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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, Fall 2019

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

This issue was to have been a Tech Issue, anchored by our Tech Survey, which we sent out to the documentary community late last spring. And while the survey yielded valuable qualitative information, we felt we needed to take a deeper dive into the brands and models that you all use in the field, as well as the range of shooting scenarios that you deploy.

And so, as we were going to press with this issue, we launched Part II of our survey, with the goal in mind to create a comprehensive portrait of gear that you use and to help you choose the best possible equipment for your projects. Look for the results in the Winter 2020 issue, along with some key articles from experts who will shed some light on specific aspects of the docmaking process.

As for the Fall issue, the subject is podcasting, an ever-growing art form that has yielded infinite possibilities in the nonfiction media space. And IDA has been on it, arguably since before Serial jolted our collective consciousness with a riveting true-crime series for the mind (and ears). We honored the television version of This American Life with two consecutive Limited Series Awards, and that show’s founder and artistic director, Ira Glass, hosted the IDA Documentary Awards.

Speaking of the Awards, we debuted the Best Audio Documentary honor in 2018. This year, a Master Class with George Lavender, vice president of content at Wondery, a leading podcast producer, drew a sizable audience of new faces—as did a daylong devotion to the art form this last summer.

And so Laura Almo has cast her net globally, asking podcast mavens from both the US and abroad about what makes a good—and not so good—podcast. She also parses out the optimal gear for creating a clear and provocative aural experience.

Elsewhere in the issue, filmmakers Paula Eiselt and Roberta Grossman share similar experiences about how they turned the disappointment of not getting into A-list festivals into a full-fledged success in reaching audiences through their ingenious campaigns with their respective films, 93Queen and Who Will Write Our History.

Getting Real '18 presented three sessions devoted to #Decolonize Docs, the movement towards a truly diverse and inclusive documentary field. Tracie Lewis checks in with some of the participants in these sessions about where we are and where we need to be.

Yours in actuality,


Tom White