Loading Docs: Impact
Submission FAQs

Can I submit multiple proposals?

Yes you can, but bear in mind that we’re looking for ideas that are well developed and feasible within the time frame and budget, so it’s best to focus on developing one or two ideas well rather than taking a scattergun approach.

What makes a good pitch proposal?

A good pitch proposal has a really clear concept and creative vision. It’s short so don’t waste time. Hook us to your idea in the first paragraph; we should immediately understand what your film is about. Then back it up with further details about the protagonists, why it’s an important story and how you plan to bring your vision to life on screen.

Examples of previous work and visual references that demonstrate your creative vision are extremely useful.

A major consideration is whether your project can be realised within the timeframe and budget available. Carefully consider whether you can achieve your vision on the budget and if access and permissions are necessary, we require evidence that these have been secured.

How much filmmaking experience do I need to have?

Loading Docs is an initiative that aims to give filmmakers who have some filmmaking experience the opportunity to create work that will challenge, inspire and captivate audiences and within some major constraints.  The initiative is not aimed at students. However, if you are a less-experienced filmmaker with a really great idea we still want to hear from you, and if you are successful in being shortlisted at the first phase the Loading Docs team will discuss how you might be supported with experienced crew or mentors.

For students and young people in New Zealand keen to make short documentaries we recommend two other fantastic filmmaking initiatives: Inspiring Stories and Outlook for Someday.

What kind of stories is Loading Docs looking for?

This year’s theme of IMPACT is the clue, we want inspire stories that ignite change, spark debate and challenge the status quo, exciting audiences with the power of New Zealand stories. We are particularly interested in telling local stories that celebrate the change-making power of documentary. We hope to have a range of filmmakers who are as diverse as the range of stories they will tell. In particular we are seeking proposals that speak to Māori, Pasifika and Asian perspectives. There is also provision for a documentary in te reo Māori to complete the collection.

After four years distribution experience we have an understanding of the type of documentaries that most appeal. There is no doubt, the most successful shorts to date relate to a current media story or speak to a societal issue and this will continue to be a key focus moving forward. So think about who the audience is for your story, what they are interested in and why they will want to watch it.

Just like a well-written pitch proposal that hooks from the first words, Loading Docs films must hook from the first frame. They have a strong sense of purpose, offering a concentrated story while delivering to a big picture suitable to generate public interest and media engagement.

Grant Smithies summed up our documentaries perfectly in the Sunday Star Times: “They do not muck around, honing in fast on a key issue, a telling moment, am abiding obsession, a turning point in someone’s life, and illuminating their subject with the bright quick clarity of a flashbulb.”

Why do I need an Impact Partner?

Forming partnerships is an increasingly essential skill for filmmakers. A filmmaker today needs to be able to broker partnerships and often is required to engage support from multiple sources to get work made. The advantages of having support from partners may provide research, access, funds and/or audience. Beyond that, creating work that aligns with wider issues in public discourse can grow your reach and relevance substantially.

Why does my film have to be 3-minutes long?

The three-minute format is really important. We chose this duration after research online and discussion with the funders as well as experts in this field. 3-minutes really is a magic number when it comes to online films, (particularly if you’re watching on a mobile device), and we want Loading Docs films to be viewed and shared as widely as possible.

3-minutes has been the focus of this initiative all along. We know that some may find the length a restriction but achieving any specified duration has its difficulties, we encourage you to embrace this challenge and use the 3-minute constraint to be creative with documentary storytelling.

Why do I need to raise money for my film through crowdfunding?

In addition to making incredible films, an important objective for Loading Docs is to support filmmakers to become more skilled in fundraising, marketing and outreach.

Crowdfunding is a valuable tool to enable filmmakers to connect with audiences who are truly invested and interested in their work, and to start a journey that an audience can be actively involved in.

Loading Docs filmmakers will run a crowdfunding campaign with the goal to raise $2000, when that target is met, Loading Docs will give each team $2000 towards production costs. That means that each successful campaign will raise at least $4,000.  Many of the previous documentaries have achieved much more than the prescribed amount.

What is the commitment, should I be accepted to create a Loading Docs documentary?

This project’s obvious outcome is to produce 3-minute documentaries but there is so much more we aim to do. We demand a commitment not only to deliver excellent films, but also to take part in activities designed to develop your skills. Including forming rewarding partnerships, identifying, targeting and connecting with audiences and increasing your understanding of marketing and distribution strategies in the current media climate.

Key commitments:

  • Attend a 2-day story development workshop in April
  • Run a crowd funding campaign on Boosted
  • Attend a 2-day workshop in September
  • Work closely with the Loading Docs Executive Producers to develop the documentary
  • Receive feedback on shoot scripts
  • Receive feedback throughout the editing process
  • Deliver and implement a marketing and distribution plan

Promoting your work is a key element of this initiave. It does take time to get online and promote your stuff. But we will give you tools and strategies to approach the task logically and achieve the most impact not just for this 3-minute film but also for your entire career.

Have a read of the Terms and Conditions to understand more about the process and contracting.

Who owns the documentaries?

All films remain the intellectual property of the filmmakers and Loading Docs retains the rights to distribute promote the films for a minimum period of three years.

Where do they go?

The documentaries are primarily distributed online via Loading Docs’ Vimeo channel and on TVNZ OnDemand, but are freely available to share and embed. This means that the films collectively support each other’s success.

Over the last three years, Loading Docs shorts have premiered at the NZIFF, received wide publicity through TVNZ and OnDemand, featured on high profile sites such as Short of the Week, Upworthy, National Geographic, Great Big Story, The Atlantic, The Daily Mail and Huffington Post and played in international film festivals. You can even watch Loading Docs films on international Air New Zealand flights.

What happens after my Loading Doc short is released?
You become part of the incredible community of alumni within the Loading Docs Talent collective.

After your Loading Docs work is launched to the world, we work hard in Loading Docs HQ to continue to support your growth as filmmakers. This includes providing career development opportunities and supporting the development and creation of new work should you want our help.

We are here to help create new paths for documentary filmmakers in Aotearoa and have a fervent commitment to see you succeed.