Predictions for 2004…

Once again, RealScreen readers sent in their forecasts (not to mention gripes and warnings) for the year ahead. Look no further than the sky for signs of what to expect
January 1, 2004

Capricorn: December 22 to January 19

It’s not unusual for you to toil after hours and even through the weekend. You fool. Why bother when ‘wages reflect little difference between newcomers and those with vast experience’? Ah, yes, you’re a Capricorn – hardworking and realistic, you can’t help yourself. If you must labor so, at least heed this tip: ‘The DVD industry is going to help a lot in distribution. More people will watch docs they pick up at the book store.’

Aquarius: January 20 to February 17

Success comes from planning, not impulse. ‘Start shooting more in high def. Film is too expensive and DV, even DigiBeta, doesn’t have a shelf life. If we ever want our investments to be worth more than the show it was shot for, we must consider the value of the library.’

Pisces: February 18 to March 19

This is the year to try something new. ‘The non-fiction market is becoming more attractive to producers that combine creativity and true research in an artistic way.’ Just make sure you’re impressing others, instead of making yourself look foolish. Still, it’s worth the risk. ‘If we don’t combat this dumbing down of tv, we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.’

Aries: March 20 to April 19

Put your Aries passion and energy to good use by ruffling a few feathers with your maverick approach to programming. If you’re a broadcaster, ‘wake up, smell the coffee and start commissioning quality, investigative documentary.’ If you’re a producer, contemplate ‘more use of fiction techniques in non-fiction storytelling.’

Taurus: April 20 to May 20

Negotiate your way into a prosperous new era. ‘The tight grip on money will start to loosen and by the end of the year, broadcasters will extend their reach beyond their copro favorites.’ Forget ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy clones.’ ‘After two years of a still market [now is the time to pitch] new ideas.’

Gemini: May 21 to June 20

Geminis are a curious bunch, thirsty for knowledge about the world around them. Go out and share your discoveries. ‘Audiences will get bored with watching home renovations and food creations they can never eat.’ As a result, ‘Wildlife will take off again.’ But, ‘jaws and claws is not the message we want to give to kids.’ Instead, tell ‘traditional blue-chip stories in a different way. People still want behavior, but they want it from different angles.’

Cancer: June 21 to July 22

‘Reality formats kill documentary. Voyeurism is in. Storytelling is out. If it doesn’t have sex or death, forget it.’ Lighten up, sunshine! ‘Budgets won’t get any bigger, but the expectations of the viewer will, and quality will prevail.’ Need something more? Romance will blossom for you mid-year if you dare to be desirable. There, now smile, dammit.

Leo: July 23 to August 22

The artistic ideas and creative plans that crowd your mind will find the perfect outlet this year. ‘After a lamentable absence, there’s a growing number of documentaries making it back into the cinema.’ ‘The real future of the non-fiction business lies in theatrically released and distributed films. Creating a new paradigm in this area is [your] goal, and one [you] should work to develop.’

Virgo: August 23 to September 22

It’s time to sort your priorities. ‘More and more production houses can’t find work or are going out of business.’ With ‘broadcasters continuing to support routine and formulaic programming that entertains without offending,’ you must decide: does ‘the future, at least for now, reside in bawdy reality shows’? Or, do ‘small, personal stories also have a place’?

Libra: September 23 to October 22

Investing in Internet stocks proved foolish a few years back, but ‘broadband will survive, potentially allowing rough cuts to be sent with a simple click’ of the mouse. Embrace technology once again, just be smart about it this time.

Scorpio: October 23 to November 21

Everyone enjoys being in the spotlight now and again, and persistent Scorpio is no exception. But, ‘the proliferation of half-arsed stories shot on mini DV is a scandal. Keep these for the family album chaps!’ Nonetheless, expect ‘even more series revealing people’s unpleasant habits, personalities and lifestyles.’

Sagittarius: November 22 to December 21

‘The trend will be more shallow, mindless entertainment ‘reality’ shows – not because they’re good, worthwhile programs, but because they make money.’ In the wise words of the fabulous Johnny Rotten: ‘We don’t see eye to eye, but we have a common interest: your money.’

About The Author
Andrew Jeffrey joined Realscreen in 2021 as its news editor. Here, he helps to oversee assignment, reporting and editing for Realscreen's daily newsletter. Prior to his work covering documentary and non-fiction film and TV, he worked as a reporter and associate producer for CBC Edmonton, and as a reporter for The Star Calgary, where he covered daily news on beats such as local and provincial politics, health care and harm reduction, sports and education. His work has appeared in other Canadian news outlets such as TVO, the Edmonton Journal and Avenue Magazine.