The expert that is Michael Moore!


Michael Moore’s 13 Rules for Making Documentary Films

The best way to learn about a certain medium or become an expert in a certain area such as film, is to listen to what the existing experts have to say! Michael Moore is a straight talking, non-sugarcoating, passionate American Documentary filmmaker and in this keynote he explains how to go about making films and what people really want to see and feel when they watch your film.

A great learning curve that I have taken from this is how he talks about making a documentary is not any different to making a movie and he asks; why do we separate a fictional movie from a documentary? People don’t go to the cinema and say “I’m going to see a fictional movie” they simply say “I’m going to see a movie!” so why is it so different when it’s a documentary? It’s because we, as filmmakers have a tendency to approach making a documentary differently to how we would approach making a blockbuster. In his opinion, the art of a film comes first and the political views and opinions expressed within the film come second.

What makes people excited about going to the cinema or watching a movie? The idea of them seeing something new that is going to make them feel some kind of emotion. If I, as a filmmaker, show them something they have already seen or tell them something they already know, they will leave the cinema wondering why they have just wasted an hour of their lives being lectured on something they already know! The point Moore is making is that a documentary shouldn’t be like a lecture, presume people already have a notion about what is going on in the world and then add to it with new information that they don’t see on their television screens on a daily basis.

The main point made in this advice from Moore is that people want to be entertained. Create a movie that will evoke all kinds of emotion whether it be anger(over the issue, not because the movie was bad!), laughter, sadness, etc. just make sure they leave with some sort of feeling, a feeling that will make them want to tell others to go and watch it too!

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