Chris G Parkhurst here, the founder and host of The Documentary Life, an educational and inspiring podcast where, alongside conversations with industry experts and successful documentary filmmakers, I share knowledge, guidance and resources to help you live your #DocLife.
The Documentary Life podcast offers an informative breakdown of the components of documentary filmmaking to enable documentary filmmakers to make their own kick-ass films, change the world – while changing their own worlds – and help break down barriers in their own, and other people’s lives.
My journey to this podcast began because even though I’d spent many years working in the commercial and corporate video sectors, my mission, my habit, my one true love, was always documentary filmmaking.
And now my mission has evolved further. It is my intention with The Documentary Life resources, including podcast and blog, and alongside our flagship community, #DocLand, that we support all documentary filmmakers – old and new – to realize their filmmaking dreams, potential and goals.
#DocLand provides filmmakers with the tools, resources, connections, templates and step-by-step tutorials to plan, fund and share their documentary films.
How We Support Doc Filmmakers
As we move forward it is, of course, our intention through our production company Barang Films, to continue to make our own documentary films. We ourselves feel that we have only just begun on our documentary filmmaking journey.
However, our other main goal is to help support other documentary filmmakers in their endeavours with the best knowledge, guidance, support, tools, resources and community we can supply. We are fully committed to this.
Ways We Can Help
We currently have over 50 podcast episodes available covering a range of documentary filmmaking questions such as ‘How to Write Your Documentary Film Grant‘, ‘5 Advantages to Shooting Solo‘, Ten Hot Tips For Your Interviews‘, ‘How to Become a Professional Editor‘, ‘5 Ways to Make Your Documentary Film Stand Out‘ and many more.
This is a new addition to the TDL family but we intend to grow it fairly rapidly over the next 3 to 6 months with pertinent information on all areas documentary filmmaking. Expect interviews with industry experts and established doc filmmakers, guest blog posts and information ranging from idea to distribution.
We have curated a list of resources that we feel would be beneficial to all documentary filmmakers. We’ve even managed to snag you a few discounts along the way.
Through #Docland we provide you with the tools, resources, connections, templates and step-by-step tutorials to plan, fund and share your documentary film.
Not sure how to write and utilise a great synopsis or treatment for your film or how to research efficiently and effectively?
Perhaps you’re unsure of how to develop a mutually beneficial relationship with a fiscal sponsor or run a successful crowdfunding campaign?
Need help garnering grants or generating a strong pool of donors?
Are you wondering what kind of distribution platforms are available to you and your film project and how you can best utilise them?
We will walk you through effectively and successfully applying all of these components, and many more, to your film project. You will never feel stuck or unsure again.
A Little About Who We Are
We’re Chris G. Parkhurst and Stephanie Vincenti and we’re documentary filmmakers too!
We both come from backgrounds elsewhere in the media industry – Chris the commercial world and Stephanie from narrative feature film – but our passion lies in documentary film.
We actually met on a corporate job in Malaysia in 2011, fast forward two years and we were married, pregnant and had embarked on our first documentary film together.
My first documentary film was an eye opener and experience that changed my life forever. It involved living in Cambodia – somewhere I’d never been before – and filming people digging up & dismantling UXO, then selling on to the scrap metal trade. It was a long and treacherous shoot but something in me came alive. Truthfully, I had always envisioned that I’d be working in the feature film industry. But after that experience making a documentary in Cambodia, I knew then that I wanted to make documentary films for the rest of my life.
My first solo project was a film called Journey to Kathmandu shot entirely in Nepal. It follows the journey goats make to their sacrificial deaths during the festival of Dashain. It was challenging. I had triumphs, I certainly made mistakes, but I learned a lot.
One thing I did notice as I made my way through this new world was that unlike in commercial filmmaking endeavours it was much harder to infiltrate and connect with other doc filmmakers. I missed that energy and truthfully, that was probably one of the main reasons for me creating The Documentary Life. (That and my desire to get back in touch with my old college radio roots, which took place at WCVF in Fredonia, New York.)
Building The Documentary Life, and now #DocLand, has been a dream come true. I genuinely love helping other documentary filmmakers make their films and tell their stories. We’ve needed a strong, vibrant and supportive community of documentary filmmakers and now, thanks to you, we’re building one.
Hi #DocLifer, my name is Stephanie and I am Chris’ business partner, wife and better half. 😉
I have to say that my journey to documentary filmmaking was an unexpected one. I was, at the time we started our first doc, working between the UK and Southeast Asia, primarily Malaysia, on narrative feature films. I had been working in this industry for years and I loved it!
I had no intention to make the move to documentary filmmaking and then two things happened.
#1. Chris brought me in on a doc project he had developed. It was meant to be a two-week shoot in Cambodia. I was living in Malaysia, a short plane ride away, so thought ‘hey, why not?’. Well, why not, is that I got hooked! See, I hadn’t realised how addictive, exciting and empowering documentary filmmaking is. That project, Elvis of Cambodia changed a lot of things for me.
#2. We had children. And, whereas young children and narrative feature filmmaking don’t go so well together, documentary filmmaking and small children can still be a viable fit. Truthfully, since moving from narrative features to documentary filmmaking I’ve never felt more fulfilled or motivated in my work.
And now Chris’ mission, has also become my mission. To support aspiring and experienced documentary filmmakers in making the best, most informed and well-rounded documentary films and lead their greatest documentary lives.
We look forward to connecting with you, #DocLifer!
With warmth and well wishes,
~ Chris and Stephanie
Have a question, suggestion or just like to chat about documentary filmmaking? Please get in touch.