Working in harmony with Portrait Films

Most clients who commission a personal biography documantary require a one hour format. This normally entails location filming of interviews with some relevant contributors and a key interview with the subject themselves. However, we stress that our films are for individuals and we are happy to discuss all contingencies. Often it is relative who makes the first enquiry or who ultimately commissions the film

A classic biography programme can be edited so that Episodes or Chapters are accessed easily on DVD. Sample Chapter headings might be:

  • Early Life
  • Marriage and family
  • Career and pastimes
  • Retirement and beliefs

Other clients may require a completely different style and format. They may even want an element of surprise. Perhaps a film to be revealed at a particular event:

  • An anniversary
  • A milestone birthday
  • An award
  • A retirement

Portrait Films offer an entirely bespoke product. Individual programmes for individual people

The production process



Director will discuss your requirements with you. They will note locations and potential interviewees as well as personal archive items and other content that you would like to include.


Portrait Films will submit a presentation and budget for approval. If we are commissioned, there will be no costs incurred that are not in the approved budget without further consultation with the Client.


After commissioning, the Director will submit a more detailed outline script for discussion and revision. The script will indicate the broad narrative of the programme – not the actual words to be spoken by individuals.

The Director will schedule the filming, including liaising with any third parties, if necessary.



Filming will be at your convenience, although the Director will advise you on the best use of the Production Team’s time. As well as interviews, we will film any possessions, artifacts or locations that enhance your story.


We use Broadcast-standard digital video cameras to achieve high production values in sound and lighting. The equipment is portable and most areas can be easily accessed. Our small crews behave in a discreet manner and are respectful of access to your property and any specific issues that affect you or your neighbors.


The Director will conduct the interview in a relaxed and informal manner. They will use the outline script treatment and any additional notes to prompt your responses. It is their role to make sure that you get right to the heart of your story

Photographs & artifacts, cine films & video

The interviews may be illustrated and punctuated by photographs, scanned onto a computer whilst we are with you. We can transfer your cine movies to video or DVD for inclusion in the programme and source old news footage, stills and newspaper stories that may add value to your production.


Commentary and music

Our Director will write a commentary to introduce your story. Our voice artists are industry professionals who will add a further dimension to your programme. We can also provide a costing for using a personality of your choice (BBC announcer, celebrity, TV presenter).


Once all the elements have been assembled we will produce a preview copy of your programme for your approval. Graphics, captions and diagrams can be added at this stage to identify photographs and create a family tree, if required.

Your finished product

We will provide you with three copies of your finished programme on any Video or DVD format. It will be packaged in a hard case with a printed insert.

If you would like more people to share your memories, we can provide further copies at your request.

The copyright of the completed programme will be the property of the Client. Portrait Films will not duplicate, distribute or exhibit any part of the programme on any format without the permission of the Client.