The effort to develop, finance and produce a documentary of just one hour involves, at least, one year of work by a team, as well as the financial funds to carry it out. I often receive projects with an eventual universal possibilities but raised in a local way and therefore, waste an enormous potential to travel.
No matter how romantic our impulse to shot, it would be unwise to do so without a minimum strategy, more or less clear objectives and an analysis of the interest this story may have (apart from ourselves, of course).
Whether our film is for all audiences or not, we must remember that we live in a globalized world. Today we have access with the same facility to films produced by our neighbor, as by a creator from the other side of the planet. Our films, as the products travel more and more. It is highly probable that our film is more interesting to a global minority than to a local majority. That is why it is worth studying what aspects limit or expand the possibilities that our film arouses interest beyond our locality.
The first element to keep in mind is the strength of the story that our documentary shows. The simple observation of a character’s work is not a story itself and its dramatic pillars will not be solid enough to catch a demanding viewer. It is necessary to make visible the events that change the lives of our characters, in short, their conflict.
There are universal dramatic elements that work beyond one or the other, generation or latitude. Resources such as humour, sadness, the spirit of overcoming a character awaken our attention without geographical limits.
There are also universal themes such as death, revenge, war, love and lack of love, artistic creation or injustices that will be understood beyond the cultural codes of each filmmaker.
A recurring error when proposing a documentary is to take for granted some knowledge (historical, socioeconomic or geographical) in the viewer from which our history is based. These are elements that must be taken into account in order for a global spectator to connect with our story. Often, this is solved by suppressing elements or subplots that distract us or risk taking the viewer off the main story.
Obviously documentaries that do not intend to impose a view or opinion, and let the viewer make their own conclusions will enable a more universal reception than those who work in a more militant line.
In short, it is important to apply to ourselves what we as spectators already put into practice and it is a look that transcends our own geography and cultural referents. There are still few Spanish documentaries that travel in relation to those that do not. That a documentary gets internationally distributing is an achievement for the producer to which opens possibilities to alliances with other producers, but above all, for the author, that connects him with an infinitely wider audience multiplying the possibilities of finding his most natural and enthusiastic audience.