Shooting A Documentary | Lessons Learned

by Nobert
(Kampala, Uganda)

Just finished the shooting of a documentary about female genital mutilation in eastern Uganda.

Some of the struggles we faced included tracking down the known female genital cutters, it was the most frustrating. Imagine going up and down valleys and through caves and at the end of this trek it turns out to be an hoax. Many of the known cutters had crossed the border to Western Kenya!

Lesson learned: do not rely on only locals to get you subjects to interview. There is need to stay in the community for some time so that they learn to trust you.

And also the cutting is done in an even year but we went in 2013! And we didn’t know this.

Lesson learned: need to plan and do thorough research about the documentary idea.

Comments for Shooting A Documentary | Lessons Learned

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Jun 12, 2013
Pre-Production Check-List
by: Desktop Documentaries

Hi Nobert,

Thanks for sharing your story with us and the frustrations you have faced making your documentary.

I'm so glad you chose to share this because what you have gone through is very typical with making documentaries. There are so many things that can't be foreseen. Even when you plan and plan and plan, unexpected things will happen!

A few weeks ago, I put together a "pre-production check list" to help documentary producers think through some of the common issues in documentary filmmaking.

Here's the link:

Documentary Directing | Pre-Production Check List

And here are a few other links that may help as you move forward with your film:

Documentary Directing: Top 5 Amateur Mistakes
How To Write A Documentary Script

Thanks again for sharing, Nobert. Sounds like you are working on a very important film that needs the world's attention.

Please check back with us and share more lessons learned as you go along. It helps everyone when we share our journey.

All best,

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