Documentaries are becoming one of the most popular genres of films being created today. From True Crime series to shows explaining how our favorite things and media have been made in the past, there’s a documentary out there for everyone to enjoy and learn from. If you’re interested in documentary filmmaking but don’t know where to start, here are a few of the basic steps to get you on your way.
Decide on Your Topic and Research
The first step is to choose your topic. This can be anything that you’re passionate about or feel strongly about sharing with others. It should be something that piques not only your interest but also bring in a large audience in order for the documentary to be successful.
A few different topics that are popular in the documentary genre currently are:
- stories about real life crimes and criminals
- examinations of how things are made or work
- social media/internet celebrities and their lifestyles
- current events that are affecting people all over the world
- personal stories about overcoming struggles or unique situations
Once you have your topic, it’s time to do some research. This will involve learning everything you can about your subject matter, including interviewing experts and people who are knowledgeable about the topic. You’ll want to make sure that the information you’re pulling is credible and can translate to the screen easily.
Next, you’ll need to start planning your film. This includes script writing, creating a budget, and booking locations and equipment. Depending on the documentary, you may need to hire a camera crew or other film professionals to help you with the production process.
Create a Script or Treatment
After you have your information, it’s time to start putting together a script or treatment. This will be a road map for the documentary and will help keep you on track while filming. The script or treatment should include:
- an introduction to the documentary and what viewers can expect
- the main points or topics that will be covered
- interviews with experts or people involved in the story
- any B-roll footage or additional scenes that will be needed
- a conclusion that ties everything together
As you’re putting together your script or treatment, it’s important to keep in mind the overall message that you want to convey with your documentary. This will help you determine what scenes are essential to the film and what can be left out.
Find Funding and Start Filming
Once you have your script or treatment ready, it’s time to start seeking out funding for your project. There are a few different ways that you can do this, including:
- crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe
- asking for donations from family and friends
- seeking out sponsorships from businesses or organizations
After you have the necessary funding, it’s time to start filming! This is where all of your hard work in the planning stages will come together. Be sure to stay on track with your script or treatment and get all of the footage that you need in order to tell your story.
You’ll want to make sure that you have all of the necessary interviews, B-roll, and scenes captured before moving on to the next step.
Edit and Release Your Documentary
After you have all of your footage, it’s time to start editing your documentary. Post-production editing is truly one of the most important parts of your production journey.
This is where you’ll piecing everything together to create a cohesive film. You’ll also be adding in any additional graphics or effects that are needed. You’ll also be working on your audio, making sure that everything is clearly heard, and even recording voiceovers that can be used throughout the documentary.
Once your documentary is edited and ready to go, it’s time for the final step: releasing it to the world! There are a few different ways that you can do this, including submitting it to film festivals or releasing it online. Or, if you’ve already gathered funding through a mainstream streaming service, you’ll have a wider audience to share it with!
Releasing your documentary is a huge accomplishment and something that you should be very proud of. Congratulations on completing your film!
There are a few things you’ll want to make sure you’re including and doing when it comes to producing a documentary.
What are some of the important features a Documentary should include?
As mentioned above, a documentary should include an introduction, main points or topics, interviews, B-roll footage, and a conclusion. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that the overall message of the documentary is clear and easy for viewers to understand. And finally, post-production editing is crucial in putting together a cohesive and well-made documentary.
What can I do to market my Documentary?
There are a few different marketing strategies that you can use to get your documentary seen by a wider audience. One option is to submit it to film festivals. This can help give your documentary some exposure and can even lead to awards or other recognition.
Another option is to release your documentary online, whether that be on your own website or through a streaming service. This makes it easy for people to watch your documentary from anywhere in the world.
Finally, you can also use social media to promote your documentary. Post about it on your personal platforms and encourage others to share it with their followers as well. You can even create a dedicated hashtag that viewers can use when they’re talking about your documentary online.
Marketing your documentary is an important way to get it seen by a larger audience and can help you achieve your goals for the film.
What are some things to avoid when Producing a Documentary?
There are a few things that you’ll want to avoid when producing a documentary, in order to make sure that your film is of the highest quality. One thing to avoid is using too much B-roll footage, as this can make your documentary feel disjointed and choppy. Additionally, make sure that your interviews are conducted in a professional manner and that all questions are relevant to the topic at hand.
It’s also important to make sure that your documentary has a clear message and is easy for viewers to understand. Otherwise, they may lose interest or be confused about what the film is trying to say. Finally, avoid using any copyrighted material without permission, as this can lead to legal trouble down the road.
Should I hire a professional production company?
The short answer? YES!
While there’s no requirement to hire a professional production company when making a documentary, it can be helpful in ensuring that your documentary is of the highest quality. A production company can help with everything from pre-production planning to post-production editing, and they’ll have a team of experienced professionals who can help make your documentary look and sound great.
Additionally, a production company can also help with marketing and distribution, getting your documentary seen by a wider audience. So if you’re looking to produce a high-quality documentary that will reach a large number of people, hiring a professional production company is a great option.
If you’re looking for a great production company that loves creating documentaries and has the experience in multiple documentary genres, you should consider C&I Studios.
C&I Studios has a team of experienced documentary filmmakers who are passionate about telling stories that matter. We’ve worked on a wide variety of documentary projects, from short films to feature-length films, and we’re always looking for new and interesting stories to tell.
Not only do we have amazing crews, but we have studios for rent located in major cities throughout the United States. Our studios have everything you need to produce a high-quality documentary, from top-of-the-line equipment to a professional and experienced team. Studios are great for recording those important interviews that you see in some of your favorite documentaries.
Don’t need a studio, but you still need access to great equipment? C&I Studios offers filming gear rentals, too! From some of the best cameras on the market to microphones and lighting, you can easily gain access to some of the best gear in the business through us!
If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for your documentary project, or if you want to rent one of our studios, please contact us today. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and help you get started on your documentary journey!