There are a few kinds of documentaries you can make
  • Portrait - Paint a video portrait about someone you know. Could be a relative, a neighbor, a local celebrity.
  • A Day In My Life - Take your camera EVERYWHERE you go in a normal day, from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to sleep.
  • An Issue In My Life - Could be a problem that's bothering you, something good or bad that happened to you, something good that you achieved.
  • My Family - About your family-- how you talk to each other, stuff you do together, your feelings about each other, your difficulties.
  • Community Story - Tell a story about something that's happening, or that already happened, in your community. Could be a festival, an accident, a death, a birth...

Your documentary must include these ingredients:
  • Reality - It must be 100% real and true.
  • Action - We have to see stuff happening.
  • Words - We need to hear people talking about what happened.

  1. Choose your type (see above).
  2. Write a Description - This is the only required step (plus SHOOTING of course). Write a short description. Just 2 or 3 sentences.

    If you want to make a more professional video, the steps below will give you a much better chance of winning the contest.

  3. Write a Pre-shooting Script - Write down what your audience will see in the final movie, from start to finish. 1 to 3 pages.
  4. Write a Shooting Script - Write down every shot you plan to do, including where you will shoot, what time of day, and what equipment you will need for the shot (like extra lights).
  5. Shoot the video - Use your shooting script to guide you through the process.
  6. Back up! - Make a copy of your raw video before doing any edits! If you make a mistake while editing, grab another copy from your backup.
  7. Watch your raw video. Think about which shots you want to include, what to cut out, and the sequence (order) you want.
  8. Write an Editing Script - Write down a shot-by-shot script of the each shot you will keep from your raw footage. 
  9. Edit your shots together with video-editing software. Add music, narration, titles, or credits.

Read the great tips below

Documentary Shorts -- Read these great tips, but this link is NOT the place to submit your video. These tips are good for any kind of documentary, but especially the "Portrait" type.

Advanced Guidelines -- If you're pretty smart, read this!
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