The genesis of my book “The Documentary Filmmaker’s Roadmap: A Practical Guide to Planning, Production, and Distribution” came from the process of learning so much making my first feature documentary film, Musicwood. I’m lucky to live in New York and be surrounded by the amazing documentary community. I absorbed information at every event like a sponge. Then regurgitated (sorry for the gross comparison) every snippet I’d heard in quick conversations, whether at panels, happy hours, at the IFP or DOC NYC, NYWIFT, or Women Make Movies. I took tons and tons and tons of notes and learned so much when I applied that to my own feature film.
It’s so hard with low budgets to feel the support of people you need. It would be lovely having a producer sitting with you every step of the way, but often we don’t have those big budgets and may only have producers for part of the time. So these are my notes that helped my first film become a New York Times Critics Pick, with awesome reviews (thanks Nonfics) and international distribution.
One of the best compliments I’ve received about this book was from the incredible editor Matt Hamachek (also a contributor to the book). He said this book will be kept on his editing desk while he works. I hope that, like him, you will find some nuggets of really useful information. Some of the best chapters — or the best bang for your buck — is hearing from people like him and funders, such as POV and Fork Films, and distributors and festivals and my lawyer, the amazing Chris Perez. The chapter from Chris is unbelievably helpful.
I really hope this book helps any Nonfics readers to make their first films; we all have stories to tell. I know it’s already helping with my next film, To Kid or Not to Kid, which is premiering next month at DOC NYC.
Below is the table of contents and the full second chapter of “The Documentary Filmmaker’s Roadmap,” which is on pre-production.