ITVS: $191+ Million Spent on Independent Productions Since 1990

I Am Not Your Negro would have earned my vote for the Feature Documentary Oscar for 2017. ITVS was a key funder of Raoul Peck’s marvelous film which envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a radical narration about race in America. ITVS’s contribution to independent documentaries deserves a big cheer at this moment when publicly …

In Ebola’s Wake: Case Study of a High-risk, Fast Turnaround Documentary

In Fall 2014, producer Antje Boehmert was in post-production with Berlin-based director Carl Gierstorfer on Rise of the Killer Virus, a medical detective story on the pre-history of HIV. The team closely followed the breaking news on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Carl began to look for opportunities to cover the story. His research went into …

Successful Factual, Documentary & Reality Projects Revealed: 18 Detailed Case Studies, from a $40 Mn Box Office Hit to Passion Docs

I enjoy studying the life cycles of documentaries, factual specials and reality series. My goal is to uncover: The inside story: from development through funding, green light, production and distribution. The deal: budget, copro terms, box office, license fees and more. And, of course, Takeaways. For the holiday season, here is a selection of my popular and …

Ten Takeaways for Creating a Successful Fundraising Trailer

I’m just back from Vienna for the sold out World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. Pitching strategies were very much part of the conversation. We invited Fernanda Rossi, the globe-trotting trailer-guru to share her expertise on the Do’s and Don’t’s of creating a winning sizzler. Thanks Fernanda! by Fernanda Rossi, Author of Trailer Mechanics: …

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 …

The Business of the Documentary & Unscripted Business. Thirteen Case Studies

My newsletter features detailed Case Studies that reveal the life cycles of documentary films, factual television specials and reality series. We tell the inside story of each project, from development through funding, production and distribution. And we usually have the numbers: budgets, copro deals, box office, license fees and more. Why Case Studies? In my consulting practice, clients …