Career Doc Filmmaker + 2018 Academy Award Nominee, Steve James

So what exactly does one say to one of the most respected documentary filmmakers of our time?

What does one say to the man who literally inspired countless future doc filmmakers when his film Hoop Dreams took the world by storm in 1994?

What do you say to the man who has made a career out of telling some of the most human, humane, and heart wrenching stories about some of the neglected and forgotten and misunderstood amongst us?

And what do you say to the man who was just nominated for a 2018 Best Documentary Oscar for his film Abacus: Small Enough to Jail?


Well, I suppose that’s why you’ve tuned in to this very special episode of The Documentary Life, an episode where we sit down for a heart-to-heart, one doc filmmaker to another conversation with documentary legend, Steve James.


Topics Discussed

  • keys to longevity as a doc filmmaker
  • the filmmaker’s responsibilities after being nominated for an Academy Award
  • how Steve started out working as a Production Assistant, and how he nearly quit
  • importance of being paid for your time in your grant proposal budgets
  • whether or not it’s necessary to build your story around a conflict


Related Resources

Watch for free: Abacus: Small Enough To Jail

Watch the Film Trailer:


Sponsors & Thank You’s

Episode #62 is brought to you with support from BlackBox Global, creators of one of the easiest way to turn your filmmaking skills into passive income!

Go to BlackBox, Create a Free Account, and start selling your footage today!



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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. Nikki Rose on 02/27/2018 at 9:21 PM

    Thank you – an excellent interview with two great filmmakers.

    • Chris on 02/27/2018 at 10:13 PM

      Thank you for the kind words, Nikki! How did you come by the podcast? And are you working on a doc project yourself?

  2. Rich Gedney on 03/01/2018 at 4:47 AM

    All heart Chris, All heart.This my friend is what makes The Documentary Life one of the best pod-casts on the net. Well done.

    • Chris on 03/01/2018 at 2:25 PM

      Rich, thank you for the lovely words and the continued support of our podcast. It means a lot to hear from a #doclifer yourself, who incidentally is creating some great content yourself!

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