Documentary storytelling

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Documentary storytelling

  1. 1. Based on the book of Sheila Curran Bernard
  2. 2. DOCUMENTARY - NOT ONLY IMPORTANT BUT ALSO INSPIRATIOAL AND MOTIVATIONAL - - CREATIVE CHOICES: STRUCTURE, POINT OF VIEW, BALANCE, STYLE, CASTING ETC. - - MOTIVATES ACTION AND ACTIVISM STRONG CHARACTERS, COMPELLING TENSION, CREDIBLE RESOLUTION UNAVOIDABLY SUBJECTIV E, NO MATTER HOW BALANCED OR NEUTRAL THE PRESENTATION SEEKS TO BE
  3. 3. STORY BASICS A) EXPOSITION- The information that grounds you: 1) good narration 2) visuals B) NARRATIVE SPINE OR “TRAIN” – Creative arrangement that drives your film forward C) THEME- resonate beyond the particulars of the event; basic lifeblood of a film D) ARC- should be organic and unforced way/s in which the events of the story transform your character E) DRAMATIC STORYTELLING
  4. 4. STORY BASICS TOOLS OF SCREENWRITING (HOWARD, et. Al.) 1)Somebody with whom we have some empathy 2)Somebody wants something very badly 3)Something is difficult but possible to do, get or achieve 4)Story is told for maximum emotional impact and audience participation 5)Must come to a satisfactoy ending.
  5. 5. EVALUATING STORY IDEAS A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I) ACCESS AND FEASIBILITY AFFORDABILITY PASSION AND CURIOSITY AUDIENCE RELEVANCE TIMELINESS VISUALIZATION HOOK EXISTING PROJECTS
  6. 6. RESEARCH A) B) C) D) E) F) G) H) I) ASSESSMENT OF QUESTIONS AND OBJECTIVES ADVISORS / PROFESSIONAL CONFERENCES TELEPHONE RESEARCH FACT CHECKING THE TELLING DETAIL STATISTICS AND OTHER FORMS OF DATA CHRONOLOGIES PRINT AND ONLINE RESEARCH VISUAL ARCHIVES
  7. 7. GUIDELINES FOR NARRATION A) B) C) D) E) GRAMMAR USE ANTICIPATION AVOID STEREOTYPING WATCH OUT FOR ANACHRONISMS LIMIT THE NUMBER OF IDEAS IN EACH BLOCK OF NARRATION F) FORESHADOW IMPORTANT INFORMATION G) UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENT RULES PLAYED BY NARRATION AND SYNC MATERIALS H) USE WORDS SPARINGLY AND SPECIFICALLY
  8. 8. GUIDELINES FOR NARRATION I) J) K) L) M) N) O) P) Q) R) USE TELLING DETAILS PUT INFORMATION INTO CONTEXT GET OFF THE DIME. MOVE FORWARD DON’T DROP NAMES PUT LISTS IN AN ORDER THAT B UILDS OR DESCENDS USE AN ACTIVE VOICE HELP DIFFERENTIATE AMONG SIMILAR THINGS DO THE MATH FOR THE AUDIENCE AVOID HYPE KNOW WHEN TO STOP NARRATING
  9. 9. STORYTELLING CHECKLIST 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Are you telling a compelling and dramatic story and giving the viewer a reason to watch? Does your film involve the viewer in a story unfolding on screen, rather than talk at them Are there interesting questions being asked and answered throughout, offering mystery, intrigue or suspense? Are you offering a new information and unusual perspective? Have you grounded your viewers in your story so that they can anticipate where you’re going and will be surprised when you take unexpected turns? Have you created a moment of discovery for the audience allowing them to reach their own conclusions?
  10. 10. STORYTELLING CHECKLIST 7) If there is a backstory in your film, have you gotten a story under way that motivates the audience to want to go there? 8) If your subject is complex or technical, have you gotten a story under way that motivates the audience to want to understand it? 9) Have you “cast” the film carefully with a manageable group of characters who fairly represent the complexity of an issue and not just its extremes? 10)Do the individual characters stand out and play differentiated roles in your overall story and film? 11)Does the story that was set up at the film’s beginning pay off at the end? Can you articulate the story in a sentence or two? 12)Does the film see like “just another documentary” or is it something that people might want to tell each other about the next day?
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