Episode 106

Published on:

31st May 2019

Making a Documentary Series in China with Dominic Johnson-Hill

Entrepreneur, Dominic Johnson-Hill, has just spent the last year traveling China and presenting for the documentary series, Seasons of ChinaBut the journey to becoming one of China’s most recognizable tv presenters was a unique one, and certainly not without its challenges.

When Dominic Johnson-Hill traveled the world in the early 90s, China was just supposed to be a stop along the way. But then he ran out of money. So he learned the language, started a market research business, then Beijing’s first t-shirt brand, Plastered. Since then, Johnson-Hill, has become a celebrity in China and is now the host of the 24-episode documentary series, Seasons of China.

Topics Discussed

  • how the seeds of entrepreneurship were sown when Dominic Johnson-Hill went broke in the middle of Beijing
  • how often it is an artist or entrepreneur’s passion that can bring others onboard a project
  • what it was like for Dominic Johnson-Hill to spend a year out in the provinces of China, filming on the Seasons of China series
  • the filmmaker’s awareness of documenting parts of culture that may someday no longer exist
  • why it’s important for the doc filmmaker to find different ways in which to connect with their interview subjects and how they can best do so


Additional Seasons of China Resources

Episode one of, Seasons of China, the 24-episode series presented by Dominic Johnson-Hill


An interview with Seasons of Change presenter, Dominic Johnson-Hill


Chris in Cambodia Series

In Chris in Cambodia, TDL host and doc filmmaker, Chris G. Parkhurst shares some of his stories and lessons from his most recent trip filming in Cambodia, working on he and his wife, Steph’s, current documentary, Elvis of Cambodia.

In Part Six, Chris and Patrick travel to Siem Reap to film the first of three very important Sinn Sisamouth scenes. It is in Siem Reap, a town most noted for the famous temples of Angkor Wat, that Chris finds a local artist whom they can film depicting a Sinn Sisamouth song. And it is here, that they will first employ Chris’ carefully constructed plan to shoot the b-roll in a unique way that best tells the story of the scene.


Related Videos From the Set of Elvis of Cambodia

Behind the Scenes with Our Siem Reap Painter


Filming Sinn Sisamouth’s Champey Siem Reap


#Doclifer Stories

Where we share our listeners #doclives and filmmaking stories. This week’s #Doclifer Story, comes from Hasan Demirtas, who shares with us his journey to and through his first feature doc, You Name It, a film that explores three of the world’s prominent genocides.


Sponsors & Thank Yous

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

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

Want 20% off of your first music licensing purchase?  No licensing restrictions or number of tracks! Simply use promo code MYDOCLIFE at checkout!



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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