Polio Virus Documentary: A Case Study in the Defeat of a Raging Epidemic

A SHOT TO SAVE THE WORLD is a special about Jonas Salk’s race to defeat the dreaded polio virus. It captures how strong, unifying leadership and Science-based government can overcome a terrible global epidemic. I became committed as an Executive Producer. Bill Gates kindly agreed to serve as the narrator of our film, and his foundation supported …

Factual Production in the Age of the Coronavirus

As New York City moved into Coronavirus shutdown this weekend, I wondered about the effects of the increasingly restrictive response to the epidemic on program production and delivery schedules. NBA Started It When the NBA cancelled its season, most of the world’s leading Sports franchises followed. Next came Late Night Talk shows with their live …

Coronavirus: The Economic Impact of Lost Markets & Festivals. Workarounds for Producers

The impact on the documentary economy of cancelled markets and events due to Coronavirus precautions is serious. A helpful approach to understanding this loss is to recap what’s involved in the distribution of fine, one-off documentaries in a typical season. This process was captured in my very useful post with Windrose‘s Pauline Mazenod. Read: How …

Killer Virus: Case Studies of co-productions on the AIDS & Ebola epidemics

The challenges of covering the Coronavirus pandemic are anticipated in two of my Case Studies: Rise of the Killer Virus and In Ebola’s Wake. HIV / AIDS: The Rise of the Killer Virus is a scientific detective story. It traces the pre-history of HIV back to the moment of its origination in Africa around 1908. Key …

YouTube: Billions in Revenues Expand Documentary Commissions. Netflix’s Audience Share

YouTube’s 15th Birthday:  A Growing  Industry Power-house. For months, I’ve been hearing about YouTube commissions for documentaries and specials. Very respectable US and UK producers are the beneficiaries. Generous budgets are in the $750,000 – $1.5 million range. Topics have included the youth-targeted categories of pop culture and music celebrity bio-docs. YouTube’s head of Originals, Susanne Daniels …