Introduction to Documentary Film Production: From Pre-Production to Post

Taught by Lisa Vangellow

$199

On Demand Class - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Rating   | Read reviews

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32
apply

- or -

$199.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Who Should Attend:

  • Filmmakers interested in the nuts and bolts of documentary film production.
  • Anyone who has an idea for a documentary but are not sure where to start.
  • Filmmakers who have little to no experience making documentary films.
  • Anyone with experience in narrative film production but are interested in trying documentaries.

Satisfaction Rate:

Class hosted by: Lisa Vangellow

Director/Producer at Orchid Child Productions

Lisa Vangellow is a producer and director with a penchant for character driven features, documentaries, and television. She holds an MFA in Producing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and a B.S. in Marketing from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU. Lisa is currently in post-production on her documentary feature on the multi-faceted actor James Franco. Lisa was given unprecedented access to the enigmatic actor and traveled all over the world with him from 2013-2015. With over 200 hours of footage, she intends to deliver a compelling look inside the actor’s personal and professional life. In July 2014 Lisa was invited to be one of five filmmakers to participate in the Tribeca Film Institute Documentary StoryLab for the Franco Doc where she workshopped her project along with the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The Wolfpack and the 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Weiner. Lisa has previously produced the narrative feature film anthology, Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards starring Natalie Portman, Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Jimmy Kimmel, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblin, Thomas Mann, and Matthew Modine. It made its World Premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2015 and will be distributed in 2016. Lisa’s film and TV slate includes a variety of fiction and nonfiction projects. In the documentary space, Lisa is in various stages of production on four feature documentaries and one docu-series. Full Bio »

Over the course of 3 sessions, you will learn overall knowledge and guidance in the tools and skills needed to prepare yourself to make a commercially viable documentary.

Week 1:

Overview: The current documentary landscape

  • What makes a good documentary film? 

  • What makes a commercially viable documentary film? 

  • Discuss past films, which received critical acclaim and what made them popular.


Show clips from films: Jiro Dreams of Sushi, Grizzly Man
, Bowling for Columbine
, Searching for Sugar Man
, Mistaken for Strangers
, Man on a Wire, Blackfish,
 The King of Kong, Exit Through the Gift Shop
, Queen of Versailles
, Cutie and the Boxer 
 

Pre-Production 


  • Outline what needs to be discussed prior to beginning your film shoot.
  1. Approaching your subject or determining your story

  2. Find financing or grants (references)

  3. Hiring an attorney

  4. Hiring Crew

  5. Research Editors

  6. Plan for travel

  7. Research and decide on equipment

  8. Create a budget

Legal

Why do you need an attorney?

  • Contracts 

  • Insurance (GL, Workman’s Comp, E & O) 

  • Appearance releases, location releases, notice of filming posts 

  • NDA's and crew contracts 

  • Licensing (show clips of various docs and explains how much it costs.) 
Music, movie, and archival film licensing process and cost.

Fair use

  • What is it and when is it appropriate to claim fair use? What is the risk?

 Interactive Q&A


Week 2:


Documentary Styles/Creating the Story

  • Verite 

  • Interview/archival 

  • Creating the narrative 


Securing Interviews: 


  • How to develop a rapport with your subject and gain trust.

  • Types of questions to ask.

  • How to secure interviews with people outside of your subject for the film.
  • How to deal with high profile interviews. 
 

Morals and Ethics 


Interactive Q&A


Week 3:


Editing/ Post Production


  • What editor is the best for your film style?

  • How long does it take and how much should you budget?

  • The editor is the most expensive but most important person to hire (besides a DP).
  • How to collaborate with an editor to create the story you want to tell.

  • How to deal with obstacles with your editor. 


Approaching obstacles and creating a timeline 


  • What is the purpose of your film?

  • Where will you show it?

  • Create a timeline from start to finish accounting for editing.
  • How to deal with various obstacles that arise during the process. 

  • Discuss examples: legal, money, lack of participation from subject, scheduling issues, travel, safety, ethics. 


Post Production/Deliverables 


  • Sound Mix 


Discuss the need/cost for VFX and Animation 


  • Color Correcting

  • Music Composition/licensing
  • Deliverables 


Festival Strategies

  • Include festival application fees in budget

  • Strategies on what festival is best for your film and why

  • Other distribution platforms: Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Showtime, Hulu

Interactive Q&A


Summary:

Over the past decade, documentary filmmaking has quickly increased in popularity among audiences and filmmakers alike. Offering the ability to learn a diverse range of topics, to view another culture or become familiar with an unknown aspect of life, documentary films will continue to grow without bounds. If you have an idea for a documentary film but do not know where to start, you are in the right place. This intensive 3-session master class will go over the nuts and bolts of documentary film production.

Taught by producer/director Lisa Vangellow (currently working on a documentary film centered on actor James Franco) will share step by step instruction on how to produce a commercially viable documentary film from idea to post-production. Even if you have little to no experience or if you have narrative film experience and are looking to try documentaries, Lisa will guide you towards the goal of completing a documentary film. 

Lisa will offer her experience from the trenches to help filmmakers over the course of her 3-week class. First, she’ll focus on the selection of subject matter and how to gauge its commercial viability. Lisa will take you through pre-production for a documentary film hitting on areas such as how to create a budget, hire your crew, get financing and explaining why you may want a lawyer to handle the nitty gritty. From there you’ll get an overview of different documentary styles and insight on how to create your story through the use of specific examples. Finally, Lisa will explain how to survive the post-production of your film to bring the entire project together and discuss your options for distribution.

Filmmakers will leave with an overall understanding of the documentary filmmaking process, an idea of what makes a good documentary, and how to execute these lessons in the real world.


Schedule:

Session 1 

Overview

Pre-Production 


Legal

Fair use

 

Session 2 

Documentary Styles/Creating the Story

Securing Interviews: 


Morals and Ethics 
 

 

Session 3 

Editing/ Post Production


Approaching obstacles and creating a timeline 


Post Production/Deliverables 



Discuss the need/cost for VFX and Animation 


Festival Strategies

 


About Your Instructor:

Lisa Vangellow is a producer and director with a penchant for character driven features, documentaries, and television. She holds an MFA in Producing from UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television and a B.S. in Marketing from the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU.

Lisa is currently in post-production on her documentary feature on the multi-faceted actor James Franco. Lisa was given unprecedented access to the enigmatic actor and traveled all over the world with him from 2013-2015. With over 200 hours of footage, she intends to deliver a compelling look inside the actor’s personal and professional life.

In July 2014 Lisa was invited to be one of five filmmakers to participate in the Tribeca Film Institute Documentary StoryLab for the Franco Doc where she workshopped her project along with the 2015 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner The Wolfpack and the 2016 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner Weiner.

Lisa has previously produced the narrative feature film anthology, Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards starring Natalie Portman, Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Jimmy Kimmel, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblin, Thomas Mann, and Matthew Modine. It made its World Premiere at the Atlanta Film Festival in 2015 and will be distributed in 2016.

Lisa’s film and TV slate includes a variety of fiction and nonfiction projects. In the documentary space, Lisa is in various stages of production on four feature documentaries and one docu-series.


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the format of a class?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Classes are typically 2 to 4 week ongoing broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online class, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the class.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the class software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The class software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live class. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live class?
A: If you cannot attend a live class and purchase an On-Demand class, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the class afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand class, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • I enjoyed the class immensely. Very informative and Lisa was a very excellent teacher and she's very cute and nice too. I do have a request tho that you have slides available for all three classes not just the first one so I may print out all of the material. It's a lot to write by hand. Thanks.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

Breaking In As a Baby Boomer

As someone who has coached thousands of people, one of the biggest struggles I hear is, “Everyone is looking for the new young “It-Guy/Gal.” Yet, there are Baby Boomers working in the industry in all capacities. The good news if you’re a Boomer is, you have an advantage with young Hollywood that other older generations never had before. I will share that advantage with you and how to make it work for your career. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, students will learn how to create a relevant career in this “next generation” of young Hollywood. The webinar will identify and explain key strategies to circumvent ageism that historically have turned older generations off to pursuing their entertainment career. Students will receive “ageless” tips for making a first impression either in person, by phone or via email. I will also give marketing tips on how Boomers can market online (social media and websites) to stay current. Whether you’re a Baby Boomer who has been pursuing a career for some time, or you’re finally pursuing a long time dream, age is a factor, but it doesn’t have to work against you.

Understand Global Filmmaking: Hollywood & The Foreign Markets

Learn directly from Alex Franklin, Veteran Studio Executive for New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Lionsgate Films and Artisan Entertainment! In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host Alex Franklin will discuss the globalization of Hollywood and what filmmakers need to know about important countries and markets around the world to stay ahead of the game. You will learn which markets are becoming the top foreign markets (including China, Russia, India, Brazil and more), important statistics and international comparisons, how foreign audiences, industries, and governments are changing the Hollywood system, and what all of this means for your career. You will learn how globalization is changing the distribution, marketing, production and development processes, and you will leave with a clear understanding of how industry-wide changes resulting from globalization are impacting the job market for writers, producers and directors in the U.S. The growth of international markets continues to impact studio filmmaking decisions, and foreign markets like China dominate the entertainment news. Therefore it is critical that the next generation of Hollywood producers and filmmakers understand the ways in which globalization is reshaping the industry. Your host Alex Franklin is a veteran of the Hollywood studio system, having worked in development and production at New Line Cinema, Dimension Films, Lionsgate Films and Artisan Entertainment. As a Studio Executive, he was involved in the development and production of films including Halloween (directed by Rob Zombie), Saw, Saw 2, The Punisher, 1408 and Youth in Revolt. After leaving the world of studio development, Franklin co-founded Pangea Pictures, a visual effects company which was involved in the postproduction of films including A Perfect Getaway, Brothers and The Warrior's Way. Currently, Franklin is head of film and television at Partos Company, where he specializes in working with A-List cinematographers, production designers and costume designers.

Using Self-Publishing to Enhance Your Screenwriting Career

The new wave of indie publishing has taken the book industry by storm. Previously unknown and/or unpublished authors are making a living—sometimes a prosperous living--by writing. Traditionally published authors are also developing hybrid careers, where they write for their publishers as well as self-publish. Some successful indie authors are also catching the attention of traditional publishers, who are acquiring their books.  Screenwriters may struggle to find recognition for their work and make a living with their writing. Often screenwriters must have a “day” job in order to survive, which can leave little time and energy to pursue their dreams of success. Adapting screenplays into a books may produce extra income and recognition, as well as provide other benefits to a screenwriting career. In this Stage 32 Webinar, Debra Holland will discuss her journey from an unpublished author to a NY Times Bestselling author. In her six years of indie publishing, Debra has sold more than a million books and has made a six-figure income for the last five. She’ll introduce you to self-publishing, provide some tips for adapting your screenplays into books, cover basics to get you started in indie publishing, and help you consider whether self-publishing your screenplays as books might be conducive to your career as a screenwriter.

How to Finance Your Project with Equity Investors Using the Internet

Learn directly from Anne Marie Gillen, who has over 20 years of experience with independent film financing and has raised over $100M worldwide! Joining Anne Marie are 2 special guests: Gene Massey, CEO of MediaShares and an expert in marketing crowdfunded online stock offerings. Lou Bevilacqua who is the founding member of Bevilacqua PLLC, a boutique transactional corporate and securities law firm. He is also co-founder, President and General Counsel of Digital Offering LLC, a FINRA registered investment bank. There are approximately 9 million officially accredited investors in the United States alone - you can now legally solicit all of them to finance your project. This exclusive Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, How to Finance Your Project with Equity Investors Using the Internet will explain how. Recent legislation has created an opportunity for equity-based crowdfunding as a financing model for indie producers of film, documentaries, series, games, and other creative endeavors. Get INVESTMENTS in your film instead of just DONATIONS. This is NOT another Kickstarter / IndieGoGo webinar! Whether you are a veteran producer or a film student - you need financing! This is a webinar for all level filmmakers, given by experts in the new methods of online film finance, who will show how you can create a powerful online presentation and legally market your project to investors on the Internet. You will walk away with a clear understanding of the new SEC rules and regulations that allow you to raise equity funding online. You will learn from 3 of the industry's top financing and legal experts how to raise equity funding for your own project.   Testimonials About Anne Marie Gillen: "… Anne Marie's all-encompassing knowledge of the business is remarkable." ~ Jody M. "… In an industry known for hype and flash over substance, Anne Marie provides real-world, actionable steps to help the filmmaker with what is usually most elusive." ~ Anthony C. “In show business, everyone is in love with the show, but it’s the business of making significant money that turns on the big boys and girls inside the tent. Learn what they already know…” ~ Steve E.

Learn the Ropes Of Film Music Clearances

If you're a filmmaker, producer or any creative head looking to incorporate music into your film & television, advertising or media project, you'll need to understand the basics steps of how to secure the music rights for the music you desire to use. From well known hit songs from major recording artists, to indie bands to public domain to original compositions and cover songs of music hits, you will need to be armed with all the knowledge of clearing the rights to that music for your film or project in order for it to play at festivals, screen theatrically, stream on the internet or be released on DVD/VOD.  The memorable song placeholder you are in love with and want to use in your opening credits that you found online - is that song even able to be used and licensed within your budget if you screen your film theatrically? What type of rights will you need to exploit your project globally? Or, what about that jukebox song your editor tempted into the background during one of your bar scenes - is that okay to use? And for how much will the licensing fee be for the rights you need? Knowing all these details and nuances will inform you as to why you must prepare in well in advance and allow time for the music clearances, along with knowing the type of rights your project requires for the music needed. Stage 32 Next Level Education is excited to present Anna Grannucci, a Los Angeles-based film producer and music supervisor and Yale School of Drama graduate, with more than a decade of experience working on films such as WHIPLASH and STICKY NOTES for the jam-packed 90-minute Webinar Learn the Ropes of Film Music Clearances. You will learn a variety of valuable information starting with the types of other source music available for film, television, advertising, video games and every other digital media source, which also includes public domain music, royalty free, original composition, and score. You will learn how to gauge what songs are licensable or not for use in your film or project. Once you've chosen your music, you will learn music rights, the clearance process, the difference between festival, theatrical, DVD/VOD and advertising clearances and more!    You will walk away from this Webinar with a clearer understanding of your music planning and the understanding of the music clearance process you need in order to make your film's music soundtrack a success! And, who better to educate you than the Music Supervisor for both the WHIPLASH short and feature film who controls the music library associated with the film - we bring you only the best instructors at Stage 32!

OK, You Made Your Film, So Now What?

You've put in months, maybe years of effort planning, raising funds and shooting your film. You're incredibly proud of your efforts. Now all that remains is getting the film seen and returning some profits to your investors. But what's the best path? Should you enter festivals? Hire a sales agent? Go for theatrical distribution? Attempt to navigate the streaming and VOD platforms? In short, how do you know what's the best route for your film in 2017?   Deciding on how to monetize your project can be very complex. With so many options out there it’s sometimes hard to know what is important and what you can skip. This Stage 32 Next Level Webinar will be your one-stop crash course on how to navigate the marketplace! Your host Bradley Gallo, Chief Creative Officer at Amasia Entertainment (known for The Call, Fear, Inc., Mr. Right, Careful What You Wish For, and the award-winning indie The Road Within) will discuss what options are available for your project once it's complete and help you decide if VOD, theatrical, a festival circuit run or hybrid strategy is best for your film. After giving you the lowdown on options, Bradley will quickly discuss the benefits of each and provide you with a gameplan depending on the path you decide to pursue. Whether you’re selling the film yourself, looking for independent representatives to bring on board, or trying to get into a festival, it’s important to know the steps involved in selling a film, no matter your role in the filmmaking process. Indie films are getting produced and distributed every day! It’s time to learn how to take your film to the marketplace and show it to the world! Your host, Bradley has produced a wide variety of films independently, guided some through the festival markets and sold directly to distributors. He will share his knowledge and real-life experiences exclusively with the Stage 32 community! You will walk away with a sense of the marketplace of today including an overview of how to approach the festival circuit, who should/should not rep your film, how to deal with distributors, VOD vs theatrical and so much more!

register for stage 32 Register / Log In