3 Mistakes Made by Documentary Filmmakers

By July 29, 2017September 14th, 2023No Comments

One of the best and most popular advice given by veteran directors to aspiring filmmakers is to “just go out there and start filming”!

Yes, we produce corporate videos, but as people passionate about video making, we like to encourage anyone interested in telling stories (whether through a film or documentary) to try it.

Now, with the rise of affordable video cameras and movies shot entirely on iPhones, you really have no excuse not to pursue your love for filmmaking.

As a documentary filmmaker, particularly, your voice is your most important asset. This is why it’s incredibly important to make sure what you’re saying matters.

Success doesn’t necessarily come in the face of a big-budget production or a star-studded cast. In fact, some of the most accomplished directors will tell you that some of their favorite works are smaller or quieter films.

At the same time, try to avoid some common mistakes by doing research and reading blogs like this one!

So save yourself time and resources by avoiding these red flags:

1. Resisting Collaboration

Documentaries are an excellent example of a filmmaker’s love for people. Whether the subject deals with social issues or the environment, politics or entertainment, it touches upon our relationship with each other and the larger eco system of which we are a central part.

Being closed off to collaboration indicates your lack of trust in people, which is pretty much contrary to the spirit of making a documentary in the first place.

Want to make a great documentary? Collaborate with the best people.

2. Giving a “College Lecture”

So, your documentary makes some important political and cultural discoveries?


Make sure you’re delivering those findings in a compelling manner, instead of turning it into a boring history lesson that ends with a preachy black-and-white conclusion.

You slept your way through those boring documentaries in college. Now’s your chance to break tradition and deliver something that does the opposite of putting a classroom to sleep.

3. No Personalization

Yes, documentaries aren’t full-length, narrative style films—but they ARE presented by a director with a specific vision in mind. This means that some level of subjectivity will always be involved. The best way you can do justice to your vision is to personalize your video by telling people who that voice belongs to.

Transparency, sincerity, and credibility, together, form the cornerstone of a truly powerful documentary.

We are a video production company based in Orange County, CA, creating brand documentaries and corporate videos for high profile names in business.

We’re always looking forward to new challenges and experiences, and love sharing advice with aspiring filmmakers. Check out the services we offer, and get in touch today!

Marlowe Stone

"Marlowe Stone is the Co-Owner and Co-Founder of 336 Productions, a video agency specializing in corporate video production and branded media, producing content for government agencies and some of the world's biggest brands.She oversees the day-to-day operations of the business, and also writes, produces, and project manages many of 336's projects.In 2022, Marlowe graduated with her Executive MBA from UCI to gain new insights and knowledge. She also holds a certificate in Women's Leadership and Digital Transformation.An Orange County native and Mom to two girls, Marlowe is most happy enjoying time with family and friends."