Realscreen Takeaways: Documentary Budgets, Facebook Strategy, China’s New Buyers, and More

Realscreen Summit 2017 came at a moment that felt weighted with history. It kicked off in Washington the day after the massive Women’s March in which many delegates participated, and ended as my new president set of alarm bells by slamming down the phone on my prime minister. In between was the hard realization that …

The Fidel Archive Case Study: Inside a PBS / NGC International Coproduction

(Originally published, September 21, 2014). The PBS/NGCI documentary The Fidel Castro Tapes caught our attention with its compelling and unseen footage of the Cuban revolution and the Cold War drama that followed. We wondered about the challenges of creating an archive-based film about an 88-year old Spanish-speaking personality who can be dangerously controversial, and who …

Documentary & Reality Case Studies: 21 Projects From Concept through Development to Delivery

Here is my expanded selection of our ever-popular and instructive Case Studies. Each documentary or reality project is unique. The 21-project collection is a mosaic that describes models for your future productions. As they say in Recovery programs: “Take what you like, and leave the rest!” Read now before my free, practical research and analysis …

Nat Geo Takes The Archive Global. Case Study: ‘Challenger Disaster: The Lost Tapes’

The archive continues to power primetime signature shows. But it takes imagination to find the topics, and the undiscovered ‘jewels’ in the archive that can tell stories in a fresh way and at an affordable cost. This week’s Case Study is Nat Geo’s Challenger Disaster: The Lost Tapes from Peabody Award winner Tom Jennings Productions. …

POV Revealed (2/2): The Filters & Selection Process. What Are Your Odds of Success?

We continue our updated coverage of POV, the flagship PBS documentary strand with a peak audience of 1.9Mn viewers. In this post: What is POV’s selection process, from Open Call to Offer? The Filters. Timeline? Who decides? What are your odds? Read POV Revealed, Part 1. Also: POV‘s 2015 and 2014 selections. SELECTION PROCESS Filters: Great non-fiction storytelling. Address social …

Inside PBS’s POV Documentary Strand (1/2): How Many Greenlights? The Fees? Budgets? And Rights? Plus Changes at the Top

Personnel changes at POV reminded us to update our detailed profile of the PBS documentary flagship. Congrats to Simon Kilmurry who was appointed Executive Director of the International Documentary Association. Simon served POV for 16 years. The new key management team is: Chris White, Executive Producer. Eliza Licht, VP of Content Strategy & Engagement. Chris and Eliza are each …