Steering Through the Roadblocks of Documentary Making


Challenges a documentary filmmaking face  ranging from disagreements with subjects to managing lawsuits. The tips below will be able to provide some awareness into the development of your documentary and handling the struggles along the way. There will be numerous complications and unexpected difficulties throughout the process with no effortless resolutions.


Determination and patience are essential. Persevere and do not give up pursuit if important footage which is vital is needed to capture your artistic vision perfectly. Persuasion and patience can go a long way to help attain the most important scenes that are needed.

Sustain the trust of your subjects.  Never give a false perception or agenda to secure an interview and be careful of the relationships you build.

Have a legally written agreement so that dividing future generated profits or losing your subjects to unavoidable reasons during filming will prevent further conflicts.

There will certainly be intervention from the government particularly if the topic is controversial. Always be prepared, strategize cautiously and know when to restrain and put your subjects under any risk. Frequently change the tapes used for filming to avoid the risk of confiscated footage.

In the event that your subjects are friends or relatives; they must be handled without prejudice. Don’t show preference and only depict favourably as it will be a detriment to the vision and quality of end results.

That being said; don’t put your creation before family. Find a way through the pressure and stress between your role as a filmmaker and your personal roles and balance them well.

Don’t dominate a narrative. If someone else is already doing the same thing; collaborate and cooperate to avoid disputes for subjects or information.

Hopefully the variety of advice above will help aspiring documentary filmmakers to produce something of value and significance with ease.


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