Tim Haines, Professional Perspectives: Documentary Production

Documentary producer and director Tim Haines came to visit CFS and speak to the students there about documentary production and pitching in the modern television industry. As the creator of the legendary natural history documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, Tim was a uniquely insightful guest who we were privileged to welcome and have him speak to our students on the topic.

The focus of the discussion lay on how students could find the most interesting and unexpected stories in their work, and how to think about approaches to storytelling in advance. Using samples from both his own work and other documentaries across filmmaking history, Tim was able to show that documentary might just be the most malleable form of visual storytelling, with thousands of unique approaches that can be used for nearly any topic.

Tim took time to answer students’ questions about both documentary and drama production. Questions ranged from the best ways to pitch to producers to whether a documentary needs to be ‘worthy’, a sentiment Tim felt did more harm than good to all filmmakers approaching their work.

Tim is currently working on a new documentary series called Surviving Earth, all about the various mass extinction events that the Earth has experienced across millions of years. We look forward to seeing the finished product and welcoming him back to CFS should the opportunity ever arise again.