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The DocFix Documentary Storytelling Podcast
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The DocFix Documentary Storytelling Podcast

Author: Nigel Levy

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Are you struggling to turn your idea into a great documentary story? This podcast takes you through the steps that world-class documentary makers use to create compelling documentaries from real-life ideas. 

Whether it's for Netflix, The BBC, or Amazon, or you are just starting out, great storytelling is what your audience craves - it's the foundation of every successful documentary.
 
Award-winning documentary maker Nigel Levy goes behind the scenes to discuss the key story skills behind some of the most successful documentaries and factual series screened, including those in which he's had a key role. These include the Netflix hit F1: Drive to Survive, Natural History - writing for Sir David Attenborough - numerous feature documentaries and his TV docs The Language Master and Fatal Attractions. 

You'll hear from writers, directors, and creatives working at the highest level in the industry. Ideas are easy; stories are like magic. Listen and understand why. There's really no need for any of this to be a mystery anymore.

11 Episodes
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When we sat down to talk, John Mathieson and just returned from shooting Gladiator 2 with Ridley Scott in Malta. He was part of the orignal team, having wenty-five years earlier shot the original iconic film. Afer that first collaboration he was the cinematographer for numerous films for Scott, including Kingdom of Heaven, Hannibal and Robin Hood. He also photographed the superhero film closest to being art, the Wolverine film 'Logan'. Other projects include The Man Fro...
The art of documentary storytelling is not a static skill, but a journey with distinct milestones. I'm Nigel Levy, your guide through the labyrinth of crafting compelling narratives, and this episode of DocFix Documentary Storytelling Podcast is your roadmap. This is about unearthing the universal skills that will elevate your craft regardless of your starting point. From the spark of excitement when you stumble upon a great story, to the daunting task of sifting through a mou...
This episode it a little different, as it's a converation between myself and James, a student of the DocFix Program.James' background is in drama, and later as part of the marketing department of Lionsgate Films, a very large US entertainment company and film producer and distributor. James came to us with his passion project, and his first documentary, to learn how to turn his idea into a powerful, meaningful story. This, by the way, is great evidence that the success of your film comes...
Birger Clausen, the composer, is one of my closest collaborators, most recently on the two-time Emmy nominated (including for music and sound) and RTS winning 9/11: Life Under Attack.In this episode we talk about many things - the relationship with the composer, mood and storytelling, the use of specific effects and the avoidance of cliche, trends in the industry and even the impact of Artificial Intelligence.But, in this episode, it struck me that a key aspect was understanding the reality o...
When Col Goudie joined me as the editor on a documentary I was directing about the one-legged World War 2 flying ace Douglas Bader, they turned up in a flying jacket and walking on crutches with a limp.It was a co-incidence. Col is brilliant, but not that method! But it does indicate something of the enthusiasm and passion of this hugely successful documentary and drama editor. As an editor, Col’s fingerprints are on everything from the blockbuster success of Star Wars Rogue One, the ind...
This conversation tells the tale behind the meerkat soap opera superstars, a venture that started as a documentary idea and blossomed into a series with a massive following (fans include Tom Cruise and Robert Redford). The series creator Caroline Hawkins takes us from conception to realization, involving a trip to Cambridge University, convincing a meerkat expert, and the challenges of shooting in the wild. This is an insight into the reality of the creator's journey.We also discuss how...
Have you ever wondered what it takes to turn a simple idea into a captivating documentary? It shouldn't be a surprise that it all boils down to the art of storytelling.This mini episode outlines the four-step process that allows you to take an idea and develop it into a real story - a documentary that is meaningful, memorable and has an impact. This is how storytellers have to think. There are great documentary makers who have succeeded without a process or a system, but often, it's because t...
Many years ago, I was in the theatre watching a play about The Troubles (the horrific violence and conflict endemic in Northern Ireland). I had no connection to those events, and yet that play was one of the most engaging and thrilling dramatic experiences I have had - in a theatre or on film.The writer of that work is Gary Mitchell, a writer who transformed his working-class upbringing into a successful career as a playwright and screenwriter. In our conversation, Gary details his...
One of the most significant documentaries in recent times was made by Henry Singer. He took an image of the horror of the 9/11 terror attack on the Twin Towers in New York - The Falling Man - and turned it into a powerful story about... well, exactly how that story came to be is one thing we cover in our conversation. Along the way, we share Henry's experiences, his father's expectations, and his transition into journalism and filmmaking. We reveal the 'magic' of making a seq...
Ben Turner is one of the creative minds behind Fulwell 73. This production powerhouse is responsible for global hit entertainment shows like The Kardashians, James Corden's Late Late Show, Carpool Karaoke, music series with Ed Sheeran, stadium events with Elton John and sports series such as Sunderland 'Til I Die - the series on which he and I first met. This conversation is a rare insight into the storytelling behind some of the most successful TV shows in modern broadcasti...
Hello, Nigel Levy here, and welcome to this podcast series. It's been created to explore the simplest yet most powerful way to create meaningful documentary stories. Storytelling in documentaries is something that seems to exist between drama techniques and instinct. But it is its own discipline, with specific skills and techniques that exist to take reality, something you care about, and create stories with impact.If you get it wrong, you have documentaries that are no more than a ...
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