Documentary

Stuff You Need to Know

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Striving for Objectivity in Documentary Filmmaking Will Help You Tell Better...

Before getting into how best to harness objectivity to serve your documentary story, a quick historical review of this most-coveted of journalistic ideals might...
Taking the time to immerse yourself in a variety of documentary styles and sub-genres will top up your doc-making toolkit with storytelling ideas

How to Choose the Right Doc Format for Your Subject

We read a lot about the proliferation of documentary styles and forms—the many different ways a director can approach the telling of a nonfiction...

How to develop an idea into a finished documentary

Have you ever heard of Robert J. Flaherty?  He’s known as the “father” of documentary filmmaking (“Nanook of the North,” 1922). However, documentaries didn’t...
How Mockumentary Highlights Documentary Tropes - 1978 Beatles parody, “The Rutles - All You Need Is Cash.”

How Mockumentary Highlights Documentary Tropes

You could argue that the first films ever made were documentaries. As early as the late 1800’s, motion picture pioneers tinkered with continuously-running photographic...
If your next video project is about a challenging or bland subject matter, don’t be afraid to dip in and mix and match, you’ll know when you have the right combination of story elements that will keep the sandman at bay and your audience wanting more.

How to Tell Compelling Stories about Mundane Subjects

In our information-crammed lives, how many of us have been made to sit through coma-inducing fact-films or interminably tedious educational documentaries? Whether in school, at...
Two man film crew shooting.

How To Not Screw Up Your First Documentary

Producer, director and screenwriter Spike Jonze reminds the aspiring documentarian: “Doing a documentary is about discovering, being open, learning, and following curiosity.”
Scenes from Joe Carnahan’s gritty 2002 good-cop-bad-cop thriller “Narc"

Shooting With Discretion

The camera captures it all with a documentary rawness, but from a distance, on a long lens and according to the director’s commentary, from...
When the Story Changes

How to Respond when Your Documentary Veers Off-course

The documentary storytelling process falls broadly into two very different ways of going about it.

What’s Your Story: Developing the Story in Documentary

Writer and filmmaker Sheila Curran’s explanation is bang on: Without a story you don’t have a doc. In fiction films and movies, the story is...
The Godfather of DocCinema - BBC Two - Documenting John Grierson (2014)

A Profile of John Grierson, Godfather of DocCinema

The orbit of John Grierson’s legacy touches almost everything we know about documentary. The five-foot something Scotsman with an orator’s voice single-handedly birthed the...

Video Courses

Documentary Production: The Shoot

Capturing the best video and audio for your project is an important part of any documentary. It's where all your hard work pays off....
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What's New

Your guide to making money with your indie films

A wise man once said, “Don’t go into filmmaking if you’re trying to make money…” But don’t be discouraged, no good filmmaker ever followed the advice of a wise man. Let’s disregard that and look at some viable ways to make money with your...
The Pharmacist docuseries

Docuseries vs documentary: what is a docuseries?

Docuseries differs from the typical documentary. While similar, there are some distinct differences. We’ll cover what those differences are.

How to market a documentary

How do you market a documentary? It seems like a simple question to answer. You might try to build a strong social media campaign and apply to as many film festivals as possible. However, this misguided strategy is not enough to get your film...

How to make a documentary: everything you need to know

So you want to be a documentary filmmaker? Do you think you know how to make a documentary? My first tip would be to tell you don’t do it unless you have a lot of patience and drive. Documentary filmmaking is truly a labor of...

Here’s how to conduct research for a documentary

All good documentaries need to have a solid foundation created through proper research. In this article, we will help you research for your next documentary film.
man holding a dslr camera in a vehicle

What is documentary? The genre defined

What is documentary? What qualifies as a documentary film? Let's dig deeper.

What it’s like to make a feature-length documentary

On this episode of The Videomaker Podcast we react to the new Rode VideoMic NTG, have a conversation with documentary filmmaker Brandon Vedder, and we talk about some of the leaked camera features coming to Samsung phones.

Taking video to the 70 poorest countries on earth

On this episode of the Videomaker Podcast we react to the new 16-inch MacBook Pro; have a conversation with OMPT Development Manager Andy Shoemaker; and speculate about Canon’s plans for the mirrorless market.
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Cocaine Cowboys Producer Alfred Spellman talks storytelling and trust in doc...

With an explosive doc catalog that includes titles like Cocaine Cowboys, Raw Deal and Screwball, Alfred Spellman is no stranger to high stakes filmmaking.

Cinéma Vérité Documentary

documentaries can be broken up into three types; Docudrama, Observational Documentation and Cinéma Vérité.

Russian Woodpecker director Chad Gracia talks Sundance, Chernobyl and Sex in...

"The Russian Woodpecker" (2015) would become a global cautionary tale of what happens when people lose trust in their government.

Public domain – what’s theirs is sometimes yours

When does a Copyright enter the Public Domain? We get this question all the time. We'd love to say, If published after this date...

Robert Flaherty: Defining the “Flaherty Way”

When Robert Flaherty (1884-1951) released his first and most famous film "Nanook of the North" in 1922, the term ‘documentary’ had not yet been minted.

How to win a grant: An inside look at the Gucci...

As an indie doc filmmaker, getting to the final stages of completing your film can be grueling. Ordinarily, you've spent months or years on...
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