This is news. I just launched a Patreon page to support my documentary filmmaking. Patreon is a way that supporters of my work can subscribe for a monthly payment that allows me to continue making films!
If you are a fan of my documentaries, or just of me personally, and you want to help me pay the bills while I make these films, please subscribe over at patreon.com/nicnakis
There’s actually a lot more to it than you might think. Making a documentary feature film is NOTHING like making off-the-cuff YouTube videos or Instagram reels.
Each film typically begins with years (!) of development. That’s the time to research the subject, get to know the people at the heart of it, and develop the story & concepts for the film. Then, it must be both written & filmed. WIth my documentaries, these two processes happen simultaneously. I write some themes, titles, taglines, and outlines. Then, I film some content. Then, I write further treatments and outlines based on that footage, gathering more footage to flesh out the ideas. From those materials, I will start to develop a script.
WIth an evolving script in hand, I begin to edit the film. This is a tedious and laborious process. My most recent film took me 1200+ hours to create (and I’m not even bothering to track hours on the next one). First comes the broad strokes of editing scenes & piecing them into the bigger story. Then, there’s the refinement and polishing. Not only does each scene have to work within itself, but each needs to fit together into the larger whole. As a Patreon supporter, you’ll get access to deeper insights into my working process and even rough cuts of my works-in-progress.
Once the film is 90% there, I have to consider music and graphics. Typically, those are distinct professions (or entire teams) themselves. On my films, it’s pretty much just me.
With a coherent story, all the great visuals, cuts that time up correctly, sound that fits the mood, and graphics that fill-in the blanks, it’s time to do the finishing work. That means bringing in some outside help for image correction and audio sweetening. Then there are all the delivery requirements for streaming or discs… that’s a whole lot of stuff I don’t want to get into here, but suffice it to say that it all costs money.
As you can tell, the process of creating a documentary is a handful of days of really fun stuff when you’re filming, followed by hundreds of days of really hard work to bring it all to life. It all takes time and it all costs money (for software, equipment, electricity bills, meals, plane tickets, & don’t forget the Continuity & Dialogue Script List!) This is why I’ve had to develop a three-stage revenue model.
“What is this three-stage revenue model?” I hear you ask.
- Patrons on Patreon to support the ongoing work
- Sponsors for each individual film, who receive logo placement and other considerations in the film
- Streams & downloads (or DVD/Blu-Ray purchases) of the final film once it is completed and available on the market
Just like a rocket to the moon, these three stages will help me get off the ground and take flight.
That’s the how and why of it. Do you think Patreon is a worthy cause for me to pursue in my filmmaking endeavors? Well, good, I do too. Please head over to patreon.com/nicnakis and sign up for one of my membership tiers.