People who believe strongly in a cause often turn to documentary films as a way of exploring the subject and educating the populace. If you're debating making a documentary, you might wonder whether doing so is worth all the cost. Here's what you need to know.
The Cost of a Typical Documentary Is Often Worth the Impact
Making a documentary film is not inexpensive. Industry experts estimate the cheapest cost is typically about $1,000 per minute while higher-quality films may cost as much as $3,000 per minute. For an hour and a half documentary, that is a minimum of $270,000. This price will vary based on a variety of factors, including:
- Film processing
- The film crew
The monetary investment in a documentary film might seem high, but a powerful documentary can change the world. Think of the way that some documentaries have revealed negative realities behind certain industrial processes and how that has helped change regulation. Other documentaries may focus on gauging the emotional impact a historical event has had on culture, such as the way Americans felt after the events of 9/11.
Great documentaries capture a filmmaker and producer's concept and present it in a way that either tells a truth or expresses powerful emotion. This is a difficult process for many filmmakers, especially those who are wrapped up so heavily in the process. However, if you believe in a cause deeply, a documentary can help bring it to light.
The Six Different Types of Documentaries
If you have the money to make a documentary and are interested in pursuing one, it is important that you know about the six different types of documentaries. Not all documentaries are made equal, and different documentaries present information in different ways.
- Poetic Documentaries – use sights and sound to create an abstract narrative that conveys a suitable emotion instead of hard facts
- Expository Documentaries – features a variety of facts and information presented in a strict narrative structure in order to convince viewers of a specific point
- Observational Documentaries – observe the world in a non-argumentative way, simply exploring all aspects of an issue in a comprehensive manner
- Participatory Documentaries – typically features the filmmaker trying to directly influence the events they are portraying and stating their opinion on subjects in a straight manner
- Reflexive Documentaries – focus on the filmmaker and the making of the documentary, not on their attempt to actually influence the events of the narrative
- Performative Documentaries – a combination of personal and political or historical concepts in a way that shares the filmmaker's emotional response to the subject
Which of these particular documentary styles appeal to you and the point you want to make? Whichever you choose, make sure that you contact a director who can help make the process easier to handle.