Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

The Future of Wildlife Television: Interviews from Wild Talk Africa (1/3)

In our video vignettes: Key trends in Wildlife television according to a BBC Natural History Unit EP, and a Nat Geo Wild commissioner evaluates what she finds at Wild Talk.

BTW, Wild Talk was my first attempt at capturing expert interviews using a cellphone. The results were mixed: my camera work is wobbly and the sound is muffled by background noise at times. But the picture quality is terrific, and the content of these 3-5 minute interviews is of great practical use.


Optimism on Wildlife trends from a BBC/NHU EP

Chris Cole
Executive Producer
BBC Natural History Unit, Bristol

Chris looks at three trends in wildlife. He is optimistic, seeing less growth than in the days when cab/sat was emerging, but demand remains encouraging. We discuss technical impacts on the genre from developments in the kit. BTW, the NHU’s ‘Africa’ series won big at the Roscars: there were two unforgettable sequences, one of rhinos playing whoopee in the starlight, and another of a titanic KO battle between alpha giraffes.


U.S. Commissioner’s Takeaways on Wild Talk Africa

Jordan Hall
Manager of Development
National Geographic Wild, Washington DC

Jordan enjoys the passion, energy and youth of the delegates at Wild Talk. Their access is often amazing, and she is excited to learn about their projects. I ask her about the favorable cost economies of production in South Africa.



US Networks: What do they Want? What’s the Deal? And the Things They Won’t Tell You…
Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Don’t miss my intensive half-day master class with industry veteran Ed Hersh at WESTDOC 2013.

Our workshop is dedicated to helping producers understand the chaotic and rapidly-changing nonfiction marketplace so that they can get their projects green lit.

I met with Ed this morning and over coffee we developed a jam-packed ‘curriculum’ for our Masterclass! We thought up a subtitle for our list of topics: “How to Get in the Door, and What to Do When You Get There!”  We will build on the Standing-Room-Only success of last year’s Master Class with Stephen Harris, the former A&E development exec and now ‘red hot’ LA-based producer. Check out the video highlights of the 2012 Master Class here.

This year, Ed and I will take a tour of the network landscape: which networks commission docs, specials and series, including reality series, and focusing on key industry trends.

Register here!

We’ll use our video clips, Powerpoints, ratings data and other valuable resources to bang home the teachable moments.

What We’ll Cover

Topics that we will cover include:

  • Understanding network “filters”
  • Series vs. one-offs: what you need to know
  • What are their audiences, key demos and current program strategies, and how that should affect your pitch?
  • Why do some producers seem to get “all” the green lights, and others don’t
  • When your experience counts. And when it doesn’t!
  • The network commissioning process: What you need to know before you pitch, when you’re in the room, and what happens afterwards.
  • The pitch: Five key Do’s and Don’ts that will increase your chances of success.
  • What are the five things that MUST be in your pitch to have it even considered
  • What are the key deal terms for work-for-hire commissions, co-productions and acquisitions.
  • What do the networks pay for programs? And is that negotiable?
  • Do emerging producers need an agent? Or is it better to partner with an established producer? And what’s the deal for ‘marrying up?’

There will be plenty of time for Q&A and post-workshop networking.

Westdoc Producers’ Master Class
Built for Success: Developing and Producing Non-Fiction Programming in Today’s Environment
US Networks: What do they Want? What’s the Deal? And the things they won’t tell you…

Sunday, September 15th, 2013
$199 for WESTDOC attendees
Register here.

Or email me ( if you have any questions about the Master Class.