which is just the snap, crackle, pop and so as that diminishes it’s time to add more fuel.
THE FIRE IS FUELED WITH WOOD EVERY 2 TO 5 MINUTES. 

TOO LITTLE OR TOO MUCH HEAT COULD HAVE UNFORTUNATE CONSEQUENCES LATER ON.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
B11:59:49 
Wood firing is a very long spectrum of complete and utter disappointment to extreme elation. 
B12:00:25
It will produce things that are far worse than you had expected but it will also produce things that are far greater than you can imagine. Those are the things that we live for.
AFTER DAYS OF FIRING AND COOLING, THE CUPS ARE SANDED DOWN TO LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS. 

A DAINTY REWARD FOR WEEKS OF WORK.

EVERY CUP THAT JOSH MAKES IS ETCHED INTO THE HISTORY OF THE CRAFT.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
B12:08:59
People have been making ceramics forever. It’s one of the main ways we understand the past.
CLAY POTTERY CAN ALSO BE CREDITED WITH THE CREATION OF CIVILIZATION ITSELF. 

BRICKS FOR SHELTER, VESSELS FOR FOOD, AND URNS TO HOLD THE ASHES OF OUR DEAD. CLAY HAS BEEN ESSENTIAL TO HUMANITY.
SOUNDBITE- JOSH
B12:015:57
Everything rots except for clay. They break but they don’t decompose. Ceramics are forever.

This is just what I do/ It’s who I am.
SEGMENT ENDS