33 – 5 Ways to Make Your Documentary Film Standout + Conversation with Academy Award-Nominated Director, Scriptwriter Daniel Raim

Documentary Scriptwriting

One of the more over-looked aspects of making your documentary film is the scriptwriting process. If your intention is to just shoot, shoot, shoot, and then go through your footage and knock something up, you might be in for a long and painful ride.

Academy Award-nominated Director and Scriptwriter, Daniel Raim, has made a name for himself in the industry as one of the preeminent scriptwriters of the genre. Raim, who’s film Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story has just recently been released to much acclaim, has spent years researching storytelling and refining his documentary scriptwriting skills. And recently he has made the sum of his tireless exploration and scriptwriting experience available in the form of the Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass.

I sat down to talk with Raim about his new film – the capper in a trilogy about the unsung heroes of Hollywood – as well as the often overlooked importance of writing a screenplay for one’s documentary film, and how he went about putting together his programme for the Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass.


In Addition

And in the opening segment of our episode we take a look at 5 ways to make your documentary film standout. With the proliferation of cameras, and in turn filmmakers, that are out there – not to mention the increasing need for great content – it’s important to find unique ways that can set your film apart from the sea of others. This segment will help you do just that.



Related Resources

How would you like to have an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker take you step by step through the scriptwriting and storytelling process?

Instructor Daniel Raim, an Academy Award®-nominated Writer-Director, has created a trilogy of widely acclaimed documentaries including The Man on Lincoln’s Nose, Something’s Gonna Live and, his most recent work, Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story. In addition, Daniel is a trusted mentor to other filmmakers both in the editing room and classroom setting.

You may be interested in taking Daniel Raim’s Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass? For more details about the class.


Watch the trailer for Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story:



Top Resources


Learn how to plan, fund and share your documentary 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.

Visit #Docland to learn more.



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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. Faith on 07/28/2017 at 9:07 PM

    Thank you for sharing Daniel’s story. A delightful interview! The best part is hearing about his A-Z workflow for structuring a documentary. Specifically how to tell a chronological story without boring your audience! Sooooooo important! I’ve been working with Daniel for nearly a year now in the development of his Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass. He’s full of wisdom, heart and good humor. He’s a wonderful & insightful instructor (and filmmaker!) and I’m proud to have him teaching on Desktop Documentaries!

    • thedocu5 on 08/02/2017 at 7:55 PM

      Hi Faith,

      The part that really blew me away was the amount of time that the both of you put into the development of the Master Class. I actually had no idea until I’d interviewed him and then took a look at the ins and outs of the course myself. Very extensive. And very very impressive.

      As always, thanks for the kind words, Faith!! Love having you on the show!

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