We're Sue Collins & Mike Hill and we help upcoming filmmakers learn the steps to create incredible documentary films all the way from ideation to the silver screen so that their films are completed and they go on to have successful and fulfilling careers.
Guessing you landed on this page because you want to know how we learned to do it.
Years ago, after a stretch of creating pop culture films, Mike and Sue embarked on a new journey. Inspired by the idea that health care should be equitable for all, no matter where you lived, the pair put their filmmaking skills to work to shine a light on an area of medicine called palliative care. Palliative care makes an enormous diffidence to the lives of the recipients no matter where they are in the world.
A new project Life Before Death was born. But this project was different for Sue and Mike. Because as they went out on the independent filmmaking road alone. They discovered that producing this kind of documentary couldn’t be done in the usual way. Broadcasters weren’t going to commission the project, film festivals weren’t going to support their approach so they had to find a new way to reach audiences and to share their message.
GOING IT ALONE
Sharing the message wasn’t the only thing on their minds.
Sue and Mike wanted the film to do more than entertain its audiences.
The film needed to inspire people, fire them up, and make them want to do something.
They wanted to create a movement.
But the usual way of producing documentaries didn’t allow for this kind of engagement.
Sue and Mike found themselves as newbie impact filmmakers and it was like starting again from scratch. They had to learn about things like self-distribution and outreach. Not to mention how to find funding when the usual doors were all shut.
But, with the era of social media booming and new kid on the block YouTube growing wings.
Suddenly the sky was the limit.
Once they overcame the financial hurdle- no mean feat! And learned who (organisations, philanthropist and NGOs) to pitch to for funding (not broadcasters, film funds or Netflix - well it kind of didn’t really exist yet,at least not as a streaming platform).
Not to mention learning how to market the film themselves, build an audience from scratch and create distribution pathways so that people could actually see the film.
Ahhhh, so much stuff to learn… and no one teaching it…
That one film lead them down the road to start Moonshine Agency - an impact film production house specialising in films that make a positive social impact. And now, 13 years on with almost a dozen impact film campaigns, as well as hundreds of short films, it’s safe to say they have expertise in all things documentary.
And now Sue and Mike want to help other filmmakers succeed.
They’re seeing too many budding filmmakers out there that have the talent, and the ability but they just don’t have the support or guidance to get their films finished and successfully in front of audiences.
You may have the creative ability and filmmaking skills already, but if you don’t want to work for other people and realise their projects while yours get left on the shelf. Then you’ll need to go it alone too.
But that means you’ll need to learn how to raise the finance, produce, distribute, market, manage a team, budget or all the other aspects of producing a film. Notice there was no mention the craft - writing, directing and all the really creative stuff, you need to know that too.
Add in self-distribution and audience building and, well, it’s a lot to learn. Especially if you’re in it because you ‘just want to make a film’.
Wowzas… now you see why Sue and Mike want to help out. Through courses and content here on the Moonshine Communications Academy you can learn all these skills. So stick around and explore and reach out if you have any questions.
A question for you to ponder.
Do you want to be a filmmaker, or are you making a film?
Either way, you’re in the right place so let's get started- check out the resources here.Heck yes!
"The Moonshine team are passionate about telling important stories through film. They have been an excellent partner to work with on our cervical cancer prevention projects."
"Mike and Sue are the most wonderful film makers. They have worked with our students to build "digital stories", and in doing so have shown their innate ability to connect with, build trust with, and understand the subjects of their films."