8 Common Mistakes People Make in a Documentary and How to Avoid Them

  |   Dec 06 2016   |   Posted in: Informational Video


8 Common Mistakes People Make in a Documentary and How to Avoid Them

Do you have a passion for a particular topic or story? Creating a documentary is the perfect way to share this with an audience, and what an exciting experience this would be for you! If this is your first documentary, you can make some rookie mistakes. The following tips will help you avoid those mistakes.

1. Lack of Planning

Who is your target? Where will the shoot take place? Create an outline of the questions you want to answer in your documentary. Create a timeline and try to stick to it. If you’re using testimonials or live subjects, get release forms signed.

2. Financing

This will cost you some money. If you don’t have someone to back you financially, then do not start filming until you have all the money you need. If you’re truly passionate about this story, then wash dishes, park cars, mow lawns, anything necessary to fund this venture. If its worth doing, it’s worth doing it right!

3. Bad Music

Do not choose cheesy tunes for your documentary! A catchy song or something classic that does not detract from the content of your story is your goal. Bad music can literally kill your film.

4. Emotion

How do you want your audience to feel? Sad, happy, moved, informed? Keep that emotion in mind when filming.

5. Making a Trailer

A decent trailer can be so useful. Even if your film is not complete, a good trailer can be beneficial in raising funds, garnishing support and getting publicity. Feature this trailer on your social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. Get people excited!

6. Not Having a Story

Everyone loves a good story. Give them one! Don’t just throw together a collaboration of testimonials and bullet points. Engage the audience and keep them watching, that is the difference between a good documentary and a great documentary.

7. Clear Goal

Where do you want to take this documentary? Is it a Documentary Film to be seen on the big screen? Or on TV such as PBS or HBO?  Or maybe a Corporate Documentary to be used internally? Once you know this then you can format your film for that genre.

8. Making it Too Complicated

You should be able to sum up your documentary in one sentence. If it takes you longer than that to explain it, then you will lose your audience. Make it interesting yet keep it simple.

Want help making your own documentary? Click Here!

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