Those over-dramatic Netflix true-crime shows really are deliciously bingeable. Here’s how to make a documentary in that very style about pretty much anything!
If we counted up all the hours we’d spent watching Netflix shows filled with emotionally fraught recollections and dodgy re-enactments, we’d probably make ourselves sick. But, they’re just so flipping addictive. Shows like Unsolved Mysteries and Don’t F**k With Cats have seemingly become even more popular since the rise of various lockdowns and restrictions. Maybe it’s because it feels like curtain twitching on steroids. Or perhaps it’s our perverse desire to terrify ourselves that reels us back in every single time.
After having watched an entire season of one of these shows, have you ever thought: “I reckon I could do that”? … And I don’t mean, have you ever thought you could carry out some heinous crime and get away with it for 37 years. I mean, have you ever fancied having a crack at creating your own Netflix-style documentary.
If so, it’s much easier than you first may think. Important note – if you’re looking for how to make a documentary akin to Blue Planet or Louis Theroux, this probably isn’t for you.
You Can Make a Netflix-Style Doco About Literally Anything
Hailing from Adelaide in Australia, Paul E.T. creates entertaining videos on YouTube centring around film and television. You can find him giving his amusing take on films and shows over on his channel. Or, you can get the low-down on how and why certain things are done in film and TV. His latest true crumb (thanks) video is a fantastic breakdown of how to achieve the Netflix docuseries effect in your videos.
With the help of a couple decent cameras, some thoughtful lighting and a good amount of creativity, you can create your own hard-hitting docuseries. If you’re a student filmmaker looking for fun ideas for a project, look no further. Funding an indie film or production is often a significant hurdle. Fortunately, Paul E.T. has demonstrated how to achieve Netflix goodness on around just $75.
The key pointers for how to make a documentary á la Netflix appear to be B-roll, and plenty of stock footage. A smattering of cinematic drone footage doesn’t go amiss either. So, now you know the main components, it’s time to get dreaming up the most ridiculous crime to investigate!
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