By Bryan Reesman
BONUS FEATURES HAVE become a standard part of DVDs, but UK-based Go
Entertain is taking them to a different level.
For their box-set releases in The Heritage
Collection (distributed by Los Angeles–based
Millennium Entertainment), the eight-year-old company is packaging DVD documentaries with replica memorabilia and booklets
that not only enhance the narrative of the
films but form a multimedia history lesson
that engages and entertains. These extra features fly off the disc and into our hands.
The eight sets— WWI: The Great War;
WWII: The Complete History; Teddy Roosevelt:
An Adventurous Life; Animal Planet’s Wild
Deep; Smithsonian Channel’s Titanic and Air
Triumph and Tragedy—release this month.
Each box includes one or more DVDs, a
collection of memorabilia contained in a
sturdy envelope and a 5,000- to 7,000-word
essay booklet. The fold-out display within the
Titanic box is particularly impressive, with the
essay included in a hardcover book and thick
cardboard sleeves that encase the book,
DVDs and a CD of music from the period.
The Teddy Roosevelt set also includes a CD of
marching band music by John Philip Sousa.
“We find that it is very effective to use the
An exacting process
replica memorabilia to tell the story of the sub-
ject in more depth and to give people a more
tactile experience when they buy the prod-
ucts,” explains Colin Simpson, executive direc-
tor, production, for Go Entertain. “For me, the
real key to this is the booklet, because there’s
no point just putting historical items together.
I really believe that you need to tell the story.”
tage photos to government documents and
personal correspondence—to explain its indi-
vidual significance. “My whole mission is one
that gives [people] a more broad and rounded
experience and understanding of the subject,”
Simpson tells The Connection.
Creating each set takes six months. Once
a project is planned and Simpson confirms
that a film or series of films can be licensed
and that there is enough archival material
available to replicate, the process takes off; it
includes research, writing, proofreading and
getting approval of the historical material and
DVDs. Many different types of paper stock are
selected to ensure that the memorabilia pieces
are reproduced as authentically as possible.
In-depth research, both historical and
archival, is essential in making these sets as
detailed as possible. A majority of the replicated memorabilia comes from the National
Archives and Records Administration
(NARA) and the Library of Congress, as well
as The National Archives (TNA) in London,
although sources such as Getty Images, NASA
and Wikimedia Commons have been helpful
in specific instances.
Archivists and historians
“When I do the writing of the text of these
projects, I always keep a few books out,” says
U.S.-based freelance historical researcher Kevin
Morrow, who has nearly 20 years of experience
and previously worked on-staff at NARA. For
the Teddy Roosevelt set, he “got a whole stack of
Teddy Roosevelt biographies. It’s a process of
Thinking outside the disc
In our digital editions
Click here for a trailer for Titanic.
(See page 14 for details.)
arts & entertainment
The Heritage Collection uses multimedia to bring history to life
“… it is very
effective to use the
to tell the story …”