11 Tips for Beginning Documentary Makers

Starting production on your first documentary can be an exciting — and scary — moment. On a couple occasions this summer I asked Twitter followers about their favorite or most memorable advice to new documentary makers. This post rounds up some of those responses. 1. START. Seriously, start. Do something, anything. Conduct some background research,…

Plans for an Interactive Documentary Production Class

This fall I have the amazing good fortune to teach a class in documentary. This one is titled Interactive Documentary Production, a class that I had developed and proposed almost two years ago. Due to budget and enrollment issues, the class was canceled last fall. But this fall it will be running, with 10 students…

Documentary Modes

Bill Nichols’ documentary modes offer one of the most useful — and most debated — ways to group documentaries. Nichols is a respected American documentary film theorist who developed these modes in several of his books, including Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary and Introduction to Documentary, now in its third edition. This post…

11 Lessons from a Web Series Course

Thanks to a certain online video conferencing software that shall remain nameless, I was able to take a two-day course in developing web series through MyFilmNorth. The course was run by Matt Anderson, the genius behind behind the hilarious Theater People web series. A basic definition for a web series is a series distributed online….

Some News Links about Documentary

Here are some links to sites that cover documentary news and reviews. Documentary Magazine A regular magazine published by the International Documentary Association. DOX Magazine A quarterly magazine published through the European Documentary Network about the documentary community in Europe. Modern Times Review Based in Europe, smart and insightful commentary about documentary that starts from…

Some Documentary Organizations to Check Out

Here are some organizations dedicated to documentary makers and documentary communities. The D-Word Hands down, The D-Word is the most active and supportive documentary community available for documentary makers from newbies to professionals, and all enthusiasts in between. European Documentary Network The European Documentary Network supports documentary film and television makers through education and outreach,…

Some Links Related to Nonfiction Production

Here are some sites that focus on media production, with some emphasis on nonfiction. Learn Documentary Desktop Documentaries Documentary Cameras No Film School Filmmaker IQ

Where to Find Good Writing about Documentary

Here are some links to writers — including creators, critics, scholars, and others — who blog (mostly) regularly about documentary. All These Wonderful Things Though not updated recently, A.J. Schnack’s blog offers some in-depth insights in documentary media and production. Docalogue A monthly curated conversation about documentary hosted by Jaimie Baron and Kristen Fuhs. DocumentaryBusiness.com…

Not Sure Where to Start with Documentaries? Try These

On Twitter, I recently posed three questions about documentary viewing: What’s the first documentary you remember ever seeing? What’s the first documentary that really impacted you, affected you in some way? How so? What is your favorite scene in a documentary? The answers ran the gamut. They included a who’s who of documentary directors, some…

Five Different Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

Many suggestions for encouraging creativity involve writing prompts. While writing can clear out the mental clutter, sometimes a different kind of activity is needed to ground you. The following post offers different ways to engage your creativity other than the written word. Legos Legos have become a major toy franchise, with co-branding, several movies, and…