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Aug 23, 2016

Documentary Production 2.

by Abi Weaver

Conception to Distribution – A Production Guide

Production and Pitching Workshop

January 2017, London & Paris

Booking Code: DOC2

Every documentary film is unique. It has its own audience, its own scale, its own objectives. Objectives that are not only artistic and entertainment orientated but frequently linked to campaigns or social movements. In order to make any film effective in realising its ambitions a clear and integrated production strategy is vital.

Documentaries, in contrast to fiction films, have particular development and production issues. Documentary production lacks a clearly defined funding and distribution structure. Furthermore, the uses and objectives of documentary film are varied. Documentary production therefore requires creative strategies. There is no one-way of doing things. This workshop is designed to help you refine a strategy tailor-made for your films specific needs, whether you are producing a 10 minute short or a two hour epic, whether your budget is £50 or £50,000 the principles of coherent production apply.

Aims and Objectives

The workshop aims at enabling documentary filmmakers to create an integrated production strategy that is focused, manages expectations and optimises fundraising opportunities, audience share, distribution and sales. It offers an effective ‘route map’ to guide projects of any size through the myriad production strategies available.

It aims to prepare directors and producers to be in control of their project and avoid common oversights during production. To work with filmmakers to best pitch and present their project to funders, commissioning editors, the festival circuit and other platforms.

The workshop may also be attended by observers and audience members who are free to participate and contribute during the open sessions as well as observe the selected projects as they receive one-to-one expert advice.

Workshop Structure and Content

The workshop is designed to assist filmmakers (up to 3 members of a production team may take part in the workshop) in all aspects of promotion, funding and, exhibition of their film. As such it will bring together tutors who are experts in:

  • Funding
  • PR/Marketing
  • Commissioning/Acquisitions
  • Legals
  • Distribution
  • Festivals
  • Filmmakers who have already been through the process of autonomous production will also be on-hand to present their experience and assist those taking part in the workshop.
  • Each selected project will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas followed by intense one-on-one sessions with the various experts who will help analyse their pitch and provide specific guidance in the development of their production strategy.
  • Each project will move around the room from table to table benefiting from the individual expertise. Observers will also be present who can listen to the developing conversations and take notes.
  • Each project will be able to represent their project proposal int he afternoon. The workshop will conclude with an open discussion about each project providing further feedback and a response to what has been gleaned during the workshop.
  • Each participating filmmaker/s will receive a handbook and samples of relevant documents, from release forms to samples of Sales agreements and Licenses.
  • The day will aloo allow plenty of opportunity for informal discussion and networking.
  • All participating projects will also benefit from a post-workshop follow up w including the opportunity to promote their film on the LIDF website.

Topics will include: Treatments and synopses; funding strategies; how to pitch successfully, promotional material, contracts, trailers, PR, distribution, sales, festivals, TV, rights, legalities.

The Road Map

All projects will benefit from the Road Map drawn up by the workshop creators. The objective of the Road Map is to provide a clear and concise ‘map’ of the questions that a project should ask of itself at each stage of its development. The intention behind this is to utilise the experience of professional documentarians to help others avoid the pitfalls of lack of planning and clarity at each stages of the process. Not all elements will apply to each project, it is up to the projects developed to decide which elements are relevant to them and to tailor, with the help of the project tutors, a Road Map for their specific needs and expectations. Cut out waste, avoid surprises and future difficulties, help a project move forward feeling secure that it has the fundamentals in place at each stage of development.

How to Take Part

  • Participation in the one-day production and pitching workshop is competitive and by selection.
  • Space will also be provided for observers and audience members who are free to participate in the open sessions and observe the one-to-one advice sessions.
  • Every application will receive comments and feedback based upon the guidelines and principles to be used in the workshop itself (See the Application Form).
  • From these applications 10 projects will be selected. for inclusion in the all-day workshop.
  • Participants must have an idea or a story they wish to develop, of any scale or budget, and any subject matter.
  • Applicants must complete and return the Application Form before midnight 12th December 2016 (GMT).

When are the Workshops?

London: Saturday 21st January 2017

Paris: Saturday 28th January 2017

Who is it for?

Participants and observers can be directors and producers and anyone else keenly interested in documentary film production and looking for practical insights and development assistance.


Central London/Paris

Application, Tuition and Observer Tickets

  • Application and participation in the workshop can be for up to 3 people on a production team.
  • Observers will also be present at the workshop.
  • Stage 1. Application and Review: 30 Euro (includes personal review and feedback)
  • Stage 2. One-Day Workshop: 220 Euro (includes coffee and lunch and material handouts)
  • Observer Tickets: 40 Euro (includes coffee and lunch)
  • Overseas applicants who are selected for the One-Day will receive a travel bursary of 125 Euros.

Successful applicants will be informed via email by 14th December 2016. Full payment should be received by 16th December to confirm your participation. Payment details will be given to successful applicants upon notification of their place.

For queries please contact: [email protected]

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