How can I find collaborators to help with my documentary?

by Dane
(San Jose, CA)

Question: I've got the story and material for my documentary, but I've never made one. I need to find someone who knows how to make a documentary. I'm having a tough time tracking down filmmakers locally.

Answer: This is a very interesting question. And there are several ways you can go about this. My first question to you is whether you are willing to raise money for your documentary project. Unless you can find a filmmaker who is equally passionate about your story as you, they will need to be paid for their time. And once you have money for your project, it's much easier to bring filmmakers on board.

Here are a few ideas to find filmmakers:

1) Do a Google search for "video/film production companies" in your area. Read their company bio and see if they do documentaries. Be aware that these guys will probably not be interested in doing pro bono work unless: you have a really great idea that they feel could potentially make money down the line and/or bring them great publicity and/or they strongly believe in your cause. (They have to make a living like everyone else) Even if they can't help you, they may have an intern looking for experience or could at least point you in the right direction with someone who might be a fit for your project.

2) Call the film department at your local university. You may be able to find a film student who could help you.

3) Post an ad on Craigslist

4) Attend a local film festival and/or find the organization who organizes the festival and ask them to make recommendations on filmmakers who may be interested in your project.

If you are willing to raise money, you'll need to create a documentary proposal and a budget to give to potential funders. In that proposal you'll need to list your film crew. So what you can do is find filmmakers who would like to produce your documentary, ask their permission to use their bios in your proposal and then if you can find funding, you'll hire them to help you.

Understand that just about everyone has a "great idea for a documentary". And filmmakers usually have their own ideas that they want to make. So in order to get a filmmaker to work on YOUR project, there will need to be some major motivation to pull them off their own project to work on yours.

Good luck!

Comments for How can I find collaborators to help with my documentary?

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Feb 07, 2014
by: Susan

I just discovered this website, called Spidvid which connects filmmakers and video makers to collaborate on various film/video projects. Haven't tried it myself but looks interesting.


Feb 08, 2014
by: Susan

Just discovered another one:


Looks like it may be more for narrative filmmaking (movies with actors).. but it's a way to find filmmakers (and maybe even investors) for your next project.

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