The Making of ‘La Lucha Getting Schooled In America’: A Documentary Journey

23 Mar 2024

The Making of ‘La Lucha Getting Schooled In America’: A Documentary Journey

By: Rand

Producing and directing a full-length documentary resembles embarking on a voyage through uncharted territories. Each project introduces its unique challenges and triumphs, a narrative of persistence, creativity, and the occasional stroke of serendipity. In our latest venture, “La Lucha Getting Schooled In America,” we’ve navigated the spectrum of bringing a real-life story to the screen. Below, we offer a glimpse into the trials, tribulations, and invaluable lessons we’ve learned along the way.

Identifying a Worthy Subject

The Quest for a Compelling Topic

Initially, the challenge is to find a subject that merits a full-length documentary. The landscape is saturated with documentaries on a myriad of topics. Consequently, standing out requires a subject that is not only interesting but also resonates with an audience, no matter its size. This stage is all about research and preproduction. Diving headfirst without laying the groundwork is a recipe for disaster. Thus, the foundation of a compelling documentary is built on thorough understanding and meticulous planning.

Securing Funding: A Twist of Fate

Navigating the Financial Waters

Creating a budget presents a monumental task. Occasionally, fortune smiles upon you, bringing forth a company or individual eager to fund a story they’re passionate about. More often, it involves navigating a labyrinth of potential funding sources, a test of persistence and ingenuity. Our journey with “La Lucha Getting Schooled In America” was no exception, reminding us that in the world of documentary filmmaking, luck and circumstance are ever-present actors.

Overcoming Obstacles: Emotional and Logistical

Facing Challenges Head-On

Documentary filmmaking is fraught with unpredictability. We faced numerous challenges, including the heart-wrenching loss of one of our subjects. It underscored the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between emotional investment and the necessary detachment to make objective decisions about the narrative direction. The essence of documentary storytelling is to adapt, to remain fluid and responsive to the unfolding real-life events.

The Unscripted Narrative

Crafting the Story from Reality

Unlike traditional filmmaking, documentaries often lack a full script. They start as a basic outline but can evolve in unforeseen ways. It’s about creating a story from the fabric of reality, a process that requires both access and a fair share of luck. Access allows us to delve deep into the world we’re portraying, offering insights into characters and their motivations. Meanwhile, luck can manifest in dramatic twists that propel the narrative into unanticipated realms.

From Production to Audience Reception

Reflecting on the Journey

We spent between 3 1/2 to 4 years completing our documentary. It was a testament to the endurance and dedication required in this form of storytelling. Yet, the true reward came with audience screenings. We found it profoundly enlightening to witness viewer reactions, absorb their feedback, and gauge the emotional impact of our work. This phase where the filmmaker’s perceptions meet the unfiltered response of the audience, offers a wealth of learning opportunities.

Conclusion: The Filmmaking Analogy

A Culinary Perspective on Storytelling

Finally, a compelling analogy for creating a film compares it to cooking a meal. The production phase is akin to gathering ingredients, while the editing process is where the magic happens — selecting the right ingredients, blending them, and cooking them into a cohesive and engaging narrative. It’s a perspective that has deeply influenced our approach to filmmaking, reminding us of the creative and transformative power of editing.

We extend our heartfelt thanks to those who have followed our journey through “La Lucha Getting Schooled In America.” This documentary is not just a project but a testament to the resilience, creativity, and passion that define the world of documentary filmmaking. If you have questions, are seeking insights, or simply wish to connect over shared experiences, we welcome your curiosity. Reach out and join us in the ongoing dialogue that shapes our craft.