Okay, you have a camera, you have an idea. Here's what else you need to do before you become the next Ron Mann or Barbara Kopple.
1. Secure creative backup funds It's guaranteed you'll need more money.
2. Pick crews who make you laugh They're a lifeline to sanity on long shooting days.
3. learn to embrace CHANGE It's the only constant.
4. Leave all drugs at the hotel when you go off to shoot You might get caught and become the story instead of the storyteller.
5. Don't even consider dealing drugs to finance your film It rarely works.
6. Choose your wardrobe to indicate that you're the filmmaker Especially important on prison shoots, where filmmakers are easily confused with convicts.
7. Keep your idea under wraps A reality show could surface before you shoot.
8. Document your production experiences You could still make a killing on the making-of, even if the critics pan your film.
9. DON'T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB - YET If there's no market for your creative interpretation of reality, you might consider a second career option.
10. Steal Michael Moore's doc method Pick a topic (any will do), determine a narrow viewpoint (arguable for 90 minutes), put yourself in front of the camera (don't worry about how you look), tell your audience what you think (which is how you want them to think) and be sure to make anyone else's viewpoint looks foolish (easily achieved in the cutting room, even when your main character isn't George W. Bush).