@ Mastering Film – Courting Controversy

It’s a day of new posts as my newest piece for Focal Press’s Mastering Film  goes live! In “Courting Controversy,” I offer a few tips on how to handle hot-button documentary subject matter. Here’s a snippet…

When I made my first historical documentary, The Fourteen Minute Gap, I was asked by my boss if I was willing to shoulder the controversy it would create. Would I be willing to have it in my portfolio?

The Fourteen Minute Gap tells the story of an erased telephone call between President Lyndon Johnson and FBI Director J.Edgar Hoover on the morning of November 23, 1963, less than 24 hours after John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. While the call is erased, the cover-up job wasn’t done very well – a transcript survived. Weaved in with the story of the call was the backstory of events leading up to the call, as well as the story of my former colleague, Rex Bradford’s discovery of the erasure and his efforts to get it out to the media (which ignored it).

Of course I was willing to have it in my portfolio. It’s a fascinating piece of hidden history (which makes me giddy with delight when I find such a cool, digestible story). But was I willing to shoulder the controversy?

Check out the whole post here…

Courting Controversy: Four Tips for Documentaries on Hot-Button Topics

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