Top Resources For Documentary Filmmakers
Making a documentary film can be an exciting, ambitious and daunting prospect. There will be times when you need guidance, resources and motivation to see your film through to fruition. And that’s what you’ll find here.
Note: The Documentary Life team have curated this list of resources to help support and assist you through the filmmaking process. These are resources we have either created or used ourselves or researched extensively to ensure they will benefit our #DocLifer community. We will be constantly updating this list and seeking discounts for our community, wherever we can. Some of the links are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase or use a service. However, we would never promote any product or service we did not believe in 100%. You have our word on that.
Learn how to plan, fund and share your film
#DocLand – The Documentary Life‘s very own flagship filmmaking community which offers you step-by-step tutorials, industry expert webinars, private Facebook group, industry-standard templates and extensive resources, to assist you in the planning, funding and sharing of your documentary film.
Creative editing that goes way beyond basic editing theory
Inside the Edit – This highly specialised training program has been developed by a prime time editing team working at the very highest level of television. You will learn hundreds of structural, journalistic and creative techniques used in documentary and entertainment television, from the fundamentals to the highly advanced.
Visit Inside The Edit and use Promo Code: MYDOCLIFE for 25% off.
Listen to podcast episode #48: How to Become a Professional Editor w/ Inside the Edit’s, Paddy Bird .
Utilize forward-thinking and progressive revenue streams
BlackBox Global – With the help of BlackBox Global you are empowered to connect your footage with global markets, collaborate and share content, create the content you want to make and move into the realm of self entrepreneurship and the freedom to live your #DocLife on your own terms. Create a free account today. Listen to podcast episode #42: How Our Docs Can Make the World a Better Place & BlackBox Founder, Filmmaker, Pat McGowan
Books we recommend to help support your filmmaking goals
Directing the Documentary by Michael Rabiger
A comprehensive manual that has inspired over 100,000 readers worldwide. Everything you need technically and conceptually is here. Filled with practical advice on every stage of production, this is the book you will return to throughout your career. This is one of our absolute favorite, must have documentary filmmaking books. Listen to podcast episode #60: ‘Directing the Documentary’ with Michael Rabiger
In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch
In the Blink of an Eye is editor Walter Murch’s essay of film editing. It discusses the esthetics and practical concerns of cutting a film and insights on continuity and discontinuity in editing and much more.
The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing by Michael Ondaatje
Rare and intimate glimpse into the worlds of two accomplished artists who share a great passion for film and storytelling, and whose knowledge and love of the crafts of writing and film shine through.
Shaking the Money Tree by Morrie Warshawski
Morrie is the guru of documentary film funding. His foundations-based approach to getting your mission statement, your core values, and your vision statement are the keys to your film funding success. This book completely demystifies the art of fundraising for independent film and video projects for students, emerging, and seasoned media makers. Listen to podcast episode #15: Conversation with Author, Film Funding Consultant Morrie Warshawski
This book completely demystifies this useful and flexible method of garnering donations from individuals for a wide variety of nonprofit programs – from community education programs to capital campaigns to individual arts project – and with every type of donor in both grassroots and wealthy settings. We are arranging with Morrie to come back onto the podcast to talk about this fundraising option in more detail, so stay tuned!
The Art of Film Funding by Carole Lee Dean
A true film funding bible, this book is perfect for documentary filmmakers looking for funding via grants, individual investments/donations, crowdfunding, and distribution through streaming video. It is a comprehensive book covering both established financing and new online financing. A must read for any doc filmmaker! Listen to podcast episode #69: The Art of Film Funding w/ Carole Lee Dean
Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign by John Trigonis
Crowdfunding for Filmmakers offers practical information, tips, and tactics for launching a successful film campaign by detailing traditional models of fundraising, utilizing today’s technological and social innovations, and augmenting each step with an added personal touch. We utilized this book extensively when we ran our, thankfully, successful Kickstarter campaign for our film Elvis of Cambodia.
Additional resources to help support your filmmaking goals
Free Music Archive – An interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads. Every MP3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era.
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