You Chose The Wrong Documentary Topic If…

As any filmmaker knows, sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to make a film that is compelling enough for the viewer to want to pay the $9+ for a movie ticket to go see it and/or to invest their time to watch your film. In addition to this, it’s even more difficult to choose a topic that does just that and is interesting and motivating to you, the filmmaker. Here are two major internal indicators I believe are evident when you choose to cover the wrong documentary topic as a filmmaker.

You Chose The Wrong Documentary Topic If…

If you’re not at all PASSIONATE about you’re topic…

If you’re not passionate about any video project, it’s not going to be nearly as good as a project you are passionate about. However, with a documentary, this is especially important because if the information being presented in a documentary isn’t continuously engaging the viewer, you’ll lose their attention rather quickly. If you choose to pursue and expound on a topic that doesn’t interest you,  you’re not going to put nearly as much time, effort, and overall care into the project. The passion you have for a project is what drives it and motivates you throughout the entire movie-making process.

In the film industry, you may even be presented with an opportunity to work on a documentary style film that you’re not passionate about. But hey, the creator is passionate about it and it’s a great opportunity for you to build experience, earn some extra cash, and continue doing what you love. While you may not necessarily be passionate about the topic, you can ignite a passion within yourself by digging deep and remembering what part of the industry you are passionate about and let that passion overflow into every project you’re a part of because when it comes down to it, that’s what filmmakers do. We give our projects our all.

If you’re not even slightly terrified you won’t do it justice…

This goes back to being passionate about your project. I know I’m truly passionate about a project when I get an overwhelming mixture of excitement and nervousness because I’m excited about the project’s potential but at the same time, I’m terrified that I won’t do it justice. It’s also the motivating factor behind spending hours upon hours behind the computer screen trying to perfect that one introductory shot, making sure the scrolling credits are just the right speed, and ensuring that every shot of b-roll is placed appropriately according to what is being spoken. When something means so much to you, you’re going to invest your time and effort into it in order to make it the best overall project possible. So, find something you’re passionate about and cover it! Combining your passions makes for great material.


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Here are a few popular documentaries I’ve enjoyed watching:


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