VT 005 : How to make a documentary in a worldwide lockdown with Will Shears

By July 2, 2020 July 3rd, 2020 Podcasts

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Will Shears is a young filmmaker based in the UK who has already made his fair share of short documentaries in the travel genre. In 2019 Will released the documentary Europe In A Tuk Tuk, which has gone on to be shown at numerous festivals and won best documentary at the Ribbon of Dreams Festival. The film is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.

At the time of recording – the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, Will was embarking on his latest project – a documentary about Coronavirus and the ways people around the world have been dealing with it.

In this interview we discuss his approach to travel documentary making, how Snapchat changed the way video is consumed and why you should always take a break from your edit.

You'll Discover
  • Why you need to take a break from your film project

  • How Snapchat led the social video evolution

  • The importance of Facebook and Instagram live video in a Covid world

  • Why audio should never be neglected

  • Why you should always hold a question back in a documentary interview

  • Why long form video can work on YouTube

  • The benefit of taking your time

resources & links

Instagram @williamshhhhh

Europe in a Tuk Tuk
How to Motorcycle the Himalayas
Will’s Lockdown Diary

Will’s Coronavirus documentary #1
A World Without Tourism


‘When the global lockdown happened I knew I wanted to make a documentary about an aspect of it, I wanted to capture that feeling of trepidation and how none of us had an idea of what was happening. I started by asking friends on social media to send in videos of how the lockdown was impacting there lives and how they were feeling. However it quickly came apparent that pretty much every production company was doing something similar and probably had a far larger budget. So I went back to the drawing board, I wanted to make something that was unique and gave a voice to stories of those that might not be so well known.

Travel and tourism is a big love of mine, so I started wondering how are people in that industry being affected around the world. I contacted all sorts of companies and contributors; tour guides in Venice, safari drivers in Botswana and I even tried to talk to an Everest sherpa who couldn’t climb the mountain this year because of the lockdown. I got all of these participants to film interviews on their smart phones and email them over to me. It was logistical nightmare to make but incredibly rewarding. I hope this short doc may be seen in the future as a snapshot of the world over those turbulent few weeks when we all went into lockdown.’


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