Corporate AVs and Documentary Films

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How To Choose The Best Documentary Film Maker For Your Film Project

Choosing the best documentary film maker for your project can be a nightmare. This is especially true for companies and clients who are not used to the drill, going through the turbulent process of creating a documentary film. Agencies are better versed with this process, and most creative directors in agencies of repute make sure they give ample thought to each of the below mentioned bullets. In many cases it might only be structured a little differently. There are hundreds of documentary film makers out there, each one with their own style, their own areas of expertise and their own artistic voice. Every project is unique and has its own set of challenges.

There are a bunch of parameters that can only be defined by the project owner. It is important that you not only realistically evaluate each of the following, but also define your own

Budget Constraints: Film-makers come in all shapes and sizes. Some would have dozens of years of experience under their belt, and there would be amateurs trying to make their way in to the trade with a creative eye that just suits your project right. Before you set out to zero on the one who is best capable of delivering your project, you would need to set a cap on how much you can spend. There’s no point in hiring the most expensive film-maker whom you can afford only for a few days, while your film demands for a filming schedule that is much longer. Here’s a film that was fun to shoot, while being extremely modest on budgets. You can know more about this documentary film by reading this blog post.

Timelines: Timelines are often governed by the brief at hand, and also with the kind of budgets you have. Timelines have huge repercussions on the creative process. Every additional day would mean more content for your film, but every additional shooting day would mean additional expenses not only in terms of the film-makers fees but also in accommodation, food and travel expenses of the entire crew.

Creative Guidelines: This is important. There are two ways of going about a documentary film project. You can either give an overarching brief to a film maker you trust or you can give a much more pointed brief if you completely understand your motive of commissioning the film. In most cases the execution and creative freedom should be left to the film-maker.


Things to look for in a film-maker from your shortlist:

Familiarity With The Terrain/Subject Matter: This is possibly one of the most important factors and I can not emphasise it enough. It is of utmost importance that the film maker is familiar with what he is going to encounter. Documentary Film-Making is a fluid art and requires a ton of improvisation at every stage. It is critical that the the film-maker understands the people, their cultures, the location and preferably their behaviour to take decisions on-the-fly to do justice to the project.

Proven Track Record: Proven track record almost always comes with a price tag. Most film-makers who have proved themselves as masters of their crafts in numerous project will command a premium over those who are trying to hone the craft.

Core Team: Film making is a collaborative art. every established film maker has his own set of favourite location managers, editors, colour grading artists and other backend crew they implicitly trust. It is important to understand what value the film maker brings in with all the relationships that he has fostered over the years. They might just help you take your film project to a very different level altogether.

I hope this article did give you some pointers in your pursuit to finding the best documentary film maker for your project. I wish you all the best with that !

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