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Fire in Paradise with Drea Cooper
Episode 1256th March 2020 • The Documentary Life • The Documentary Life
00:00:00 00:42:11

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One of the most compelling, intense, and well done documentaries that I saw in all of 2019 wasn't even a feature length film. In fact, its run time was only 39 minutes.

But it was 39 mins of riveting documentary that was financed and distributed by Netflix, and it came from ZCDC's Zachary Canepari and Drea Cooper. And Cooper sat down to discuss with us, among other things, what it was like working on this incredible. film.

And speaking of run time, in our opening segment, I discuss how to decide what the proper length for your doc films might be. And how, in fact, we may be doing a disservice to our stories, by trying to adhere to a set of arbitrary time lengths.

Topics Discussed

  • how Cooper & Canepari came to the decision to make this a 39 min film
  • how Netflix fully supported their film change of plans to pivot to this story
  • how & why the usage of people’s phone footage became a powerful storytelling device
  • Drea Cooper’s recommendsfor covering a catastrophic event on film


Additional Resources

Trailer for Fire in Paradise


Trailer for Netflix's Flint Town


And if you haven't already done so, you can LISTEN to our episode that we did with ZCDC's producer, Gary Kout!

Sponsors & Thank Yous


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Music Vine

Thank you to music licensing platform, Music Vine for contributing the wonderful music that we’ve used in this week’s episode.

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If you need any music for your doc project, we can honestly recommend Music Vine.

And make sure to use our promo code to get an additional 15 percent off of any subscription!!

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° Free Music ArchiveSpecial Thank You to recording artist, Dlay who supplied music for this week’s episode of TDL. You too can download his music or other artists’ music by going to Free Music Archive today!



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