For aspiring filmmakers, the documentary format is often overlooked. The perception of the glitz and glamour of the blockbuster might be tempting. Or perhaps you have a passion for the softly spoken indie dramas that reveal complex relationships and emotions. But the documentary film can be an unexplored goldmine for the young filmmaker. Read on to discover the unmissable reasons you should consider making documentaries.
You Are Surrounded By Great Stories
Finding a great story to tell can be a huge challenge in filmmaking. A strong script can be hard to source. Compelling characters, cinematic storylines, and great dialogue are all necessary. If you have no aspirations to become a writer yourself or a writer-director, then it can be easy to feel “stumped” without a good story. But here’s the good news: you are surrounded by great stories.
With a bit of research and a curious mind, you can discover some incredible stories right on your doorstep. Many people are inclined to consider their own town, surroundings, family or friendship groups to be ordinary or even dull. But this is rarely the case. Some wonderful stories of hardship and triumph, love and compassion, struggle and recovery can be uncovered with a little bit of extra effort. There are few things more exciting about a story on screen than finding out it is true. Ask around. You might be surprised what you hear.
They Can Be Cost-Effective
Many documentaries don’t require the special effects, stunts, or level of post-production that a fictional film can mandate. Telling genuine, real-life stories is often perfectly complemented by gritty, realistic filmmaking. This means that looking a tad rough around the edges need not be a bad thing. You can keep the costs down by emphasising the heart of the story and the people. Make it about substance, not just style.
They Are Festival Favourites
Entering your film or short film into festivals can be a great way to get noticed. You can reach a wide audience and there are often some amazing prizes that will boost your career. But festival acceptance is highly competitive. Lots of people have great stories to tell, but true stories in documentary format still have the capacity to be truly original and inspiring. They are a very popular festival feature.
They Can Spread A Great Message
People are more aware than ever of the effect that their choices have on the people and environment around them. Documentaries can inform, educate and inspire as well as entertain. Many documentary filmmakers have used their skills to raise awareness on an important issue or to inspire change. Dream big, and you can do the same.