Filmmaking may sound like a prestigious job. In fact, mention that you’re a filmmaker to a layman and they would automatically think you must be doing pretty good for yourself. But like most in the industry know, it’s not all sweet.


Finding work as a documentary filmmaker specifically means knowing who your potential clients are. Aside from presenting quality work, it means making sure you hit up the right people who have the capacity to hire you.


Here are 7 places you can check out for potential work.


Traditional Media Channels (Magazines, Community, Public Television Stations etc.)

Most places who work in a journalistic style will often have a great need for documentary content. Although the old school TV news style is still favored, newer stations now produce run-and-gun documentary type content especially if they’re looking to share their content on social media during crucial times.



How To Get the Gig:

You can cold call or email these places directly. Of course, networking is also helpful and ideal. If you know anyone who works in the newsroom or helps with digital content, ask for an appointment. Make sure to bring your demo reel or other examples that would fit with the type of work they do. Also, prepare to bring in pitches to increase up your chances of landing a gig.


Advertising Agencies and Branded Content

Local ad agencies, companies or even personalities who are looking for branded content often turn to documentary-style films for a more personal flair to their brand. These are some of the most lucrative gigs today for a documentary filmmaker. You can work with individual companies, whole organizations or just be hired to shoot by a creative agency or marketing firm. Generally, you’ll be selling a product, service or showcasing a brand.



How To Get The Gig:

Like most gigs, sometimes getting your foot at the door means knowing someone who can help you in. However, don’t worry, most companies and agencies are open to you introducing yourself. If you’re lucky, you should be able to land meetings so you can present your work.


Nonprofits and Other Caused-Focused Projects

Having a cause for your documentary films are even more rewarding. If you can get paid to do documentary films like this, especially if it’s a cause you believe in, it’ll be even more rewarding.

Most non-profits and specific organizations often champion these types of projects. The goal is to spread information or bring a change. Sometimes these can be in the form of shorts or even full-length films. Even if projects like these won’t end up the most high-paying, they can be more fulfilling to do.



How To Get The Gig:

Getting projects from groups like this can sometimes take some luck. But if you’re passionate about a certain cause, you can always find a counterpart locally. You can offer your services in case they need some film work done.


Winning Grants

Getting grants is another way to get funding for the video or film you want to create. Although it’s not the most simple way of getting funding since it requires so much work, it can prove a great experience. Be warned though that grants are often awarded to those with the most experience. So be sure to build up your resume and show off your past projects to show you can be trusted with the grant money and to finish the project.

How To Get The Gig:

Research which grants you would qualify for and from there, you can begin the application process.