Maiden and Archival Storytelling with Alex Holmes

Ever wonder what it might be like to discover a treasure trove of archival footage that lay untouched for over thirty years for your documentary film? That’s exactly what happened for veteran BBC and multi-award winning filmmaker, Alex Holmes on his latest film, Maiden, a documentary about 26 year old Tracy Edwards who set out to skipper the first-ever female crew during the Whitbread Round the World Race, a race that spans 33k miles and lasts for nine months.


Topics Discussed

  • how finding this boat load of archival footage allowed Alex Holmes to tell his doc in an exciting narrative, nearly real-time fashion
  • Alex Holmes gives his four elements for funding for documentaries
  • details the search for archival, how to edit with it for free, and license afterwards
  • how all doc filmmakers actually experience imposter syndrome
  • how the first step in leading a documentary life is the hardest and most essential step


Additional Resources

Trailer for Maiden

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.

Cambodian Singer, Sinn Sethsochhata

In Part Eight, Chris, discusses one of his final and most difficult of interviews with the granddaughter of famous Cambodian singer, Sinn Sisamouth. This segment takes a look at not only how important the interview is for the doc filmmaker, but how often, important relationships are built during with our subjects during these interviews.


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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Rate and Review

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Host and TDL Founder, Chris G Parkhurst

Chris is a documentary filmmaker and the founder and host of The Documentary Life, a platform which aims to inform and inspire documentary filmmakers from around the globe.


  1. Robert on 07/10/2019 at 5:30 PM

    Hi Chris, great episode man. Can you please talk more about imposter syndrome and what do you think about doing all your interviews for your doc on Skype? I want to try that.
    Thank you.

    • Chris G Parkhurst on 07/11/2019 at 2:51 PM

      Hi Robert,

      Glad that you liked the episode. Yes, this Imposter Syndrome thing has really resonated with a lot of #doclifers. And with good reason. As doc filmmaker, Alex Holmes, stated in the program, it is something that probably 99 percent of us experience at one time or another (if not on a regular basis!). That’s why we dedicated a tutorial to Imposter Syndrome within one of the modules in our doc filmmaking courses platform, Independent Filmmaker 101. And we love your suggestion for more content on this subject. Stay tuned!

      Also, the idea of doing all interviews via Skype is an intriguing, if not appropriate one, these days. Would you be recording audio and video via your computer? Or did you mean conducting the interview remotely? In other words, a camera and sound person would be present with an interviewee, while you, the interviewer were somewhere else asking the questions via Skype.

      In the doc film, Be Natural, filmmaker Pamela B. Green can be seen having calls via Skype in the film. It was literally a part of the aesthetic.

      So how were you thinking of using Skype for your doc?


      • Robert on 07/11/2019 at 5:27 PM

        Thanks for responding Chris. I was thinking since the majority of people who I want to interview live far from me I could interview them from Skype and it would be easier and cheaper, the first interview did not sound bad when I recorded it on Skype, but I don’t know how the audience will react and think it feels cheap. What do you think? Also when you made your doc, was there a time when you interviewed someone about a controversial topic which you supported and then he told you the truth and you didn’t feel the same way and lost your motivation to make the film?
        Thank you.

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