Directing the Documentary is the definitive book on the documentary form, that will allow you to master the craft of documentary filmmaking. Focusing on the hands-on work needed to make your concept a reality, it covers the documentary filmmaking process from top to bottom, providing in-depth lessons on every aspect of preproduction, production, and postproduction.

The book includes dozens of projects, practical exercises, and thought-provoking questions, and offers best practices for researching and honing your documentary idea, developing a crew, guiding your team, and much more. This fully revised and updated 7th edition also includes brand new content on the rise of the documentary series, the impact of video on-demand and content aggregators, updated information on prosumer and professional video (including 4K+), coverage of new audio & lighting solutions and trends in post-production, coverage of the immersive documentary, and provides practical sets of solutions for low, medium, and high budget documentary film productions throughout. The companion website has also been fully updated to a variety of new projects and forms.

By combining expert advice on the storytelling process, the technical aspects of filmmaking and commentary on the philosophical underpinnings of the art, this book provides the practical and holistic understanding you need to become a highly regarded, original, and ethical contributor to the genre. Ideal for both aspiring and established documentary filmmakers, this book has it all.

part Book I|260 pages

Getting Started

part Part 1|26 pages

You and Your Ideas

chapter Chapter 1|14 pages

You and Film Authorship

chapter Chapter 2|10 pages

The Nature of Documentary

part Part 2|63 pages

Documentaries and Film Language

chapter Chapter 3|32 pages

How the Documentary Developed

chapter Chapter 4|10 pages

Constructing Reality

chapter Chapter 5|19 pages

Story Elements and Film Grammar

part Part 3|49 pages


chapter Chapter 6|17 pages

Developing Story Ideas

chapter Chapter 7|18 pages

Hypothesis, Research and Plan

chapter Chapter 8|6 pages

Developing Ideas for a Short Documentary

chapter Chapter 9|5 pages


part Part 4|70 pages


chapter Chapter 10|20 pages

Capturing Sound

chapter Chapter 11|12 pages


chapter Chapter 12|24 pages


chapter Chapter 13|12 pages

Directing and Interviewing

part Part 5|48 pages


chapter Chapter 14|18 pages

Creating the First Assembly

chapter Chapter 15|13 pages

Developing the Edit

chapter Chapter 16|14 pages

Fine Cut, Music, Audio and Color Correction

part Book II|275 pages

Advanced Concepts

part Part 6|80 pages

Documentary Aesthetics

chapter Chapter 17|18 pages

Point of View and Storytelling

chapter Chapter 18|30 pages

Dramatic Development, Time and Story Structure

chapter Chapter 19|9 pages

Form, Style and Creativity

chapter Chapter 20|9 pages

Reconstruction, Re-Enactment and Docudrama

chapter Chapter 21|8 pages

Values and Ethics

part Part 7|172 pages

Advanced Production Issues

part Part 7A|49 pages

Advanced Preproduction

chapter Chapter 22|7 pages

Handling Larger Projects

chapter Chapter 24|13 pages

Advanced Technology, Budgeting, Scheduling

chapter Chapter 25|9 pages

Preparations Before Directing

part Part 7B|82 pages

Advanced Production

chapter Chapter 26|14 pages

Optics and Perception

chapter Chapter 27|20 pages

Advanced Cameras and Support Equipment

chapter Chapter 28|10 pages

Advanced Location Sound

chapter Chapter 29|8 pages

Advanced Directing: Participants

chapter Chapter 30|10 pages

Advanced Directing: Camera

chapter Chapter 31|18 pages

Advanced Interviewing

part Part 7C|38 pages

Advanced Postproduction

chapter Chapter 32|6 pages

From Transcript to Assembly

chapter Chapter 33|10 pages

Creating Narration

chapter Chapter 34|6 pages

Original Music

chapter Chapter 35|7 pages

Editing Refinements and Structural Solutions

chapter Chapter 36|6 pages

The Final Sound Mix

part Part 8|21 pages


chapter Chapter 37|10 pages

Developing a Career

chapter Chapter 38|9 pages

Starting up on Your Own