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Making Documentaries Matter Online

by Pat Aufderheide

What’s the best way for filmmakers to take advantage of new online environments for public knowledge and action? 6’s study for the Center for Social Media, Big Dreams Small Screens, provides one set of learning lessons.

Now, here comes a white paper by Free Range Studios (the people who brought you The Meatrix, with a cool chart that shows how "viral media" can be a tool for filmmakers who want to make their documentaries matter. The Free Rangers argue that "The Promotional Flow"—seeking new audiences—feeds into "The Activation Flow"—which turns emotion into action—by harnessing the power of online connection. Free Rangers for instance made a short animated film, Backwards Hamburger, as a marketing piece for the Participant Production Fast Food Nation. The short film itself summarized many of the documentary’s themes, and led viewers to action on its own campaign site. Check it out, and let us know what you think!