How does one get on a list of potential interviewees by documentary filmmakers?

by Ken

Question: I am wanting to grow my audience group concerning the topics that I write and lecture on. I have been told that documentary filmmakers are always needing qualified interviewees and that they talk to each other to help find interviewees. It seemed like a win-win if I could get a few documentary interviews under my belt to grow my audience while the filmmaker got the interview that (s)he needed for the documentary.

Desktop Documentaries | Answer

Thanks for your question, Ken. Hmmmm, not sure where you got your information about documentary filmmakers because it doesn't exactly work like that. There are so many variables involved in how interviews are chosen for documentaries. If you are a known "expert" in your field, then there is a decent chance you will get approached if a filmmaker happens to be making a documentary in your area of expertise. But that's the thing. Documentaries are incredibly difficult (time consuming and expensive) to make. And each documentary has its own angle... and what are the chances that a filmmaker will randomly choose a documentary about your topic?

So if you're waiting for a filmmaker to approach you for an interview, you could end up waiting a very long time.

The fastest way to get interviewed for a documentary is to make the documentary yourself. You could even commission a mini-documentary that's only 5-7 minutes long. Here's an article about how to find filmmakers to help you.

If you're looking to grow your audience, that's beyond the expertise of this website. But if you want to build your credibility through video/documentary, I recommend finding a talented filmmaker who can do a "profile story" on you.. kind of a mini-documentary about you and what you're about.. and that will help people to understand who you are and where you're coming from.

Another thing you could do is produce a "series" of short informational web videos each on a topic in your area of expertise. It could be as simple as you standing in front of the camera for a minute. When people (including filmmakers, reporters, public, etc) are researching a topic in your field, you video will show up in Google searches and that helps establish you as an expert.

Oh, there is one thing I remember hearing about. Yes, there are services out there that connect experts with reporters and others in the media (which, yes, may include documentary filmmakers). Services such as is one. I'm sure there are many others that you can find with just a little bit of research.

Anyone else have ideas for Ken? Please comment below...

Comments for How does one get on a list of potential interviewees by documentary filmmakers?

Click here to add your own comments

Jun 05, 2022
How do you find a list of people who want to be interviewed regarding a certain topic?
by: Victor

I'm making a documentary about the War on Drugs, and I'll be conducting a whole investigation, looking at the history of how the idea came into being, the effects, global context, stuff like that. But I want to find someone to have an online interview with, so I can have a personal opinion and experience on this topic. Where do I find someone like that?

Jun 22, 2013
Journalist Resources (for "expert" quotes)
by: Faith

Two resources that connect journalists with experts (for quotes and interviews):

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Ask a Question.

7 Day Documentary Crash Course

Ready To Make Your Dream Documentary?

Sign up for our exclusive 7-day crash course and learn step-by-step how to make a documentary from idea to completed movie! 

Return Home