Cost of Docs 2023 Published

We have just published, in partnership with Sheffield DocFest and International Documentary Association (IDA), our sixth annual Cost of Docs report.

In addition to our work funding and supporting emerging talent around the world, we seek to champion documentary makers and to amplify their voices in the industry as a whole. The initial aim, back in 2016, was to ensure that our main funding award, now £100,000, was still the game-changing amount that we wanted it to be. Since then, we have added new questions to continue evaluating and confronting the challenges faced by filmmakers in uncertain times.

If quoting from this report, please credit The Whickers. Contact for any queries or to request a copy of the five previous editions of the Cost of Docs report. Written and designed by Curtis Gallant, Emily Copley and Jane Ray.


Here is a small selection of the key findings below:

  • 54% say that the cost-of-living crisis is seriously jeopardizing their ability to continue making documentaries.

  • This is the same percentage as those who say they had mental health issues when making their last documentary, while 38% of those who say they need support also say they cannot afford it.

  • 5% of respondents say they have already left the business due to the cost-of-living crisis, whilst 4% say they have been unaffected.

  • Since the first Cost Of Docs survey there has been an almost fivefold increase in the number of documentary makers who take part-time jobs in an unrelated industry to make ends meet.

  • Only half as many are managing to complete their documentaries in under 6 months (14%, down from 29%).

  • More than half of respondents (59%) now say that they learn their skills “on the job”.

  • There are signs that documentary makers are valuing their time more. In 2022 just 2% said £60,000 would have been a fair wage for the time and effort they put into making their documentary. Today that figure is 15%.


Read the full 2023 Cost of Docs Report here