FAQ - Frequently asked questions about the consultation service.

Adele Schmidt - Documentary Coach

Zeitgeist Media



I am already researching for my new documentary and I am about to write a proposal. Is it a good time to talk about strategy?

The earlier you discuss your project and map out your filming strategy, the better for the documentary. You will save your time and money in production and post-production if you go in with a clear road map for your film. Have you thought about structure? Have you determined your storytelling tools that will help you drive your story forward? Contact me and we will create a road map for your film.


“I have already shot a good amount of footage, but I am not sure what else is needed, or if I need more footage at all. When do I stop shooting and when do I start editing?”

There are certain indicators that tell you that you have filmed sufficient material and that you may start your edit. We’ll find out for your project.


Before you start editing:

“Now that I have shot all the footage, how do I best organize the material in order to come up with a first rough cut? To be honest, I am overwhelmed. Is there a methodology or strategy for how to get a handle on the material?”

Yes, there is. When editing a documentary, filmmakers commonly start editing in an intuitive way, rather than mapping out the story arc in advance. The consequence: It takes several rough cuts to find the storyline and filmmakers waste time and energy when it could have been easier with a clear roadmap in their hands. Talk to your coach and let’s strategize a road map for your film that saves you time and money.

During the editing process:

“I have a rough cut but it seems that there is no progression in the film. What’s wrong?”

If that happens it is often a problem of structure.

“I have a great start, but then the film seems to start again and again. What’s wrong?”

If that happens it is often a problem of structure.

“I wanted to do a meaningful film but it seems that my message doesn’t come across. What’s wrong?”

If that happens it might be a problem of setting priorities.

Getting to the final cut:

“I am almost done, have shown the film to family and friends and even did some screenings, but I am not 100% sure if this is the last cut. Is my film finished?” 

There are clear indications when a film is finished.

My finished film:

I have come to the conclusion that my film is finished but I think that it still needs some minor fixing. Can you help?

Yes, I will watch your film and write a detailed review and will give you suggestions to improve the film. In a follow up phone call we will discuss the suggestions and also questions that you might have.


I am finished. What’s next? Festivals? Distributor? Self-distribution?

It is a time to be innovative with your distribution strategy and to take advantage of the opportunities in the new digital space. As an independent filmmaker there are more options for developing, producing and distributing independent films than ever before.

Through the rapid growth of new technology we are seeing an advancement everyday of audience outreach abilities and evolved delivery systems. It is essential to have a clearly defined target audience and a road map for your niche markets. Talk to your coach and we will find out what outreach approach is best for your film.

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