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Latest Podcast Episodes

The Online Film Festival for the Documentary Filmmaker

Lyndon Stone is the founder and festival director of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Melody Gilbert is a documentary filmmaker well acquainted with the world of film festivals. In light of Covid events, both the festival director and filmmaker, have had to pivot their approaches to documentary film festivals. This is the kind of discussion we…

Spirituality in Documentary Filmmaking with Mickey Lemle

Mickey Lemle has made documentary films about some of the most brilliant individuals in the modern world. From His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama to Ram Dass to Sir Laurens van der Post, Lemle has been rubbing shoulders with great minds who all have very spiritual & compassionate ways of living. Lemle has had the…

Personal Trauma in Documentary Film with Sasha Joseph Neulinger

Sasha Joseph Neulinger endured some of the most traumatic events a child can experience. He is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. And he has now turned those events into one of 2020’s more extraordinary documentary films, Rewind. Neulinger sits down with TDL to discuss his journey making Rewind and to offer some insight into…

Doc Filmmaking in the Mountains with Eric Becker

Eric Becker has been taking on extreme challenges since he can remember. If it’s not racing bikes it’s climbing mountains. If it’s not climbing mountains, it’s making doc films about people climbing mountains. Tune into this week’s episode where we celebrate International Everest Day by welcoming doc filmmaker and mountaineer, Eric Becker on to TDL!…

YouTube For the Documentary Filmmaker with David Hoffman

It’s hard to refute the power and potential of the second biggest search engine in the world, YouTube. Especially for the independent doc filmmaker. Here at TDL we have long talked about the importance of you, the doc filmmaker, in fully embracing and becoming your best entrepreneurial self. The importance of building your own brand.…

Making the Sports Documentary with Gotham Chopra

Sports documentaries have really come into their own as a documentary genre. The truth is that the built-in drama and sometimes off-the-field shenanigans make for some really compelling stories. Entities like ESPN’s 30 For 30 series, HBO Sports, Netflix and Hulu’s ventures into sports docuseries, all have been making these films and really elevating the…

128 – Documentary Film and the Music Composer with Nainita Desai

When it comes to documentary film – and really film, in general – one of the forgotten heroes is often the film’s music composer. And yet, it’s often the music that truly elevates a film from good to greatness, making the storyline and all of its visuals just a bit more rich, complex, and emotional.…

127 – Mental Health and the Documentary Filmmaker with Rebecca Day

We doc filmmakers are no strangers to mental health. Whether by the very nature of being doc filmmakers or from the subjects of our documentaries, we’re often dealing with levels of anxiety, stress, and/or depression on a daily basis. Still it’s not something that we often openly talk about. That is, not until recently, as…

126 – Finding Yingying with Jiayan Shi

When it comes to being affected by the coronavirus, we doc filmmakers, of course, are no exception. Whether we work in tv broadcasting, run video productions, or are freelancers, we are all feeling the impact of the massive shutdowns happening due to Covid-19. So in today’s episode I’d like to offer up some ways in…

Latest Blog Articles

TDL Partners with the D-Word

By Chris G Parkhurst

        DOCUMENTARY’S #1 PODCAST AND DOCUMENTARY’S #1 COMMUNITY ANNOUNCE OFFICIAL PARTNERSHIP The Documentary Life, The D-Word   Portland, OR, USA [June 29,2020] – Two recognized institutions of the documentary community have partnered up in an effort to better serve the documentary filmmaking community.    The Documentary Life podcast is a show dedicated…

How We’re Showing Up For Our Community in 2020

By Chris G Parkhurst

The end of each year is a perfect time to reflect on what is going right and what could be going better in your life, your career and with your documentary filmmaking goals. It is often around this time – late November and until the end of the year – that we begin to process…

#Doclifer Stories – Matthew Ritenour

By DoclIfer Stories

#1. – How and why did you first get interested in documentary filmmaking? I grew up shooting skateboarding videos and local punk shows in the Florida Panhandle. I had this Sony DV Handicam and I would do most of my edits in camera straight onto the tape. Looking back on it now, I think I…

#Doclifer Stories – Maricla Pannocchia

By DoclIfer Stories

#1. – How and why did you first get interested in documentary filmmaking? I started in the spring of 2018, out of necessity. I’m Italian and I’m the founder and chairman of an Italian charity called Adolescenti e cancro (Teens and Cancer) and I felt the need to share with the world the inspiring story…

Margaret Mead Film Festival

By Stephanie Vincenti

  American Museum of Natural History, New York October 17-20, 2019   About the Festival The American Museum of Natural History’s, Margaret Mead Film Festival, features documentary films, shorts, and other media that increase our understanding of the complexity and diversity of peoples and cultures around the world. Inspired by anthropologist Margaret Mead’s groundbreaking use…

5 Tips for Making the Personal Documentary

By Chris G Parkhurst

Often times as documentary filmmakers, we will choose topics that are near and dear to our hearts, we have quite personal connections to these topics.  So it’s only natural we choose to be a central part of our films and make what is known as the ‘personal documentary’. While some of the more powerful stories in…

5 Best Practices for Making Film Extras

By Chris G Parkhurst

When making film extras, you should be thinking of the five things we have listed here as you make your film.  Remember, you are an independent filmmaker, and because of that you are going to be responsible for selling yourself and your film.  Think of ways to be procuring extras as you are making your…

What You Need To Know About Your Fiscal Sponsor

By Chris G Parkhurst

Finding your fiscal sponsors for your documentary film is an important endeavor if you are looking to offer your donors a tax-deductible donation and obtain grant funding. There are so many criteria to consider when deciding which fiscal sponsor best fits you. After all, there can be many other perks and advantages to your fiscal…

5 Tips for Producing Your Docuseries

By Chris G Parkhurst

Producing your docuseries is a challenging but rewarding endeavor. It’s a journey that not all filmmakers want to take but it’s a great way to expand your documentary idea into long-form. Here are some tips on how to produce your own docuseries. Enjoy the ride!   5 Tips for Producing Your Docuseries   1. Killer…

Hi there! We're Chris and Stephanie.


We created The Documentary Life for you, #Doclifer, because after almost 30 years of commercial, narrative feature film and documentary work, we want to help and support other filmmakers just like you in making the documentary films that you want (and need) to make.

We lead documentary lives and our goal is to help other filmmakers lead theirs through our podcast and Academy.