We may be living through times of unprecedented change, but in uncertainty lies the power to influence the future of storytelling.
Now is not the time to despair, but to act and interact!
Please introduce yourself in a few words. What’s your current position? What is your company main activity?
I am the MD of AUTENTIC, a company, that brings together professionals who are passionate about factual content and our factual industry. We cover the whole nine years from content development, through production, to broadcasting, and other ways to bring great authentic content to an interested audience.
Documentary producers, broadcasters and distributors are venturing into a largely disrupted period as the COVID-19 pandemic upends production activities across the globe. How are you impacted?
I feel that we are all united in the same experience, between competitors, and between broadcasters and producers. Nobody has any previous experience in handling such a crisis. Production, especially the more complex content for the international market, has come to a grinding halt. While more journalistic, news-type of content is in high demand. But not everyone can switch between these two.
Our channel business keeps us largely unharmed for the time being. We are trying to think ahead, despite all uncertainties. There will be a time, when everyone asks for content again. Our colleagues in distribution are busy preparing for this moment. Our greatest fear would be to be caught out empty handed in Autumn when the world will hopefully wake up again.
What resources are you exploring to keep documentary productions up and running during this unprecedented crisis?
We are lucky to have a reputation for quality reversioning, and for archive-based shows. And we are keenly observing which countries will open up sooner again than others.
Have you identified opportunities or online solutions to innovate and create new relevant factual content in the changing landscape?
It’s not just about content. Now is also the time to look at workflows, and at how to produce without physical presence in the editing room. Remote interviewing needs to be regarded as a real alternative to sending the director there. The skill to guide non-film people to record their own first person account stories bears massive value. Maybe, involuntarily, we´ve just been sent on a fast track towards greener production.
How has your international acquisition/sales and/or coproduction strategies evolved as a result of the current situation?
We are glad to have established fully digital workflows in content distribution. Anything else would be hellish right now.
There´s one thing neither my colleagues at Autentic Distribution nor the production people can tell at this point: can we really move all relevant conversations exclusively online? I don´t think so. Meeting your partners from time to time, and to spend time with them in person will still be necessary, even if that looks like a luxury right now. We are human beings.
What key message would you like to deliver to industry stakeholders involved in the value chain of documentary storytelling?
This is a time when audiences around the world watch a lot of content. Let´s carefully look at what they watch, and why they watch it.
How can the international marketplace Sunny Side of the Doc help you come out stronger on the other side?
Make Sunny Side of the Doc as immersive as you can. Try new ways to communicate. Create a sense of celebration. We should all enjoy sharing the same digital space together.