Edit the film.
We have all the pieces – now it’s time to put them all together!
Use a commercial editing program to assemble our footage into a coherent film on my computer. Remove everything that doesn’t logically fit into the theme of our film – for instance, I might remove the parts of my interviews that don’t directly deal with our film’s topic. Take my time during the editing process – allow myself plenty of time to get it just right. When I think I am done, sleep on it, then watch the entire film again and make any other edits I think are necessary.
- Make our film as lean as possible, but be the director to work with a reasonable and ethical editor. For instance, if, while filming, I encountered strong evidence that goes against our film’s viewpoint, it’s a little disingenuous to pretend it doesn’t exist. Instead, modify the message of our film or, better yet, find a new counter-argument!
Do a screening.
After I’ve edited the film, I’ll probably want to share it. After all, films were meant to be watched! Show our movie to my friends, or someone else whose opinion I trust. Then market our project as broadly as possible. Have a public screening rent, beg or borrow a venue to allow audiences to enjoy our work.
- Get as many people involved as possible. For every person involved in our project, it translates to two people in the audience for the screening or to buy our documentary.
- Send our documentary out to festivals but choose fests carefully.
- Be prepared to get honest feedback. Ask our viewer(s) to review our movie. Tell them not to sugarcoat it -I want to know exactly what they liked and what they didn’t like. According to what they tell me, I may choose go back to editing and fix what needs to be fixed. This can potentially (but not necessarily) mean re-shooting footage or adding new scenes.
- Get used to rejection and toughen up. After investing countless hours in my documentary, I expect audiences to react and respond. Don’t be disappointed if they aren’t “over the moon” about my project; we tend live in a media-consumptive world today and audiences have high expectations and low tolerance.