How Watching Documentaries Led to Paid Writing Assignments! by Julie Guirgis

How Watching Documentaries Led to Paid Writing Assignments! by Julie Guirgis

As a non-fiction writer, I’m always fascinated with real life and, as the adage goes, “Fact is stranger than fiction.” Documentaries capture reality. This is what makes documentary so interesting. It’s like traveling without the travel; you see a world that you probably would never have seen otherwise. You get right into the personal lives of someone different from yourself. There is so much to learn!

A few months ago, I was watching the show Needles and Pins on VICELAND, hosted by British body modification artist Grace Neutral. I was fascinated to watch her travel to New Zealand, explore the art of Maori Ta Moko tattooing, and learn more about their culture.

It showed how Maori are reviving the ancient art and Grace joined two cousins on their own journey to claim their own personal Ta Moko. Ta Moko is a unique permanent body and face marking, carved by uhi (chisels) rather than traditional tattoo needle puncturing.

This documentary caused me to research the subject further. I had been familiar with this tattooing before as I had many Maori friends growing up but, until I watched the documentary, did I understand the fullness of it.

I queried an online arts and culture magazine called Crixeo about writing the article. In the words of the editor, it’s a magazine that “likes to expand readers’ minds, and show them experiences and views that they may not have been aware of.” So, I was ecstatic when she said it would be a good fit for their publication. The article will be published in the October issue.

Another documentary I watched last year was on the topic of Revenge Porn. It was a new term that I had never heard before. After watching the documentary, I was compelled to educate other people on the topic as it was a national concern.

After interviewing a domestic violence counselor who has worked with many victims of revenge porn, I gained more insight into the subject. She told me that, in essence, revenge porn is “used as tool to belittle, humiliate and have power over women, and is a form of domestic violence.” So, instead of hitting women, these men vent their anger and rage by using revenge porn as an outlet. This was published in a print magazine I regularly contribute to called Signs of the Times.

It just goes to show that article ideas can spring from anywhere and everywhere, even while your relaxing at home watching your favorite T.V. shows!


Julie Guirgis is an international freelance writer living in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has been published in several publications. Some of these include Transition, Majellan, Madonna, Eureka St, The Nathaniel Report, Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Unity, Significant Living, Caring Times, Vibrant Life, Alive Now, Now What?, Insight, Guide, The Aquarian, The Edge, Creation Illustrated, Kaleidoscope, Insights, Compass, Writer’s Weekly, Coffee house for Writers, Author’s Publish Magazine, Woman Alive, Spotlight on Recovery, The Narcissist’s Playbook Anthology and Splendry.