FREE 12-Day Documentary Challenge Check-List (PDF)

12 Day Documentary Challenge

Welcome Filmmaker!

Are you ready to premiere your movie or doc series in 2024?

Join us for our FREE 12-day documentary challenge and get started on your film today!

How To Join The Challenge

STEP 1: 

Download the FREE 12-Day Documentary Challenge Check-list and mark off as many items as you can within the next 12 days (or before Jan 1st, 2024)!

STEP 2: 

In the comment section below, share which items you will commit to completing in 2024 and post your progress.

Bonus Points! Share your filmmaking goals for 2024. ❤️

12 Days to Documentary Launch

Below are 12 “do in a day” steps to get you moving forward. 

Check off as many items below as you can and share your progress in the comment section:

Day 1 - Outline your documentary

What’s the rough idea of your film? This list of questions will get you started.

If you’re struggling to organize your ideas (we’ve all been there!), map out the following:

  • Who are the key people in your story?

  • What are the key places in your story?

  • What theme(s) are present in your documentary? For example: personal challenge, historical, social justice, journey, etc.

  • What is the working synopsis of the documentary?

  • What video and audio is important for the beginning, middle, and end of the film (also known as the three-act structure)?

Day 2 - Write your logline

What are the first words that come to mind when someone asks you about your documentary?

This is your logline! AKA your film's FIRST impression.

In ONE sentence...

Tell me THE WHO - Who is your film's main subject? What do they do in the film?

Tip: Don't use specifics. Use general descriptors like, "an aging farmer, a fisherman, a group of scientists," etc.

Tell me THE NEW - What is surprising about this subject, place, or situation? What makes your story unique, groundbreaking, or even heartbreaking?

Tell me THE HOW - What style or path does your film take? Think about how your audience might describe your documentary. Is it investigative, adventurous, observational, intense?

Day 3 - Set up one interview and one location

Who are the people who can help you tell your story? Have you already established contact with them? If not, make the first call/email/text message and set up an interview. 

Once you have that done, carefully choose a place for the interview. This is your documentary’s first location.

Day 4 - Write a one-page proposal

A proposal is your film’s business plan.

Start with one-page: write out what you plan to discover about your film’s subject(s), state the goal of the film, and describe what your story will look and feel like.

Learn how to write a winning documentary proposal here...

Day 5 - Pick your gear

Ok - here comes the exciting part. Think about the kind of footage you’re envisioning for your film. 

Will you be able to use a tripod? If not, will you use a shoulder mount? What kind of audio will you be recording? 

This documentary gear check-list will make sure you’ve got the essentials covered. Don’t forget the hard drive (or 2)!

Day 6 - Who's in your crew?

Documentary crews are notoriously small and often include just one person!

A fully equipped crew typically consists of a director, a field producer, a videographer, and a sound mixer.

Often times, one person assumes two roles, such as “director and videographer” or “director and field producer.” 

Who would you like to invite to work with you on your film? Think up your dream team of collaborators. Take a look at this documentary crew roles breakdown to help you decide.

Are you determined to be the director, field producer, videography AND sound mixer?


Read on for some tips on how to shoot a documentary as a one-person crew…

Day 7 - Dream budget

How would you make your documentary if you had UNLIMITED funds? Take today to write down the rough budget of your dreams... start big and trim down later. 

Wondering what all goes into a documentary budget? Find our free cashflow worksheet and tutorial here.

Day 8 - Set up an LLC

Ideally, every film you make (in the U.S.) should be set up as an LLC (Limited Liability Corporation). The process is easy and affordable, but varies depending on your state. 

Set up an LLC on Bizee for $0 (Partner Link)

If you have additional questions about the legal standing of your documentary, check out our exclusive Documentary Legal & Business Essentials Tool Kit with Entertainment Attorney Gordon P. Firemark.

Day 9 - Nail down your target audience

Who are the TOP 3-5 groups MOST likely to want to see your film? Add this to your one-page proposal.

Day 10 - Research a list of similar documentaries to your own

Who is listed in the credits? Who is the production company, the distributors, the funders?

This is amazing intel for your own project!

Search through our interactive database of 900+ Netflix documentaries inside the Netflix 2024: Selling Your Film To Netflix course. (Searchable by genre, talent, producers and much more!)

Day 11 - Start a fundraising plan

Find that list you made yesterday and identify 5 documentary funds or potential investors. Hint - go back to your target audience for clues on who to reach out to.

Need more help with funding? Check out our exclusive and resource-packed Documentary Pitch Template Package.

Day 12 - Complete your presentable

If you’ve checked off days 1-11, you are more than ready to create a presentable for your documentary. Here are three options that you can complete in one day:

  1. Edit a 30-second concept trailer from stock footage. (Check out sites like Pexels and Pond5 for stock video and audio.) Or create a trailer in 5-minutes using amazing new A.I. tools like inVideo.

  2. Create a 12-page pitch deck (formatted as slides or a pdf) including all of the information you’ve gathered for this challenge. 

  3. Set up a one-page website. 

To create a complete monetization and distribution plan for your documentary, check-out our popular distribution course Documentary Sales & Distribution: How To Sell Your Film

Or enroll in our 7-Day Documentary Crash Course.

And that's it! Your documentary is officially off the ground.

Share Your Progress

In the comment section below, share your commitment to the 12-day challenge and which items you plan to complete in 2024.

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