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How to develop your idea for a documentary

Guardian Masterclasses

Monday, December 9, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (GMT)

How to develop your idea for a documentary

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
How to develop your idea for a documentary   more info Dec 9, 2019 £49.00 £2.83
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Event Details

Discover how to develop, pitch and distribute factual films at this highly informative class with Charlie Phillips, head of documentaries at the Guardian.

If you’ve got an idea for a great documentary, this class will help you get it out of your head and onto the screen. Led by the Guardian’s head of documentaries Charlie Phillips, this highly informative evening demystifies the process of developing, pitching and distributing factual films.

Suitable for filmmakers at any stage of their careers, the class includes up-to-date market information and lots of practical advice on pitching ideas to editors.

Charlie will also discuss what the Guardian is currently doing with documentaries, and how you can get involved.


  • How to grow your idea for a documentary
  • Pitching your idea to commissioning editors
  • Different funding options, including traditional broadcast routes and more experimental DIY options
  • Advice on distribution, marketing and networking
  • Shortform versus longform
  • The future of documentary-making: how to seize the opportunities digital technology has to offer
  • Q&A

Class preparation

  • You’re encouraged to arrive with ideas for documentaries you might like to make, as well as a sense of the style and content of films you enjoy watching. However, this preparation is not essential to attend the class or benefit from it.

Tutor profile

Charlie Phillips is head of documentaries at the Guardian. He was deputy director at Sheffield Doc/Fest for seven years. Prior to that, he was editor of FourDocs for Channel 4. Find him on Twitter here.

All Guardian Masterclasses are fully accessible but please contact us at if you have any queries or concerns.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about How to develop your idea for a documentary? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

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When & Where

The Guardian
Kings Place
90 York Way
N1 9GU London
United Kingdom

Monday, December 9, 2019 from 6:30 PM to 9:30 PM (GMT)

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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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