Monday, April 9, 2012

Thank you Australian Story

AN OPEN LETTER TO REBECCA LATHAM
Supervising Producer of Australian Story

Dear Rebecca,

When I first came home from the US in late 2008 I had no idea what Australian Story was. Your show had only just started when I left in 1997 but with my Dad’s heritage as a founding cameraman for Four Corners, back when television started, I knew the ABC had potential for a truly special program.

When the story of the Jury verdict win of $388 million USD first hit, the publicity machine the company consulted with in the states said to stick to tightly scripted and controlled statements. Initially this gave me great pause. The seriousness of the situation weighed heavily on me.

Yet I also felt a reasonable pressure to at least recognize and show appreciation for the tremendous display of support and interest that the every day Australian showed in reaction to the win.

Then my dear friend Jim Revitt, who represented Australia as the ABC’s Vietnam War Correspondent, rang me and said that Australian Story had approached him to see if he could get me to consider an episode. They had found our connection in an article on my blog web site.

Jim said “Ric, if you are ever going to do an interview on this thing, then do it with Australian Story”. He explained that the unique format of not having an interviewers questions appear or be heard on screen means that I can have some level of control over what is said. The only person I can blame if the wrong thing comes out is myself, since my own voice is all that is presented.

Jim also said that, in effect, Australian Story is like a mirror held up to the Australian public where, in the majority of stories, everyday Australian qualities are reflected and documented usually in extreme situations or scenarios.

I suppose I qualified as a pretty normal Aussie in a pretty extreme situation. 

Australian Story is like a time capsule. No one is going to be going back to watch Deal or No Deal in 10 years time... I feel very privileged to have warranted being included

Kristine Taylor came and interviewed me in Byron. The stories just flowed. She made me feel comfortable and that I could trust her and the team to follow.

Then I met Kent Gordon, Anthony Sines and Marc Smith on our first day of shooting. The pressure was there not to just capture fluff. But amazingly there also seemed to be no agenda… no pressure to dig for dirt. Just the truth and to capture the moment.

It has been a real privilege to be selected as a subject for your show. And the professionalism and personableness of Kent and the boys made it a real pleasure to work with them. The fact is that Kent was the first person I spoke to from the media when the settlement became public. He is the keeper of the Ric Richardson story and the only person I could trust to be fair and honest about everything that has happened.

After being back a few years now from the States a lot of my old friends from the film industry are connecting and they all feel the pressure to commoditize television... and as supervising producer I know you do too. But Rebecca, you have something really special in your hands. Kent's special people skills, the boys (Anthony and Marcs) ability to capture the story are so valuable as is the format of the program. Please keep fighting to make sure Australian Story keeps its rightful place in Australian television.

Even though we lost Jim Revitt a few months after the first show I know he would have backed me up on this. In fact he would have beat me to it!

Congratulations on a wonderful show and to your team, especially Kent, Anthony and Marc for doing such a great job of capturing and explaining my story.

Thankfully yours,

Ric Richardson
Inventor

Kaz and Lily say thank you too!

7 comments:

  1. Hello Ric and the Richardson family,
    I'd like to thank you for going public with your story because it has inspired me to fight a matter of IP theft against my own concept. It's not software, but I created a business system for doctors to help them with their Practice Succession Planning. I was approached by an Australian group providing business services to the medical industry that wanted to learn and use what I had taken tens of thousands of hours to develop and build. I made them sign a confidentiality agreement before demonstrating my program. They wanted to use my material for nothing but I objected..... long story short, is they have now (after seeing my material)developed the same program - my material rearranged to make it look like their own....they are actively marketing my material. When I discovered this, I went to my IP lawyer who has been presiding the matter. I started to feel there was no way I could hold these thieves accountable. Your story has inspired me to push taking the action I must take. I've forwarded your case and story onto my Lawyer and told him I want to turn my enemy into a paying customer the way that you have.

    I can't thank you enough for inspiring me. I never watch television, but being Easter and feeling very flat because of all that has happened, I had taken time out to just blob about (a bit depressed).... I watched this story unfold at such a timely occasion...it's a bit like divine intervention.

    Thanks and well done for taking on the giants. I'm so tired of the bully mentality that exists in our society. School bullies turn into corporate and banking bullies when they graduate. They start small and they grow into giants that seem unaccountable until a guy like you says 'no way'. We just have to make people aware that they can always hold these guys accountable. Sadly not everyone will have the resources to take them on which is why these types can get away with it so much. Laws hold the honest people in check, but bad guys will always push the boundaries and get away with it while we let it happen.

    I went to bed after watching your story and had a dream which I just awoke from and had to email this to you along with a link to your story to my lawyer.

    I'm well aware that fighting this may not result in the outcome I'd like, but if I don't fight it, in a way, it's like not respecting who I am and what I've created.

    Thanks again for the inspiration.... maybe I'll see you by the Beach at Byron Bay one day (as it used to be my stomping ground in my teenage years)

    Warm regards

    Leigh Riley www.YourPracticeSuccession.com

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  2. I live under a rock, and therefore hadn't heard of you before watching Australian Story last night. Im glad I did - it was inspirational (and a little terrifying). Well done and good luck to you. I hope life gets a little more peaceful for you and your family :)

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  3. HI Ric, just wanted to tell you I watched the program last night. Thanks for being so honest with your story.
    You are a TRUE AUSSIE :-).

    Keep Dreaming.
    Gavin

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  4. Good on you ABC and good on you Ric and family, Wonderfully inspirational all round. We need more of these powerful stories to bring this country out of the state of negativity that seems to have become part of our culture. There are many types of inspirational people, other than sports heroes, and Ric is one of them for those of us in the innovation space. Thank you ABC and thank you Ric.

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  5. Ric,
    loved the Australian Story done last week.

    It's not over, you have to write a book about your adventures. Most people are scared about taking their ideas to the world, fearing exactly what happened to you.. guidance, advice and skills - tell us what is needed to make it from dreams to reality..

    Regards

    Christine McVeigh

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  6. Hi Ric. I cannot find a direct e-mail for you so forgive the public approach, but would you be kind enough contact me in relation to your friend's Eezy Peezy product? Many thanks. Yours, Giovanna Forte, Managing Director, Forte Medical, London EC2A 4SD giovanna@forte-medical.com

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  7. Hi Ric

    A friend told me about the Australian Story which I had missed. I watched it twice on the net after that, just to make sure I wasn't imagining things. Congratulations on your win, now you can start working on the other projects.

    The similarities of what I will be up against are incredible and I am only dealing with a low tech invention. The danger of having a "patent flapping in the wind" are great, you are so right.

    Maybe I can introduce you to what I am up to one day. It's 'only' been 5 years in the making but I am getting to a point were I need advice, so I can avoid what you and your family have gone through.

    Love your work Mate

    Ky Wilms

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