Starting out as a filmmaker…What project to do first?

An excerpt  from

Documentary and Event Shooting. These two are linked, as you can film a documentary about an event.

What I love about Event Shooting and documentary film making is it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about your talent showing up, it’s an event….people are going to be there. You ask if you can interview people (and have them sign a release) or put up a sign that says DOCUMENTARY FILMING IN PROGRESS and you are golden. You need a camera and yourself, and that’s it if that’s all you have. You can add a voice over the event later, and add in the story as you get your shots.

90Now you can do this with anything, a dance studio, a personal interest story, or on a general topic where you are hunting for  shots so you can add your voice over. This is a great deal easier than Narrative filmmaking and is something you’ll find you love to do.  When narrative filmmaking you have the job of producer, you need to get all your gear, secure your shooting locations, you need to feed your crew, and manage your team even if it’s just you and your talent. This is made a great deal easier with a budget, and paid talent and crew. However when you are working with volunteers, planning and per-production is paramount. And you can easily loose your passion in the logistics.

Event shooting/Documentary shooting can be shot in an afternoon depending on the length and scope of your piece. But you can create a documentary with minimal crew and minimal planning. You need to be at the event, you need to film the event, you may need to shoot some interviews, and do some voice over.  So not to say this isn’t an in-depth project to undertake. You are still free of the stress and problems you need to overcome with narrative filmmaking.

Documentaries are Famous For:

  • Small Crews
  • Being Cheap To Produce
  • Being Educational
  • Easy Editing
  • Captivatingly Fun To Watch

What You Need To Get Started:

  • A Video Camera (Any)
  • Way To Good Capture Sound
  • An Event Or Topic

And that’s it. When you are first getting started you want to make a lot of mistakes. Get to know your equipment, see when you recorded without sound, see when your record button got hit(turned off) in the mash pit while you trying to record your friends band! Get to know your gear, and get to know the million little things you need to watch out for when you shooting a film. Regardless, you will be amazed how easy it is to get out there are shoot some projects. This will make you a great filmmaker, and is the best route to go when you are starting out. The best weapon of choice, is don’t be shy. Get out there and find some people and stories to tell your documentary through. If you are going blank on topic, just find some events.And shoot the event, talk to the people, get there opinions, they are already there and are very receptive to share there thoughts on camera. Just don’t forget to get a release!

About the author


Forte Film was born out of the passion to bring the necessary change to African film making. We Blog about gears, films, filmmakers & keep the African Film maker updated.

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