How to Make a Great Documentary (In My Opinion)

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How to Make a Great Documentary (In My Opinion)

Interloper Films / A TOTAL DISRUPTION
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Watch trailer here: https://vimeo.com/191096115

In this two-hour masterclass, critically-acclaimed two-time Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning director Ondi Timoner (DIG!, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC, BRAND: A Second Coming, and most recently her new series for Viceland JUNGLETOWN) takes you through the process of creating a great documentary - from choosing a subject to developing your idea into reality. Timoner shares clips from her films to demonstrate tips and techniques that will forever transform how you approach filmmaking - from pre-production through production, to post-production through distribution and beyond!

Choosing a Topic  •  
Pre-Production  •  Production

  • Ondi discusses assessing the relevancy and longevity of your topic. She offers personal insight into selecting a format (feature? short? series?) and how to set a schedule and create a budget. Finally, Ondi talks about interviewing methods and how to deftly use b-roll.

Part Two: THE EDIT

Opening Your Film •  The Long Road •  Music •   Graphics  •  Closing Your Film 

  • Ondi addresses how to open your film in a way that grabs the audience. She gives tips on how to stay focused and overcome hurdles during the long editing process. She demonstrates how and when to use music, motion graphics and animation to (literally) illustrate a point or an esoteric concept. Lastly, Ondi discusses how to end a film so effectively that people can't stop talking about it over dinner afterwards! 


Festivals  •  Finding Your Audience  •  Redefining the Gatekeeper 

  • Ondi talks about how to find and build an audience before the film is completed and then how to mobilize that group to promote your film. She explains how to plan the premiere to attract the best distribution options. Finally, she shares how filmmakers are redefining the gatekeepers of distribution by utilizing new platforms.

Note! The two-hour Full Version includes a 45-minute Q&A in which the audience asks insightful questions about artistic integrity, choosing main characters, organizing the edit, audio gear & more! 


Ondi Timoner is known as a dynamic force in in the documentary world. Bestowed with the honor of opening the 2015 SXSW Film Festival with her latest documentary, "BRAND: A Second Coming," Ondi has put herself in the upper echelon of doc makers through such brilliant features as DIG! & WE LIVE IN PUBLIC - both awarded the prestigious Sundance Grand Jury Prize and in the permanent collection of the MoMA NY. Ondi's vision goes far beyond what she infuses into her own feature docs. As an entrepreneur, curator, and web pathbreaker, Ondi continues to push the boundaries through such web-based projects as atotaldisruption.com - a "constantly releasing" documentary that profiles entrepreneurs, inventors and artists of our time from a place of passion & humanity - and BYOD (Bring Your Own Documentary) - the only talk show about documentaries in the world, 5 years strong with over 300 episodes. Her latest project is JUNGLETOWN, an ongoing television series (season one will be ten hours) and feature-length documentary (to be shot over years) which follows the building of “the world’s most sustainable modern town” through the eyes of the young adults who, facing climate disaster, are moving to the Panamanian jungle. It will premiere on VICELAND in 2017. She has also written the script for MAPPLETHORPE, the story of controversial visionary photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, which she is set to produce and direct in the spring of 2017.

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