Moonshine Moonshot Blog

Why I'm making the 'How to make a documentary film' series

Nov 08, 2022

Why I'm making the 'How to make a documentary film' series 

I was speaking to a filmmaker friend the other day who (kindly) mentioned that they’d been following along with the How to develop your documentary or narrative film series. 

 I was pretty chuffed to say the least. Because that’s the whole reason this series is being created. So that people who want and need this information can find it.

Come on a little trip down memory lane with me.  Why did the the Moonshine Communications Academy get started in the first place?  

It’s been created the team behind Moonshine Agency, an impact film production house producing films that have a positive social impact.  Impact films are films that are designed to take an audience from passive viewing to being an active participant, it gets them doing something, getting involved and being part of the solution. 


Sue Collins (that’s me) and Mike Hill recognise that learning how to craft films is a challenging process.  When I was just starting out it was really hard to find information and learn about filmmaking without formal study or without being under the wing of a mentor.  Avoiding the pitfalls, being pigeon holed, running out of funding or simply not understanding the business side of the Industry has meant that over the years Mike and I have seen many people, with a lot of talent, give up or simply move onto more stable work.  

Our hope is to see the industry thrive here in Australia and beyond and we recognise that to do that, we have to be more open with skills sharing.

So we’ve decided to share more of what we’ve learned through many years of film making through the Moonshine Moonshot series and with online courses at the Moonshine Communications Academy.

What’s coming next in the Moonshine Moonshot series? 

And not just  ‘what is the next episode covering’ but what’s install for the series over the coming months. 

So just like your high school teacher or uni lecturer would provide you with a syllabus at the start of each term or semester, this is what’s coming up in the How to make a documentary or narrative film series. 

Behold, everything I’ll be tackling on the series to ensure you come out the other side with a fully formed, ready for release film or documentary. 

But first …what’s already been covered? 

 Let’s take a few step backwards to begin, just in case you’re new to this site and haven’t engaged with parts 1, 2, 3 or 4. 

Firstly, I’ve created the How to make a documentary or narrative film series to help you take your brilliant idea and turn it into a beautiful, moving, impactful film (the name of the series ain’t lying!). 

In short, i'll be sharing all aspects of the filmmaking process – think ideation, planning, financing pre production, production, post production and distribution. 

There’s even a few episodes dedicated to your mindset, so you understand how to stay focused on the end goal and keep your motivation in check. 

So far, I’ve looked at …. 


Ie How do you get to know the story you want to tell?

I walk you through how to figure out your genre, get clear on your topic and fully immerse yourself in your story’s world. I even share some tips on setting up your work space to keep your creative juices flowing. 

You can catch Part 1 now by clicking the links below 

Watch | Read | Listen 


 Before your eyes glaze over, hear me out! There are huge benefits to planning, even if it doesn’t come naturally to you. As Benjamin Franklin said “By failing to plan, you are preparing to fail” 

It's a seriously important mantra for all filmmakers to follow. 

In this episode, I reveal how to define your target audience, how to determine your film’s duration and how to set a release date. I even share the go-to formula I use every time I begin planning my impact films to ensure I hit my targets. 

You can tune in now. 

Watch | Read | Listen 

Conquering Imposter Syndrome 

In this episode, I share how to combat the dreaded Imposter Syndrome. You know – those anxiety-inducing questions that run wild in your mind telling you that you’re “not good enough” or simply stumbled into filmmaking out of “sheer luck”. 

It’s brutal and almost every filmmaker has faced it at some point in their career. Which is why I wanted to take some time to unpack Imposter Syndrome and provide a few ways to manage it. So that it doesn’t take hold and paralyse you during the creation process.

Check it out via these links. 

Watch | Read | Listen 

Staying motivated 

Because there are definitely times in filmmaking, or any pursuit really, where it feels impossible, thankless or just crushing.  

There have have been occasions where  I find myself daydreaming about abandoning the camera, ripping up my storyboards and going to work on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. 

But I have found a way to weather the storm and keep pushing through – even when the going gets tough. And in this episode I share some of the techniques that help me stay focused when my motivation is waning. 

Here are the links so you can get stuck in. 

Watch | Read | Listen 

And now – what lies ahead

Over the next several weeks (in all honestly, it could be months – a lot of time and energy goes into developing a documentary or narrative film!), I’ll be zoning into the following topic areas. 

  •  How to attach finance 


  •  How to craft a film proposal that will attract funders 


  •  How to pitch that proposal 


  •  How to create a film teaser 

From there we’ll move into Pre Production and all the steps you need to follow, then onto Production, Post Production and Distribution and outreach.  So much to share with you so this could take us months and months. 

Phew. It's a lot, right? And that’s because a lot goes into making a documentary. But I know you have the story, skills and drive to do it. 

So stick wth me and let’s take that little nugget of an idea you have and craft it to an incredible moving picture that changes hearts, minds, even the world. 

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