74 – Archival Storytelling For Your Documentary with Tom Jennings

Through his production company, 1895 Films, Tom Jennings has become known for his fresh and inventive approach to using archival footage to tell a story. With both Peabody and Emmy Awards under his belt, there are few who have mastered the art of archival storytelling in the way that Tom has. After listening to this episode you will never think of found footage in the same way again!


Topics Discussed

  • how Tom’s print background lent directly to becoming a documentary filmmaker
  • how Tom and his company, 1895 Films, have transformed the way that filmmakers are now using archival footage
  • how through exclusively using archival to tell a story, one forces an audience to become an active viewer
  • how sourcing archival from local media sources can be a goldmine
  • best practices for contacting local media sources for use of archival materials


5 Tips for Sourcing Archival Materials

To get properly prepped for our conversation with Tom, I take us through 5 Tips for Sourcing Archival Materials. They are:


Related Resources

° In the episode, Tom mentioned a tv news show entitled You Are There, specifically he talks about the episode that dealt with the sinking of the titanic. This show served as inspiration for Tom, later on becoming a documentary filmmaker who would end up taking a very different approach.


° View the opening found footage that Tom talks about for The Lost Tapes: Challenger Disaster


° Read a really great article that was basically a case study of how The Lost Tapes: Challenger Disaster was made. This is very informative, highly recommend any doc filmmaker checking this article out!


° Tom Jennings 2012 Peabody Acceptance Speech


Sponsors & Thank Yous

° Episode #74 is brought to you by 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!


° 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 artist’s music by going to Free Music Archive 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.

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