The Top Five TDL Podcast Episodes – April ’18

At the end of each month we download the statistics from our podcast host which informs us of how many downloads of the show we’ve had for that month AND how many in totality for every episode of the show so far.

It’s pretty interesting stuff and we really enjoy looking back over previous episodes to see what has resonated with you #DocLifers the most.

This is not least because it gives us a more informed view of what you’re finding interesting and beneficial and potentially want more of!

We’re here to help to make your documentary filmmaking aspirations and goals a reality and as efficiently and authentically as possible, so it’s great to get insights into what you’re looking for.

Highest on our list of observations are the top 5 downloaded episodes of all time and we thought we’d share those with you too!


#5. Episode #40 – How to Shoot Great Looking B Roll & Documentary Filmmaking Couple, Jonathan Lacocque & Clara Lehmann

One of the often overlooked elements to a documentary filmmaker’s footage is their B-roll.

And the biggest reason that we have to make this assumption is the copious amounts of really really bad looking B-roll that is out there in the world.

In this episode we explored what works, and what doesn’t work, when it comes to shooting B-roll for your doc, including a list of tips that can make your B-roll be the best damn b-roll it can be!

Among other things, we took a look at the importance of a good tripod head & sticks, how to achieve quality exposition shots, incorporating B-roll as counterpoint to an interviewee’s dialogue and drone shots & dolly moves.


#4. Episode #33 – 5 Ways to Make Your Documentary Film Standout & Academy Award-Nominated Director, Scriptwriter Daniel Raim

Another 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 (we know this from experience).

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.

In this episode he shares some tips, tricks and advice that us doc filmmakers can apply.


#3. Episode #46 – 5 Ways to Edit More Efficiently & Documentary Filmmaker, C. Fitz

Editing your documentary can be a tricky, sometimes frustrating business, even for the more seasoned veterans.  But for the less experienced, the edit can just be a downright intimidating, or worse, even project-ending phase.

We, of course, do not want this to happen to any of you.

So for the opening salvo of this week’s episode, we put together a list of suggestions that will not only help ease your editing pain, but it should get you to be able to edit in a more efficient manner!

We also spoke with television & marketing vet, commercial and documentary filmmaker, C. Fitz, who while finishing up on her first doc (ShowGirls, Provincetown, MA), came across instant inspiration for her latest documentary, Jewel’s Catch One, in the form of her awe-inspiring and charismatic subject, Jewel Thais-Williams.

We discuss if documentary films truly create change, how our documentary subjects sometimes inspire us as people, how C.Fitz reality tv experience informed her documentary work and how social media is now critical to a documentary filmmaker.


#2. Episode #44 – How to Be a One Person Crew & Filmmaker and Co-founder of Kartemquin Films, Gordon Quinn

Gordon Quinn has been making documentary films for over 50+ years with his landmark company, Kartemquin Films.

You may not know his name, but you’ve most likely seen one, if not a number of the films that he has been associated with.

His impact has been so extensive and so broad in the field of documentary, that International Documentary Association (IDA) gave him the Career Achievement Award in 2015.

We had the distinct pleasure of holding a conversation with Mr. Quinn where, among other things,  we discussed how the Oscar-nominated Hoop Dreams influenced a generation of doc filmmakers and film goers, how the executive producer role for docs is vastly different than with narrative features and whether or not documentary can truly make positive social change


#1. Episode #25 – Ten Hot Tips for Shooting Your Documentary Interview

This episode was one of the earlier ones in the TDL lifespan, back in the days when we only put out two shows per month, and it’s the most popular episode of The Documentary Life podcast so far!

In it we discuss the interview, which is the cornerstone of the documentary film.

Mastering the conducting of the interview is not something to be taken lightly.  It is an art form unto itself.  But sadly, many take this age-old journalistic practice for granted.  And because of it, risk unusable content for their film or worse, yet, maybe even alienating their interviewee!

Conducting a proper interview will give you thoughtful, insightful, and/or provocative sound bytes in which to cut your documentary film and who doesn’t those!


We hope you’ve enjoyed taking a look behind-the-scenes into what you #DocLifers are enjoying most from The Documentary Life podcast.

Do you agree with this list or do you have an episode of your own you prefer? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Seriously, we’re super intrigued to know your thoughts, so please don’t be shy to share.


Producer and Content Creator, Stephanie Vincenti

Stephanie has worked in the narrative and documentary feature film industry for over 12 years. She is also a producer and content creator for The Documentary Life.

Leave a Comment