Ask a hundred industry people what they think the future holds and you get some interesting answers. Here are a few of your thoughts, from the pessimistic to the cheery.
* Doc slump!!!
* Factual programming will try to compete with reality programming on networks. ‘Presenters’ will be action-heroes presenting stories that are only loosely based on facts. This will be ratings/profit driven for the corporate masters.
* Less buying, less paid per documentary.
* Same old shit or, More shit.
* More small TV markets will disappear.
* More outlets (digital), lower license fees.
* Hard times if the American economy goes down the plug hole.
* More of the same: consumption and recession until we find another country to exploit, the conglomeration of the mind, anti-individualism, xenophobia, global warming.
* More documentaries, fewer outlets.
* Quality of docs, television and movies will continue to decline.
* Stronger separation into quality and quantity – much average
programming needed for growing number of thematic channels, few enormous high-gloss projects with international coproducers and high budgets.
* More budget cuts, less emphasis on quality images or high production values.
* We’ll see a lot of patriotic and/or doomsday films.
* For 2002, I see nothing to change for better or worse. 2005 or 2006 is another matter. By then we should be able to circumvent the networks and cable with the internet.
* Big broadcasters getting even greedier.
* Fully dramatized, ‘what if’ scenario documentaries.
* A general economic depression.
* We’ll have to wait until after the war…
* It is going to be tough for non-fiction filmmakers. Good luck.
* There will be new avenues available, though producers, distributors and broadcasters are facing leaner times. But, these things go in cycles.
* Fewer, but multi-discipline, indies.
* Few commissions, more acquisitions, younger producers and directors coming to the fore.
* Smaller cameras, cheaper editing systems, less money for production.
* Some indies go under, industry tidied up a bit, commissioners more committed to their niches.
* Tough, but better than 2001.
* More demand for factual and the return of natural history programs.
* Reality shows dying a horrific death and quality history/factual taking over.
* Asian content will be appreciated much more than ever. Also, there’s the World Cup, so there might be further need for football-related footage.
* Someone will make a groundbreaking webdoc.
* Continued growth.
* Working hard will make it better.
* Programming will change. Not as much special effects. Most watched programming in docs will have to do with educating people about our world situation; personal stories, behind the scenes.
* People don’t want to feel scared and lonely, so whatever programming fills that void will be successful. People will be watching more programming ‘together’.
* Early steps of a new millennium of collective conscience?
* Things have to get better?
* Growth in hard-edged factual will replace reality.
* Improvement by the third quarter.
* I’ll sell my film.
* It will be an awesome year.