Updated: May 26
If you’re a first time documentary filmmaker or a seasoned pro, having a consultant solves the most crucial problem. Social proof with experienced feedback. If you don’t have an outsiders perspective, you might see your film as a complete idea with all the bells and whistles, but miss the essence of your vision or fail to pass the “so what?” test.
I’ve been a filmmaker for over a decade and I didn’t use a consultant until after working with Gaia TV. I went from producing 3 viral and online documentary films from my bedroom to working in a full time production facility out of Boulder Colorado. After leaving Gaia, I began working with Chef Pete Evans from Australia on several documentary films and I finally decided to work with a consultant.
Here are the greatest benefits I noticed:
The process was smoother and more streamlined through the various phases (development, pre-production, production and post)
He assisted me in discovering my audience and targeting the demographics.
Together we located the core focus of the film.
I wasn’t pulling my hair out stressing whether the I was on the “right track” or not.
He helped me put my thoughts into actionable steps and visualize the execution of each scene.
He helped me see distribution and marketing strategies.
He equipped me with the tools I needed to pull me out of that “I quit” moment that all films seem to evoke.
The Cost of a Documentary Consultant
The cost of a documentary film consultant depends upon the budget. Some consultants charge a flat fee, some have a sliding scale. I do both. Larger scale productions require more time and sliding scale contracts are typically best. Smaller scale productions can’t afford as much so a minimum rate applies. Now…
The Cost of NOT having a Documentary Consultant
I’ll be “fair and balanced” first. If you know your craft inside and out, a consultant may not make a huge difference, but it still might hone in the message or highlight blindspots. If you’re just making films for your friends or even teaching yourself the lessons through trial and error, you may not find benefit in a consultant.
However, consider the power and magnitude of what a documentary film can achieve:
In less than 2 hours, you can change someone’s perspective of the entire world.In one well-done scene, you can touch someone’s heart where nothing ever has before.In a few words, you can open someone’s mind to a potential life changing pathIn one film, you can encapsulate the whole essence and purpose of your business, life, or passion.
Documentary films are excellent tools to teach, but more importantly reach people in unique and artistic ways that science alone, philosophy by itself or imagery and sound by themselves could never achieve. Most documentaries have some kind of budget attached to them so if any money is being spent, it’s work while to invest up front to know whether the film is primed to hit its target audience or not.
If you are considering producing, writing, directing or even scoring a documentary or art film, connect with me and let me hear your vision.
I aim to change the world with conscious media in the direct of self-awakening and becoming the generation that stops the stupid shit and unnecessary suffering in the world by inspiring people to live into their full potential.