Interactive documentary: a how-to guide

Following the news that Christian Aid’s ‘Big River Rising’ documentary has been shortlisted for a digital media award, multimedia press officer Emma Wigley provides tips on how to create an interactive documentary.

| 28th Feb 13
Its 'Big River Rising' documentary was a success
Its 'Big River Rising' documentary was a success
Its ‘Big River Rising’ documentary was a success

An interactive documentary is a concept which uses a range of different medias to convey a story.  Christian Aid’s ‘Big River Rising’ documentary received extensive media coverage and has been shortlisted for a One World Media award in the digital media award category. Following this news, multimedia press officer at Christian Aid, Emma Wigley, provides some tips on creating an interactive documentary:

  • Have a strong narrative. The story should be personal, affecting viewers on an emotional level. Show viewers how their donations can impact one person’s life.
  • Plan ahead. For the purposes of filming your documentary, so that it runs smoothly. Also think about which media outlets you would like to target to achieve the best coverage.
  • Keep your audience in mind. When creating ‘Big River Rising,’ Christian Aid chose to use software which supporters would be familiar with, so as not to alienate its demographic.
  • Think about the project as a whole. Look at how your documentary will impact people in the future and the possibilities of what it could achieve.
  • Take a flexible approach. If your charity is filming abroad like Christian Aid did in the Philippines, a certain level of flexibility is essential in achieving the best story. Build trust with those around you and choose your translator wisely.