June 18, 2017 at 6:50AM


I've completed a documentary short. What do I do now?

Myself and two friends have completed a short doc about an often overlooked British minority group. In all likelihood we've gone about it completely the wrong way...we had a chat in a pub, we did some research and then just started shooting things because we got all excited about the idea. We met more people in more pubs and interviewed them. We shot more, thought more and eventually...I've done an edit of a short, around 15 minutes.

My day job is corporate, events, online promo work etc and some music videos where possible. I can't help but feel like I've no idea what to do with the thing now that it's done (is it done?!?!? I don't know). I've worked as a cinematographer on a couple of other short docs, but those were ultimately driven by someone else.

The subject matter is worthy, and relates to modern economic problems, the dreaded Brexit included. It is also surprising to many British people and not widely covered. So we don't want it to fall into obscurity. I'm learning about festivals *as* I submit to them, I'm falling deeper and deeper into confusion about how to market it, distribute it and get eyes on it. I'm also wondering if I should enlist help in this regard, time is at a premium as I have to earn the rent money and it keeps falling off my to-do list.

To re-iterate...I feel like we've really gone about this the wrong way, but I don't want it to die just because of my inexperience. I like making art, not doing the paperwork. Though it's more and more evident that the paperwork simply has to be done.

Basically if ANYONE of any experience level (but some experienced voices would be great) wants to chime in and help with any advice whatsoever. I would be very grateful.


I'm not really sure why you feel like you've gone about this in the wrong way, it sounds like you've done it all right. You had an interest, you thought about it and researched it, then you got out your camera and put it all on video. Those are all the major steps. Sure, you could have had your subjects sign releases, or the pubs sign off on your filming there...but that you generally learn as you deal with entering into festivals or attaining distribution deals.

I think you're probably some distance from that, and the best advice I could give you at this point is to use the internet as your training ground. Post it on vimeo, get eyes on it. If it's any good, you'll know. If it's not, people will tell you why. Comment sections are very active both here and on Vimeo, you'll get plenty of feedback.

Then, make the next one. Change things up, bump up your production value as you grow, most importantly focus on that story. Tighten it up, do it again. And again. Post it all online as you go, and eventually you'll get good enough that festivals will be looking for you and not the other way around.

June 20, 2017 at 10:56AM

You voted '+1'.
matthew david wilder

You say subject matter, I hear 'audience'. Festivals is one thing. But if you want eyes on it, aren't there facebook groups, community groups, etc you can reach out to that might like to show their communities your video? Are you purposely not making it public b/c of festivals? Maybe you can do a 1 minute trailer?

June 20, 2017 at 11:07AM, Edited June 20, 11:07AM

Producer/Writer/Director/Prop Maker

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