We'd been wading through tonnes of research on all aspects of oil and climate change for four months without really knowing what story we're looking for. Then Lizzie mentioned in passing that a frenzy of low-cost airlines are starting up in India this year. Enter Crude story #1. It's perfect as it covers ever-increasing consumption, rich/poor divide, India/China rising superpowers, developing world's right to emit carbon and, obviously, air travel. Plus it's India, which I know I can handle.
So, two days later, we're at the Paris airshow trying to track down Spice Jet, Kingfisher, Air India and Magic Air. We only got our new HDV camera yesterday, so hadn't even worked out where the ON button is - let alone understood whether we should be shooting on 50i, 25p, 50p or 1080 - before we were filming the Kingfisher ("The Virgin Atlantic of India") press conference. They announced they were spending 3 billion dollars on new planes and the plane-spotters went wild.
I then rewound the tape to check whether my randomly selected settings were correct, got sidetracked by an official from Airbus offering free lunch and promptly wiped half the footage.
Two good things came of this. First, the post-McLibel invincibility cloak was thoroughly discarded and some very useful humility restored. Second, we invented "The Silver Lining Prize". Being optimistic types, one or the other of us will quickly, unthinkingly jump in with a positive spin on any disastrous situation. Now we have a name for the habit.