Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

AI for Documentary Filmmakers: Enhancing Storytelling & Workflow. A Pact Webinar with Philip Shane

AI – Artificial Intelligence – was a hot topic for producers attending the recent MIPDOC / MIPTV market in Cannes.

I’m technophobic, and I sense among my colleagues this fear that AI programs like ChatGPT are going to eliminate jobs in content production just like the Internet and desktop publishing decimated print journalism.

Here to help us get a grip on our fears and hopes related to the impact of AI on video production is veteran Sundance award-winning filmmaker, educator and careful reader of the AI tea leaves, Philip Shane.

His message: “Learn the AI tools!”

Watch here (30 min)


  • [3:30] The “huge” impact of AI is comparable to the arrival of electricity.
  • [6:30] What AI does well for producers? Text. Graphics. Video (“Not there yet!”)
  • [9:00] ChatGPT is not a factual research tool. It’s an “extra really brilliant new member of your team.”
  • [11:00] How ChatGPT adds to Philip’s weekly podcast processes.
  • [15:00] ChatGPT can give ideas. Brainstorm.
  • [16:00] We explore job loss and job creation.
  • [19:00] The explosion of productivity.
  • [20:00] Storyboard creation.
  • [22:00] AI editing is not there yet, but AI will create new forms of storytelling.
  • [26:00] “You’ll be able to create a Netflix-quality movie from your thoughts.”
  • [28:00] Philip’s final thoughts: “There are new non-human minds arriving on the planet. They can be here to help you!”

About Philip Shane

Philip Shane is an award-winning documentary filmmaker with over 30 years of experience.

He was Co-director & Editor of Being Elmo (Winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival), and Producer & Editor of the two-hour feature documentary, Einstein (2008, History Channel). As Editor of Dancing in Jaffa, which had its World Premiere at the 2013 TriBeCa Film Festival, he and Bob Eisenhardt won the Best Editing Award at Israel’s prestigious DocAviv Film Festival. Read more at

Learn More

Philip Shane on The D-Word: “Utilizing AI for Documentary Production”

Documentarians are currently utilizing AI technology at every stage of the filmmaking process. In a discussion moderated by D-Word founder and co-host Doug Block, guest experts Philip Shane and Basil Shadid explain the essential AI apps and tools that are transforming the film landscape and making it much easier to do certain production tasks.

Philip Shane and HAL 9000 Discuss the dangers of AI, from Philip’s science podcast, “What The IF?”

Want to learn about the dangers and capabilities of AI? Using ChatGPT’s ability to role play? Philip had HAL 9000 as a guest in the studio to help us learn how AI thinks.

Matt Wolfe: “Make A Movie with AI: It’s Crazy What We Can Do!”

YouTuber Matt Wolfe experimented with a bunch of different tools in order to make a short film with AI. The results aren’t perfect. Great video is still difficult to do with the current generation of AI video tools. Arms and hands still leave a lot to be desired and getting a consistent character is still near impossible but we’ve come a long way very quickly.

Max Tegmark interview: Six months to save humanity from AI? | DW Business Special

A leading expert in artificial intelligence warns that the race to develop more sophisticated models is outpacing our ability to regulate the technology. Critics say his warnings overhype the dangers of new AI models like GPT. But MIT professor Max Tegmark says private companies risk leading the world into dangerous territory without guardrails on their work.

Bill Gates on AI and the rapidly evolving future of computing

With the rapidly evolving AI landscape, including the release of products like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and the new Bing, Bill talks about this unique moment in the history of computing. In this episode, Kevin talks with Bill about the latest in AI research, including the release of GPT-4, how past technology revolutions have led us to where we are today, how AI is evolving his philanthropic work, his love of reading, and more.

Recent Pact Webinars

“Linear still matters!”

That’s the theme of my series of Pact webinars with veteran programming executive Dan Salerno.

Watch Dan’s deep research on the U.S. channels’ programming strategies here:

Thanks to Pact webinar producer Aimee Shimmin and Documentary Business associate editor Caitlin Cooper.