More Harry than Barry

Forgive me for beginning this month's editorial with a reference to a scripted feature, but given my current circumstances, it's incredibly apt.
November 1, 2009

Forgive me for beginning this month’s editorial with a reference to a scripted feature, but given my current circumstances, it’s incredibly apt. Does anyone out there remember the scene from Terry Gilliam’s wonderfully weird mid-’80s film Brazil, in which Robert De Niro’s character, Harry Tuttle, gets caught within a swirling vortex of papers which appears out of nowhere and proceeds to swallow him whole?

Welcome to my world – or more specifically, my desk.

There are several reasons why I can identify so closely with Harry’s predicament. First, even during the most quiet periods of the job, when deadlines still hover somewhere in the foggy distance, my desk can be a tad on the… cluttered side. But as we barrel towards the end of the year and hurtle headlong into 2010, activity in these parts is ramping up considerably, and as a result, I’m feeling a little more Harry than Barry.

But this shouldn’t be read as a complaint, as the reasons behind the swirling vortex are actually exciting and well worth any potential paper cuts I might endure. While our publisher, Claire Macdonald, discusses a few of them at length in her column (over on page 8), I’d like to mention them here as well to give them the attention they deserve.

First up, we have our screening suite, realscreen Connect, which will be the ultimate realization of the goal behind realscreen‘s online strategy from the get-go (and from before my time here). When launched, it was designed to both foster community within the non-fiction content creation industry and facilitate business for its many sectors. The website as it stands now still endeavors to do just that, but with our newly-launched screening suite, we’re amping up the elements allowing you to promote and/or find the content you need, aiming to create a virtual meeting space where business can be done, and creativity can be recognized. Please check it out at and feel free to send along any feedback.

Another pile of papers on my buckling desk concerns our upcoming Factual Entertainment Awards, which will recognize the best international fact ent of 2009. We’re grateful for the industry members who’ve helped us hone the categories (who knew there were 2,148 subgenres of reality programming?) and we greatly look forward to seeing the fruits of your factual entertainment labors from the past year. And I’ll certainly be looking forward to a nice scotch after the awards ceremony in Santa Monica this June.

Lastly, I’ll ask you to cast your eyes to the paper pile immediately to my left, regarding our annual Global 100. By the time you read this, you will have received via our newsletter our call for submissions, where we ask you to weigh in and give us your thoughts on your favorite non-fiction programming and features from 2009. This year, in the interest of having as many genres of non-fiction and their international specialists represented, I’m asking you to also send in your favorite work from assorted genres over the past year. I feel this is a good way to ensure that we span both the globe and the world of non-fiction with this important list. Again, I welcome your thoughts.

Somewhere along the line, if I don’t meet the same fate as Harry, I also plan to have my regular check-up and get some dry cleaning done. Wish me luck.


Barry Walsh


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