On Saturday at True/False, AJ Schnack requested the assistance of a group of various industry members. It was for a panel discussion called “The Hypothetical Hit,” and it would be a sort of improv panel wherein the group would hear about a documentary project and walk it through each step of “the process,” from inception to fundraising to editing to festivals to release. I must say, it was probably one of the best panels I’ve ever been a part of, because it forced everyone to speak specifically about the ways in which their segment of the business works. All of that was helped by the spontaneous new twists AJ threw into the equation: what if there’s a competing doc? what if you get a horrible New York Times review? what if elements of the documentary are accused of being a hoax?
The panel included myself, Channel 4’s Jess Search, LAFF’s Rachel Rosen, filmmaker Kirby Dick, POV’s Yance Ford, blogger Karina Longworth, and several others. The hypothetical film was a look at “Sully” Sullenberger, the hero of the US Airways flight that crashed into the Hudson. I think we addressed a lot of interesting angles, and I hope the audience members got as much out of it as we did.