Episode 125

Published on:

6th Mar 2020

Fire in Paradise with Drea Cooper

One of the most compelling, intense, and well done documentaries that I saw in all of 2019 wasn't even a feature length film. In fact, its run time was only 39 minutes.

But it was 39 mins of riveting documentary that was financed and distributed by Netflix, and it came from ZCDC's Zachary Canepari and Drea Cooper. And Cooper sat down to discuss with us, among other things, what it was like working on this incredible. film.

And speaking of run time, in our opening segment, I discuss how to decide what the proper length for your doc films might be. And how, in fact, we may be doing a disservice to our stories, by trying to adhere to a set of arbitrary time lengths.

Topics Discussed

  • how Cooper & Canepari came to the decision to make this a 39 min film
  • how Netflix fully supported their film change of plans to pivot to this story
  • how & why the usage of people’s phone footage became a powerful storytelling device
  • Drea Cooper’s recommendsfor covering a catastrophic event on film


Additional Resources

Trailer for Fire in Paradise



Trailer for Netflix's Flint Town



And if you haven't already done so, you can LISTEN to our episode that we did with ZCDC's producer, Gary Kout!

Sponsors & Thank Yous


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Music Vine

Thank you to music licensing platform, Music Vine for contributing the wonderful music that we’ve used in this week’s episode.

We’ve used many music licensing platforms over the years for commercials, corporate videos, and documentaries and these guys are definitely different.

Their music catalogue is truly fresh, diverse, full of character, their search engine is as straight forward and user friendly and their licensing fees? Unlike anywhere else we have come across.

If you need any music for your doc project, we can honestly recommend Music Vine.

And make sure to use our promo code to get an additional 15 percent off of any subscription!!

PROMO CODE: doclife15



° Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to Free Music Archive today!



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About the Podcast

The Documentary Life
Documentary filmmaker & host, Chris G. Parkhurst, inspires & informs you on how to best live and lead your own doc life.
Have a passion for making documentary films? Want to learn how to best lead a documentary life? Join award-winning commercial and documentary filmmaker, Chris G. Parkhurst, and special industry guests as they candidly share their filmmaking stories, insights, and experiences, for all to learn how to best lead and live their own documentary dream lives.

About your host

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Christopher Parkhurst