The International Documentary Association’s biennial Getting Real conference is one of the non-fiction media industry’s largest and most exciting gatherings. 

Whether you’re an experienced documentary filmmaker or new to the genre, Getting Real is the place to connect with peers, listen to experts, and discover where the industry is headed before anyone else. 

In anticipation of this event, we here at Wrapbook wanted to give our readers the inside scoop on what the Getting Real conference is, what it offers documentary filmmakers, and who’s attending this year’s event.

Read on to learn more!

Get to know Getting Real

Started by the IDA in 2014, Getting Real is a biennial conference designed for and by documentary practitioners and focused on the business and art of nonfiction storytelling. The video below shows Erica Dilday giving a keynote talk at Getting Real ‘22.

Getting Real '24 marks the conference’s sixth edition and celebrates a decade of success for what is now the largest peer-to-peer gathering of its kind in North America. 

The conference is much more than a place to try to secure funding for your project. In fact, financing is one of the last things on Getting Real’s mind. As ex-IDA Executive Director Michael Lumpkin said in the conference’s first year:

“[Filmmakers are] pitching their projects and a whole theater of people is watching them – it’s like a Jeopardy! show, trying to get the money. When that’s the primary motivation or goal for documentary filmmakers in a certain space, it’s also like they’re in some ways competing with each other.
Certainly funding and financial support is critically important for filmmakers, but what was not happening was a space where filmmakers can come together to talk about the critical issues that are facing the documentary field.”

Building on this groundwork, 2024’s four-day event, which runs April 15 to April 18, will provide a space for filmmakers to hold “constructive conversations, build lasting relationships, and tackle the ethical, creative, sustainability, production, and distribution challenges facing our growing community.”

What Getting Real ‘24 offers doc filmmakers

The core of Getting Real’s programming seeks to connect participants from diverse independent filmmaking sectors, geographic regions, and professional status. The goal is to draw the most exciting new and established voices into dialogue with each other.

According to the IDA, the conference draws “the most powerful players from the documentary field (major streaming platforms, deep-pocketed funding agencies, among others) and placed them face-to-face with independent documentary filmmakers from across the country and the world.”

Plus, Getting Real’s press-embargoed presentations create a space where industry members can feel comfortable discussing private data and can talk candidly about their experiences.

This year’s theme is “Strategy, Networks, Access,” which seeks to “encourage a groundswell of initiatives, research, connections, and action dedicated to connecting documentary filmmakers with their audiences.” 

By thinking holistically about both the lives and afterlives of documentaries, Getting Real ‘24 hopes to spotlight how documentarians should access institutions, people, spaces, and resources in order to benefit from being in community with each other.

Who’s coming to Getting Real ‘24

And that community keeps getting larger!

In 2022, Getting Real hosted its most international conference to date, welcoming 600 in-person attendees and more than 2,000 virtual participants from a total of 69 countries. 

These documentarians are drawn from all over the world to mix and mingle with each other, as well as to hear from some of the biggest names in the industry.

In the past, these names have included luminaries such as Ava DuVernay (13th), Steve James (Hoop Dreams) and Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), as well as speakers and representatives from Netflix, A&E, and Nat Geo Documentary Films.

This year is set to be one of the biggest in the Getting Real’s history with delegations of fellows attending from the BFI Doc Society, Documentary Organization of Canada, and Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab

Plan for this year’s Getting Real ‘24 program

No matter what role you play in the documentary world, Getting Real ‘24 is sure to have a workshop, delegation, or program that will speak to you. Per the Getting Real '24 program, some of these include:

Workshop: Budgeting and Scheduling 101: In this workshop moderated by Cameron Woodward of Wrapbook, Peabody, Goya and three-time Emmy-winning producer/director Robert Bahar will help to demystify the budgeting process and empower participants to use a budget and schedule as proactive tools to manage production and serve the creative process.

Wrapbook Co-Founder Cameron Woodward will be on hand at Getting Real ‘24 to host a workshop on budgeting and scheduling. 

Delegation: What’s Up With Fellowships? (BAVC Media): For filmmakers, this is your chance to find out what programs to set your sights on in the coming years and how to readjust your application to rise above the competition. For organizations with their own filmmaker support programs, this is an opportunity to learn from many collective decades of experience and perhaps find new ways to generate lasting impact. 

Worth Our Weight In Gold: Identifying Value in Your Production: This session will include a quick scan of impact campaign planning, story rights, options, remakes, setting up production companies and co-production agreements, and how experienced producers and industry players plan for the distribution path of documentary content from the earliest stages. And most importantly, this session will discuss what it means to put all of this in place in a way that aligns with our values—because the act of telling the stories of real people is invaluable.

Disaster Preparation: Building Your Support System: Filmmakers are often unprepared for multiple pressures, be they creative, financial, legal, journalistic, or personal, and they are not always ready to manage difficult outcomes that might result in financial ruin, mangled creative relationships with crew and contributors, and dashed hopes in the industry itself. How can filmmakers avoid learning every lesson the hard way, and prepare themselves well to avert potential disasters that threaten to derail their projects?

How to access Getting Real ‘24

These panels and more are available to Getting Real ‘24 attendees whether they choose to attend in person at the event in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo or watch online from anywhere in the world.

While registration for the All Access Pass closed on April 9, the Virtual Together Pass will remain available for purchase at any time. 

This pass costs $95 dollars (or $80 for IDA members) and includes:

  • Global access: meet conference-goers and peers from all over the world
  • Conference programming: virtual live streams of most panel conversations, workshops, and keynote speeches (exclusions will apply to a select few events with limited slots) through Eventive, the conference platform
  • Asynchronous playback of most live streamed events for one month following the conference
  • Opportunity to sign up for virtual “Meet the Funders” roundtables

However you choose to attend, Getting Real ‘24 is not to be missed. 

Supporting Getting Real ‘24

Of course, an event of this size and scale can’t be put together without help. Wrapbook is a proud sponsor of Getting Real ‘24, joining companies such as Delta Airlines, National Geographic, and the Ford Foundation.

“Wrapbook and the IDA have long shared a simple, but important mission: helping to get important stories told," say Wrapbook Co-Founder Cameron Woodward. "That’s why we’re committed to making it easier for documentarians to pay their crews and track their costs, and it’s why we’re honored to be sponsoring Getting Real ‘24.” 

Wrapping up

If you already have a pass to this Getting Real ‘24, we’ll see you soon. If not – what are you waiting for? Buy one today!

In the meantime, brush up on Wrapbook’s tips on how to make a documentary, how to fund a documentary, and how to choose the right narrative format for your documentary.

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Last Updated 
April 11, 2024


At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Chris Cullari

Chris Cullari is a writer/director based out of Los Angeles. His most recent film, THE AVIARY, is available for streaming on Paramount Plus and Showtime. You can find him tweeting about monsters, pro-wrestling, and horror movies.

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