6 ways to get started in documentaries

6 ways to get started in documentaries

RTS Futures
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David Nath in conversation with Ruth Pitt
David Nath in conversation with Ruth Pitt
Story Films co-founder David Nath, who has won Baftas for Channel 4 series Bedlam and The Murder Detectives, gave the documentary masterclass at this year's RTS Student Programme Masterclasses.
Working on a local newspaper (although there are fewer opportunities now), “was a brilliant training ground for a career in television because you learn how to tell a story”.
 
Getting started: “Look at the documentaries that you like and see which companies have made them … If you’re developing an idea for a documentary film, the thing that is going to make people take notice is if you have access to somebody or something that … other people might not have.”
 
Be adaptable: “You have to be a chameleon in documentaries … to get on with everybody and anybody from the chief executive of a board of a multinational to someone cleaning the streets.”
 
The internet “is really valuable as tool, but not to the exclusion of calling and meeting people … there are other ways to research programmes … There’s no substitute for [meeting] people.”
 
On losing your mojo: “You can easily get lost in your career – you can forget the reason that you went into [TV] in the first place … I need to make films because it makes me the person I am.”
 
As a film-maker, “I always show films to contributors … You want to know you’ve done the right thing and that they feel comfortable that the nature of the film you explained to them [at the start] is the one you’ve made.”
 
 

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