Loading Docs: Impact
Submission FAQs

What makes a good proposal?

A good proposal provides a really clear statement on what the story of your film is and the creative vision you will use to communicate it.

It confirms to you and others that you not only have a good subject, but you have a good story, one that you can tell in a way that will interest others. An effective pitch delivers both story and topic.

It’s short so don’t waste time. Hook us with your idea in the first paragraph; we should immediately understand what your film is about. Then back it up with further context, why it’s important and how you plan to bring your vision to life on screen.

Visual references that demonstrate your creative vision are extremely useful, as are examples of previous work.

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

Can I submit multiple proposals?

Yes, you can, but bear in mind that we’re looking for ideas and stories that are well developed and feasible within the timeframe and budget.

How much filmmaking experience do I need to have?

Loading Docs supports filmmakers from all spectrums of experience.

The emphasis is on selecting those with a commitment to the craft of documentary. Selected participants may be new to documentary but have experience in the wider storytelling industries.

We hope to select a range of filmmakers who are as diverse as the range of stories they will be told. In particular we are seeking proposals that speak to Māori, Pasifika and Pan-Asian perspectives. There is also provision for a documentary in Te Reo Māori.

The initiative is not aimed at students. However, if you are a less-experienced filmmaker with a 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.

Do I need a producer?

Yes, the key creative team on your Loading Doc short must include a Producer.

It is essential that your team consists of someone who can handle the planning, budgeting, implementation and support for the journey from inception through crowdfunding and distribution. If you do not have a producer at the time of submission your idea will still be considered, however should your documentary be selected Loading Docs will work with you to secure the best producer for you and your project.

Does my submission have to address the theme?

The theme is there to inspire universal stories that celebrate the change-making power of documentary or harness the emotional power to move the audience, as well as providing a thematic umbrella for the collection of short documentaries.

Use the theme of POWER as a starting point. Keep in mind that a great short documentary often depends on a strong character or a unique story that has not yet been told, or that could not be told by anyone else.

Why do I need an Impact Partner?

Forming partnerships is an essential skill for filmmakers. A filmmaker today needs to be able to broker partnerships and engage support from multiple sources to get work made and ensure it reaches the audiences, particularly online.

The advantages of having support from partners may be to provide research, access, funds and/or audience. Beyond that, creating work that aligns with wider issues in public discourse can grow the reach and relevance of your work.

What duration will my short be?

When LOADING DOCS launched its first collection of three-minute documentaries in 2014, the online media landscape in Aotearoa was very different, with little to no original Kiwi short docs online. Things have changed. Now audiences have embraced the concept of short form video content and expectations are high for local stories to be world class.

Recognising this maturing of audiences in 2019 Loading Docs is moving away from a fixed three-minute duration. Instead you will be given flexibility to deliver docs between three and eight minutes. In your submission form you will be asked to identify the length you think will be best for your story. If selected your short will undergo creative development in the first workshop. It is at this point that you will, in conjunction with the project mentors, determine the length of your short.

Each short will receive a maximum production contribution from Loading Docs of $5,500 regardless of duration.

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

Each Loading Doc must run a crowdfunding campaign through Boosted where you must raise a minimum of $2,500.

As well as raising funds to push projects forward and helping storytellers to hone their ability to talk about their projects, crowdfunding is a valuable tool to enable filmmakers to connect with audiences who are truly invested and interested in their work. These are the core audience who share the documentary once released.

Over the five years of participating in crowdfunding we have had some amazing success, with many of the previous Loading Docs documentaries securing much more funding than the targeted amount.

What is the total budget?

Loading Docs will provide a maximum financial contribution of $5,500 production funding to each short. The contribution will be the same whether your film is three minutes long or eight minutes long.

Including the $2,500 crowdfunding target, the total budget for your short will be $8,000.

The colour grade and sound-mix delivered by Department of Post is provided for each documentary at no cost to the production.

What is the commitment?

Participating in Loading Docs requires the delivery of an excellent film, but also to take part in activities designed to develop professional skills and provide new opportunities for your career development. These include forming rewarding partnerships, identifying, targeting and connecting with audiences and increasing understanding of marketing and distribution strategies in the current media climate.

The specific commitments are:

  • Attend a two-day story development workshop 16 and 17 February 2019.
  • Run a crowdfunding campaign on Boosted in March/April.
  • Attend a two-day distribution workshop in
  • Work closely with the Loading Docs Executive Producers to develop the documentary.
  • Receive feedback on shoot scripts.
  • Receive feedback throughout the editing process.
  • Achieve picture lock on your short by 24 June 2019.
  • Deliver and implement a marketing and distribution plan for launch in August 2019.

Promoting your work is a key element of this initiative. It does take time to get online and promote your stories. But we will give you tools and strategies to approach the task logically with a view to achieve the most impact for you and your work.

Who owns the documentaries?

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

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

Where do they go?

The documentaries are primarily distributed online via the Loading Docs’ website, Facebook, Vimeo 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 five 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.

Finding audiences for our shorts and your work is the aim and we look forward to connecting with new platforms and audiences in 2019. 

What happens after my Loading Doc short is released?

You become part of the incredible community of alumni within the Loading Docs Talent collective. This collective seeks to provide career development opportunities and support 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.