The Documentary Studio System

These days people ask me what I do for a living and my answer is often muddled. My career history says documentary filmmaker - and that is a label the general public can accept. But my future - and my heart - says storyteller, a label that sounds whimsical and unprofessional. But for me, it's an umbrella term that includes forms of documentary-making, but also journalism, graphic design, marketing, social media, animation, and comics. The language of story, even non-ficition story, is evolving. The lines blur and you would be a professional dodo bird if you did not tap into some of the merging media forms. There are new titles such as interactive documentary producer or comic journalist. And I am happy, no ecstatic, to cross over. But there is a darker, more cynical reason, why I move away from documentary film, and film journalist and critic Jennifer Merin spells it out pitch perfect. If you truly want to understand the documentary world, read her article The Documentary Studio System. Read it and weep.