Apparently I’m a film maker now

I found these really good articles about tips when you are making a documentary, so here’s all I’ve learnt.

Michael Moore’s 13 Rules for Making Documentary Films

  • The first rule of making documentaries is apparently to stop calling it a documentary, you are a film maker, so from now on I’m a film maker and this is my film, I am not making a documentary, but a movie.
  • You should also try to make it entertaining a docu… *hmph* a movie isn’t supposed to just be an hour long lecture, the audience has to actually like it, they have to be entertained.
  • Make it funny! This kind of goes in the entertaining part, but it’s quite important so i’m giving it a point in itself. You should try to make it funny, laughable, people like that and they will still understand your message. I’m pretty sure I will do this, by trying to make myself a bit funny, not sure if I’ll actually succeed, but we’ll see.
  • Don’t tell them stuff that’s obvious
  • Don’t make it normal or boring, try a different approach
  • Make it personal – Use yourself. You don’t need to stand in front of the camera if you don’t like that, but at least narrative it, don’t just show some text on the card, tell them!
  • Be unpredictable, don’t go safe! Who care if you get sued ( Sorry, I will try very hard to avoid getting sued) make people be surprised, even if it’s negative.
  • This is really important so I’m going to write it down for the second time, and include a quote from the article “They want the truth AND they want to be entertained. Yes, repeat after me, they want to be entertained!”
  • Audio is really important! No one cares if one of the scenes are a bit out of focus or the camera was a bit to much on one of the sides, but if the sounds is bad there will be a riot. Make sure the audio is great!
Hot Docs: 9 Tips On How To Make Your First Documentary

  • It’s okey to think you suck – You’ll learn from it, this is very very true, if I do something I care about I usually go really out of my way to get myself out of my comfort zone, and it’s absolutely horrible, it’s the worst, but that’s how I will learn how to do stuff, sometimes fear works better than treats.
  • You should get feedback, but still be clear on your own vision. Be open, but don’t let anyone change your whole film just because they like their idea better.
  • Don’t fiddle to much, don’t make loads of storyboards and stuff, just film.
Honest Truths: Documentary Filmmakers on Ethical Challenges in Their Work

I can’t really write that I’ve learnt like specifically here because it was quite long and “boring” and I ended up not actually reading the whole thing, BUT I read the conclusion part. In short they said: It’s difficult being a filmmaker – People should make it easier for filmmakers to become filmmakers.

 “The ethical conflicts they face loom large precisely because nonfiction filmmakers believe that they carry large responsibilities. “

Interviewing when you make a film ( documentary hah I said it)

  • Write down what you want to ask, but not loads, 5-10 questions is enough
  • Be spontaneous, if it feels right, just don’t ask the questions you have prepared.
  • Get them comfortable
  • Don’t give them your questions in advance, it will feel rehearsed when they answer.
  • Get them to repeat the question
  • Let the camera roll after you say that the interview is over, this will make the person loosen up and you might get really good quotes and reactions.


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