140 episodes

Have a passion for making documentary films? Want to learn how to best lead a documentary life? Join award-winning commercial and documentary filmmaker, Chris G. Parkhurst, and special industry guests as they candidly share their filmmaking stories, insights, and experiences, for all to learn how to best lead and live their own documentary dream lives.

The Documentary Life The Documentary Life

    • TV & Film
    • 4.8 • 121 Ratings

Have a passion for making documentary films? Want to learn how to best lead a documentary life? Join award-winning commercial and documentary filmmaker, Chris G. Parkhurst, and special industry guests as they candidly share their filmmaking stories, insights, and experiences, for all to learn how to best lead and live their own documentary dream lives.

    139 - Winning an Oscar for Your Documentary Film

    139 - Winning an Oscar for Your Documentary Film

    Imagine stepping up to the podium to accept your award for Best Documentary Feature for the film that you have put your heart, soul, blood sweat tears into. What would you say? Who would thank? Where would you even start?
    Well, Steven Bognar, of this year's American Factory knows precisely what this feels like. And he details the story of he and his partner, Julia Reichert's walk to that Oscar podium.
    And he details a heckuva lot more about what it means to live the life of a documentary filmmaker in Dayton, OH, far from the neon lights of New York, London, or L.A. And what it means to make meaningful documentaries that impact a lot of people and win a lot of awards.
    What it means to live and lead a documentary life.
    Topics Discussed
    host Chris G. Parkhurst gives some History 101 of documentaries and the Academy Awards
    why its beneficial to the world that documentary filmmakers make films from where they are at
    how American Factory came from turning down what was initially meant to be a corporate video for the Fuyao factory
    play-by-play of Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's walk to the podium to accept their award for Best Documentary Feature
    unique sound approaches that were brought to American Factory

    Additional Resources
    Trailer for American Factory
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m36QeKOJ2Fc

    American Factory wins Best Documentary Feature
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF4ytC3-M3g

    Sponsors and Thank Yous
    ° http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) – Special Thank You to recording artist, http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dlay/ (Dlay) who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) today!

    Subscribehttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-documentary-life/id1112679868 (Apple) | https://open.spotify.com/show/0wYlYHJzyk3Y7fHzDDwvmp (Spotify) | https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/thedocumentarylife/the-documentary-life (Stitcher) |
    Rate and ReviewIf you have found value in this podcast please leave a review so it can become more visible to others. Simply click the https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/documentary-life-filmmaking-documentary-films-documentary/id1112679868?mt=2 (link) and then click on the Ratings and Reviews tab to make your entry. Thank you for your support!

    • 51 min
    138 - Cinematography in Documentary Film

    138 - Cinematography in Documentary Film

    In the past, documentary cinematography has been in the shadow of narrative feature's, overlooked because of certain, perhaps unfair assumptions about the craft.
    Well, that is no longer the case since the American Society of Cinematographers, as of this year, has an award for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction Filmmaking.
    And cinematographers, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4426963/ (Fejmi Daut) and https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4000308/ (Samir Ljuma), of the Academy Award nominated, https://honeyland.earth/ (Honeyland), were the recipients of that inaugural award. (Not to mention a host of other cinematography awards!)
    And so we have today's episode which is entirely dedicated to the craft of documentary cinematography!
    Topics Discussed
    host Chris G. Parkhurst talks about what makes a good documentary cinematographer and where we can find them
    what it's like working as a two person cinematography team
    how the shooting style changed dramatically midway into filming due to an unforeseen shift in story
    working without power in rural Macedonia
    achieving the perpetual golden hour look of Honeyland

    Additional Resources
    FREE DOWNLOAD OF HONEYLAND CONVERSATION PART TWO
    As mentioned in the show, there is much more to my conversation with cinematographers, Fejmi Daut and Samir Ljuma. Too much to put into a single show!
    To listen to the second part of that conversation head over https://thedocumentarylife.com/honeyland/ (HERE) for your free download!

    Trailer for Honeyland
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B27ORUHlp6E

    Finding the star of Honeyland
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj9mT91fe64

    Honeyland at DOCNYC
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJo1dvoo67k

    Sponsors and Thank YousMusic Vine 15 PERCENT OFF!Music Vine
    https://musicvine.com/ ()
    Thank you to music licensing platform, https://musicvine.com/ (Music Vine) for contributing the wonderful music that we’ve used in this week’s episode.
    We’ve used many music licensing platforms over the years for commercials, corporate videos, and documentaries and these guys are definitely different.
    Their music catalogue is truly fresh, diverse, full of character, their search engine is as straight forward and user friendly and their licensing fees? Unlike anywhere else we have come across.
    If you need any music for your doc project, we can honestly recommend https://musicvine.com/ (Music Vine).
    And make sure to use our promo code to get an additional 15 percent off of any subscription!!
    PROMO CODE: doclife15

    Continuing the Discussion with The D-Word
    https://d-word.com/ ()

    Today's episode is only the beginning of the conversation. Now it's time to have your voice heard, #doclifer!
    So where can you do this?

    THE D-WORDWHAT IS THE D-WORD
    The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker https://www.d-word.com/people/dbblock (Doug Block) depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, https://web.archive.org/web/20010204073200/http://www.d-word.com/homepage/index.html (Home Page). In the words of Mr. Block, "it was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter!"
    We had Doug on the show way back in https://thedocumentarylife.com/podcast/105-doug-block-and-the-d-word/ (EPISODE) #105, where he discussed those early days working as an independent documentary filmmaker. And how this would lead him to creating the first incarnation of The D-Word.
    The D-Word has long-since evolved into a virtual community and is now the largest, longest-running one of its kind, currently numbering more than 19,000 members from 147 countries.
    Its focus is now on hosting free discussions on documentary film and production and leading a documentary life. Sound familiar?
    Get started with The D-Word today, by completing their free ht

    • 41 min
    137 - Reality Television and the Documentary Filmmaker

    137 - Reality Television and the Documentary Filmmaker

    It wasn't that long ago when reality television was a dirty word that incited some pretty strong feelings among the documentary filmmaking crowd. However, non fiction television has come a long way in the past few years.
    Of course, don't take my word for it. Take it from fellow documentary filmmaker, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1118839/ (Joe Litzinger), who is the executive producer of some of non fiction tv's most well known and respected (did I say respected?) shows.

    Topics Discussed
    host Chris G. Parkhurst talks about how documentary filmmakers can use their abilities to advantage in other avenues of production
    why doc filmmakers are well suited for reality television
    how one procures work in the reality tv industry
    the advantages of shooting a documentary film over reality tv
    how reality television supports Joe Litzinger's documentary life

    Additional ResourcesTrailer for https://www.abacusmediarights.com/programme/3110/zulu-summer (Zulu Summer)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-BcYvbbl-s

    Trailer for https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=400773960735280 (Will Work for Views)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx2Nt1cYA0E

    Behind the Scenes for https://www.bbcearth.com/shows/life-below-zero/ (Life Below Zero)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTBmwAhCd4candlist=PLh_0X_RDOHqHuDMD3ft0cZ7gqlF6kHhsEandindex=14

    Continuing the Discussion with The D-Word
    https://d-word.com/ ()

    Today's episode is only the beginning of the conversation. Now it's time to have your voice heard, #doclifer!
    So where can you do this?

    THE D-WORDWHAT IS THE D-WORD
    The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker https://www.d-word.com/people/dbblock (Doug Block) depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, https://web.archive.org/web/20010204073200/http://www.d-word.com/homepage/index.html (Home Page). In the words of Mr. Block, "it was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter!"
    We had Doug on the show way back in https://thedocumentarylife.com/podcast/105-doug-block-and-the-d-word/ (EPISODE) #105, where he discussed those early days working as an independent documentary filmmaker. And how this would lead him to creating the first incarnation of The D-Word.
    The D-Word has long-since evolved into a virtual community and is now the largest, longest-running one of its kind, currently numbering more than 19,000 members from 147 countries.
    Its focus is now on hosting free discussions on documentary film and production and leading a documentary life. Sound familiar?
    Get started with The D-Word today, by completing their free https://www.d-word.com/users/apply (APPLICATION).
    Sponsors and Thank Yous
    ° http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) – Special Thank You to recording artist, http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dlay/ (Dlay) who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) today!

    Subscribehttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-documentary-life/id1112679868 (Apple) | https://open.spotify.com/show/0wYlYHJzyk3Y7fHzDDwvmp (Spotify) | https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/thedocumentarylife/the-documentary-life (Stitcher) |
    Rate and ReviewIf you have found value in this podcast please leave a review so it can become more visible to others. Simply click the https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/documentary-life-filmmaking-documentary-films-documentary/id1112679868?mt=2 (link) and then click on the Ratings and Reviews tab to make your entry. Thank you for your support!

    • 36 min
    136 - Documentary Filmmaking During a Pandemic

    136 - Documentary Filmmaking During a Pandemic

    Documentary filmmaking during this time of a pandemic is something that so many of us doc filmmakers are contemplating. Or doing. Or not doing.
    Today's episode is filled with both a discussion on the ethics of documentary production during this time as well as best practices and safety protocol for those of us who are making our docs during this time.
    Documentary filmmaker and TDL host, Chris G. Parkhurst, delves into this discussion with IDA's Carrie Lozano and award-winning documentary filmmaking, Heidi Ewing.
    Topics Discussed
    Chris G. Parkhurst's tips for filming during this time of Covid
    the whats, whys, hows of IDA's The Ethics of Documentary Production in a Pandemic
    how Carrie Lozano's background in both journalism and documentary filmmaker has made her uniquely positioned to discuss filming during this time
    why award-winning documentary filmmaker, Heidi Ewing has chosen to film during this time
    how documentary filmmaking inherently is made up of a number of ethical decisions
    Ewing's best practices and safety protocol for doc filmmakers

    Additional Resources
    Read for yourself IDA's https://www.documentary.org/online-feature/ethics-documentary-production-pandemic (The Ethics of Documentary Production in a Pandemic)




    Continuing the Discussion with The D-Word
    https://d-word.com/ ()

    Today's episode is only the beginning of the conversation. Now it's time to have your voice heard, #doclifer!
    So where can you do this?

    THE D-WORDWHAT IS THE D-WORD
    The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker https://www.d-word.com/people/dbblock (Doug Block) depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, https://web.archive.org/web/20010204073200/http://www.d-word.com/homepage/index.html (Home Page). In the words of Mr. Block, "it was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter!"
    We had Doug on the show way back in https://thedocumentarylife.com/podcast/105-doug-block-and-the-d-word/ (EPISODE) #105, where he discussed those early days working as an independent documentary filmmaker. And how this would lead him to creating the first incarnation of The D-Word.
    The D-Word has long-since evolved into a virtual community and is now the largest, longest-running one of its kind, currently numbering more than 19,000 members from 147 countries.
    Its focus is now on hosting free discussions on documentary film and production and leading a documentary life. Sound familiar?
    Get started with The D-Word today, by completing their free https://www.d-word.com/users/apply (APPLICATION).
    Sponsors and Thank Yous
    ° http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) – Special Thank You to recording artist, http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dlay/ (Dlay) who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) today!

    Subscribehttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-documentary-life/id1112679868 (Apple) | https://open.spotify.com/show/0wYlYHJzyk3Y7fHzDDwvmp (Spotify) | https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/thedocumentarylife/the-documentary-life (Stitcher) |
    Rate and ReviewIf you have found value in this podcast please leave a review so it can become more visible to others. Simply click the https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/documentary-life-filmmaking-documentary-films-documentary/id1112679868?mt=2 (link) and then click on the Ratings and Reviews tab to make your entry. Thank you for your support!

    • 48 min
    135 - Race and Documentary Filmmaking

    135 - Race and Documentary Filmmaking

    Questions of race and who has the right to tell another person's or culture's or race's stories have recently been at the forefront of the documentary community's collective consciousness.
    More than that, it's been the subject of recent debate and discussion, whether in industry-led panels, major publications, or social media.
    Documentary filmmaker and TDL host, Chris G. Parkhurst, delves into this difficult, sometimes divisive discussion with two of documentary's own, Marjan Safinia and Grace Lee.
    Topics Discussed
    how Safinia and Lee came to collaborate on PBS' And She Could Be Next
    overlook at discussions of race in the documentary community over the past few months
    who has the right to tell a story and why
    how people of color in the American documentary industry can have less access and resources than their white counterparts
    How minorities are looking to reclaim and change the way that their stories are being told

    Additional ResourcesTeaser, And She Could Be Next
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPgO1J-Y2DY

    Continuing the Discussion with The D-Word
    https://d-word.com/ ()

    Today's episode is only the beginning of the conversation. Now it's time to have your voice heard, #doclifer!
    So where can you do this?

    THE D-WORDWHAT IS THE D-WORD
    The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker https://www.d-word.com/people/dbblock (Doug Block) depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, https://web.archive.org/web/20010204073200/http://www.d-word.com/homepage/index.html (Home Page). In the words of Mr. Block, "it was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter!"
    We had Doug on the show way back in https://thedocumentarylife.com/podcast/105-doug-block-and-the-d-word/ (EPISODE) #105, where he discussed those early days working as an independent documentary filmmaker. And how this would lead him to creating the first incarnation of The D-Word.
    The D-Word has long-since evolved into a virtual community and is now the largest, longest-running one of its kind, currently numbering more than 19,000 members from 147 countries.
    Its focus is now on hosting free discussions on documentary film and production and leading a documentary life. Sound familiar?
    Get started with The D-Word today, by completing their free https://www.d-word.com/users/apply (APPLICATION).
    Sponsors and Thank Yous
    ° http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) – Special Thank You to recording artist, http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dlay/ (Dlay) who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) today!

    Subscribehttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-documentary-life/id1112679868 (Apple) | https://open.spotify.com/show/0wYlYHJzyk3Y7fHzDDwvmp (Spotify) | https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/thedocumentarylife/the-documentary-life (Stitcher) |
    Rate and ReviewIf you have found value in this podcast please leave a review so it can become more visible to others. Simply click the https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/documentary-life-filmmaking-documentary-films-documentary/id1112679868?mt=2 (link) and then click on the Ratings and Reviews tab to make your entry. Thank you for your support!

    • 51 min
    The Online Film Festival for the Documentary Filmmaker

    The Online Film Festival for the Documentary Filmmaker

    Lyndon Stone is the founder and festival director of Melbourne Documentary Film Festival. Melody Gilbert is a documentary filmmaker well acquainted with the world of film festivals.
    In light of Covid events, both the festival director and filmmaker, have had to pivot their approaches to documentary film festivals.
    This is the kind of discussion we documentary filmmakers have been wanting to have ever since the pandemic greatly impacted our doc lives.
    Topics Discussed
    how Lyndon Stone has incorporated a hybrid approach to this year's MDFF
    how the virtual festival can actually be a good thing for both the festival director as well as the documentary filmmaker
    why doco Melody Gilbert was initially hesitant to premiere her documentary feature at MSPIFF which
    how an online film festival might actually be very advantageous to the independent documentary filmmaker

    Additional ResourcesTeaser for Silicone Soul
    https://vimeo.com/350156250

    Check out the full roster of this year's https://www.mdff.org.au/ (Melbourne Documentary Film Festival)!

    Sponsors and Thank YousMusic Vine 15 PERCENT OFF!Music Vine
    https://musicvine.com/ ()
    Thank you to music licensing platform, https://musicvine.com/ (Music Vine) for contributing the wonderful music that we’ve used in this week’s episode.
    We’ve used many music licensing platforms over the years for commercials, corporate videos, and documentaries and these guys are definitely different.
    Their music catalogue is truly fresh, diverse, full of character, their search engine is as straight forward and user friendly and their licensing fees? Unlike anywhere else we have come across.
    If you need any music for your doc project, we can honestly recommend https://musicvine.com/ (Music Vine).
    And make sure to use our promo code to get an additional 15 percent off of any subscription!!
    PROMO CODE: doclife15

    ° http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) – Special Thank You to recording artist, http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Dlay/ (Dlay) who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to http://freemusicarchive.org/ (Free Music Archive) today!

    Subscribehttps://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-documentary-life/id1112679868 (Apple) | https://open.spotify.com/show/0wYlYHJzyk3Y7fHzDDwvmp (Spotify) | https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/thedocumentarylife/the-documentary-life (Stitcher) |
    Rate and ReviewIf you have found value in this podcast please leave a review so it can become more visible to others. Simply click the https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/documentary-life-filmmaking-documentary-films-documentary/id1112679868?mt=2 (link) and then click on the Ratings and Reviews tab to make your entry. Thank you for your support!

    • 46 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
121 Ratings

121 Ratings

Redbeard1970 ,

Great show

I’m mainly a concert videographer but now I’ve shot a few short documentaries and one feature length doc. I want to really get into this genre as a really want to “Live the documentary Life” I’m about ready to stArt editing down 30 years of concert into a documentary/ compilation dvd with interviews and location videography of the places I filmed etc etc. your ep. 119 Editing for the doc. has really inspired me to start. I have until summer of 2022 to get this done.

Missing pinkie ,

Inspirational

I love how the podcasts vary between practical knowledge and philosophical. I'm trying to expand from commercial to documentary editiing and this has been my go to for good advice and inspiration. Thank you!

Hollyange’s Stuff ,

Gets better and better

I've been a longtime listener to The Documentary Life. It has become my go-to podcast for inspiration and positive guidance while making a documentary. Chris is knowledgeable, down-to-earth, and extremely generous with helpful information. He always manages to keep the podcast current, addressing important issues and encouraging listeners to believe in themselves. One more thing:I can't wait to see Elvis in Cambodia!

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