Celebrated director Tom Austin -he picked up the audience award (and joint bursary filmmakers award) for his film La Legende~Dali at Two Short Nights, plus plenty of plaudits for his Man-Cub -attended the View from Here film festival Documentary Strategies day for filmmakers to develop their documentary idea into one which would find funding. Over to you Tom…
Another excellent View from Here film festival drew to a close yesterday with an outstanding one-day workshop.
I was fortunate enough to be a participant at Documentary Strategies -where six lucky individuals were given the chance to develop their documentary ideas and work on their pitching skills.
Guided by two highly competent tutors â€“ Mick Catmull (from BBC South West and founder of A38 Films) and Jerry Rothwell (from Met Film Production and director of Deep Water and Heavy Load) -the morning session involved invaluable personal insights and tips from the professionals. They were keen to share clips from their past and present projects with us and answer our questions on issues such as funding, financing and budgeting.
I was blissfully unaware that documentary filmmakers seem to have to jump through even more hoops than their fiction filmmaking cousins. Raising money can be a slow and laborious process, sometimes taking two to three years. No difference there then. But Jerry saw this as an advantage, as it allowed the story time to breathe and develop.
Before you even think about pitching your idea to a TV network or production company, you need to have a trailer, which should be a perfectly formed mini version of what your finished product will look like.
The morning session ended with our first attempts at pitching to the rest of the room. In the afternoon we worked in smaller groups to hone and polish these ideas before pitching them a second time.
There was a marked improvement in everyone’s pitching skills and people seemed to have got much closer to identifying what their stories were really about.
So the Magnificent Six left the room, feeling empowered and fired up. Hopefully the South West will be hit by a wave of hot and challenging documentaries over the next few years.
â€¢ Got a film in development? Let us know how it’s going. Comments below, please.
(image: a still from Tom Austin’s La Legende~Dali)