Author: Fernanda Rossi

Internationally renowned author and story consultant Fernanda Rossi has doctored over 300 documentaries, scripts, and fundraising trailers including the 2009 Academy Award® nominated The Garden by Scott Hamilton Kennedy and the 2007 Academy Award® nominated Recycled Life by Leslie Iwerks. In addition to private consultations, lectures, and seminars worldwide, she has served as festival juror and grant panelist. Ms. Rossi shares her knowledge and research of story structure and the creative process in columns and articles in trade publications. She is also the author of the book Trailer Mechanics: A Guide to Making your Documentary Fundraising Trailer.


Articles Written by Fernanda Rossi:

Doc Doctor suggests balancing techno-perfection with believing in the magic of post. (Photo by angusf.)

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Don't Worry, We'll Fix it in Post

Myth #6 “All technical glitches, or disasters, can be avoided with preparation.” Wait, what about those who say: “Obsessing over technology is a waste of time I could devote to the story.” The myth in all its glory Two opposing myths: the first one, the self-assured cry of the virtuoso or technophile, the second, the… Read more »

The use of narration is an oft-debated topic in documentary filmmaking. (Photo by brtsergio.)

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Is Narration a Storytelling Red Flag?

Myth #5 “Narration in a documentary is bad storytelling.” Says who? The myth in all its glory Narration, a.k.a voiceover, is as vilified by the filmmakers of the verité persuasion as it is glorified by their counterparts, the lovers of the investigative genre. For those in the middle, however, the question of whether to add… Read more »

Doug Block's 51 Birch Street is an example of a filmmaker successfully using himself in his film.

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Should You Put Yourself in Your Documentary?

Myth #4 “If the structure doesn’t work, put yourself in the film.” And everything will magically work? Not quite. The myth in all its glory When desperate to solve some structural issues, the eager-to-help colleague blurts out, “How about you? Make it your story!” You might cringe because you had mixed feelings about this approach…. Read more »

The Blair Witch Project, good story or good marketing?

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Story versus Marketing

Myth #3 “A good story will find its audience no matter what.” or “Good marketing can make any story succeed.” The myth in all its glory This is a twin myth, two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, there is the idea that a story can propel itself above and against the… Read more »

Coninuous filmming will not always lead to a solid story, says the Doc Doctor.

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: Keep at it and the Story will Arrive, Right?

Myth #2 “If I keep shooting or editing, the story will come to me — eventually.” Practical? The myth in all its glory Shooting and editing are not myths at all, but necessary and very creative steps in filmmaking. However expecting the story to materialize as something external to the filmmaker, the result of following… Read more »

A still from Scott Hamilton Kennedy's Oscar nominated documentary, "The Garden."

Doc Doctor's Story Strategies: No Conflict, No Film?

Introducing….Story Strategies: Debunking the Myths of Storytelling In this age of instant messages, blogs, and Twitter, information travels fast. So does misinformation. That’s why the Independent is thrilled to introduce yet another remedy from longtime contributor Fernanda Rossi, aka the Documentary Doctor. Her new column, “Story Strategies: Debunking the Myths of Storytelling” will do exactly… Read more »

The subjects of Thomas Allen Harris's documentary, "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela."

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Twelve Disciples of Nelson Mandela"

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales… Read more »

Filmmaker Jennifer Venditti with Billy, the subject of her first feature-legnth documentary.

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: "Billy the Kid"

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales… Read more »

Director/Cinematographer Almudena Carracedo filming in the street.  Credit: Felicity Murphy

The Doc Doctor's Anatomy of a Film: Made In L.A.

About this column: Many filmmakers ponder in anguish, How do other people—celebrated people—do it? Am I taking too long to make this documentary? Does everybody spend as much money as I am spending, or am I spending too little? And when filmmakers share their lessons learned in interviews in the glossy trade magazines, their tales… Read more »