How to Make a Documentary

Interested in making documentaries ? Well, is your story compelling? Very few forms of communication have the power to impart to an audience the unique perspective that a documentary does. Bearing this in mind, do you want know how to make a documentary?

If I were a budding film maker I would certainly want to know how to make a documentary, however I am not a film maker. I am merely a writer, and the only thing I can do is change the way that people think by means of the power of words.

Many film makers believe that they have the unique perspective to capture the imagination, and this is certainly true. But how many have the ability to engender such a unique perspective that they are able to capture the imagination as well as to evoke change? Well the makers of documentaries do!

While it is true that would-be documentary film makers are more prolific than antique car salesmen, this is beside the point. People from all walks of life have a story to tell, and to tell it cinematically means that they are able to reach people who can relate to them perfectly. This is one of the gifts of knowing how to make a documentary, being compelled to share your story!

Your story does have to be compelling; there is no doubt about it. As an example, we know someone who is after his divorce, living between his vehicle and an abandoned building. This guy is a regular "Joe", not a hobo, he has a job and played a strong community role, however because of his divorce and between alimony and child support, he is barely any longer able to support himself. Now some people may think that this is not worth documenting. I disagree, I believe that this story is compelling and warrants attention.

I believe there is a strong universal lesson that can be learned and when learning how to make a documentary this counts, by the way this is coming from a woman who after her divorce could not get child support because my ex husband lied to the courts regarding his financial status! But others may feel differently, this is what makes a documentary so personal and so "apart from the run of the mill".

What is it about your story? Does it apply universally? How much do you believe in it, enough to produce a film and know that other people will relate to and understand? If so, you will have your documentary material.

Essentially when you want to know how to make a documentary, you have to have a universally acceptably story, thereafter the sky is the limit. Documentaries are the ultimate soap-box!