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Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling
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Narrative Cinematography for Documentary Storytelling

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WHEN WS, MS & CU JUST WON'T CUT IT. …

WHEN WS, MS & CU JUST WON'T CUT IT.
The expectations of audiences, commissioning editors and funders are higher than ever before. In documentary commissioning and funding guidelines, from Al Jazeera to Sundance, "narrative" and "story" are the key words. But what do they mean on the day, behind the camera? How do you shoot STORY?
-- Workshop presentation: Ed Video Media Arts Centre

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  • 1. There were good and bad storytellers. A good one could tell the same story over and over again, and it would always be fresh to us, the listeners. He or she could tell a story told by someone else and make it more alive and dramatic. — Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o http://www.ngugiwathiongo.com/
  • 2. “Documentary is not about form, a set of rules that are either followed or not, it’s an investigation into the nature of the real world, into what people thought and why they thought what they thought.” — Errol Morris The Thin Blue Line • The Fog of War • Standard Operating Procedure
  • 3. coverage CORE COMPETENCY FOR NARRATIVE FILMMAKING the camera in the right place at the right time for the right reason
  • 4. cinematography motion picture photography MOTION + WRITING LIGHT + WRITING
  • 5. David Mamet wrote: “Editing is the closest thing to writing.” Playwright & Screenwriter, theatre & film Director writing in light and motion, your cinematography is the first draft of your documentary story
  • 6. No such thing as “b-roll” No such thing as a “cutaway” Agreements:
  • 7. What we mean when we talk about “STORY” Agreements:
  • 8. What we mean when we talk about “DOCUMENTARY STORYTELLING” Agreements:
  • 9. If this is the beginning of our story, what happens next?
  • 10. If this is the end of our story, what happened before?
  • 11. If this is the middle of our story: what happened, what will happen?
  • 12. pick one beginning, middle or end —but must be three shots
  • 13. Four relentless door-to-door salesmen deal with constant rejection, homesickness and inevitable burnout as they go across the country selling very expensive bibles to low-income Catholic families. A STORY
  • 14. SALESMAN (1968) Clip | RT 0:08:08| Cinematographer: Albert Maysles • Editors: Charlotte Zwerin & David Maysles
  • 15. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS (1992) Clip | RT 0:02:54 | http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104348/
  • 16. Characters are the stuff of good nonfiction just as much as they are the stuff of fiction. ASIDE ON CHARACTER 1
  • 17. “... it's in the nature of our relationship to central figures in a narrative that we want to identify with them, even if we don't much like them.” — David Denby We, the audience: Review of “Arbitrage”, New Yorker, 24 Sept 2102 ASIDE ON CHARACTER 2
  • 18. narrative cinematography for documentary storytelling
  • 19. narrative a chronology of events with meaning
  • 20. cinematography motion picture photography MOTION + WRITING LIGHT + WRITING
  • 21. documentary “...the creative treatment of actuality.” – John Grierson
  • 22. ASIDE ON CREATIVITY “Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.” — John Updike
  • 23. story ?
  • 24. Nope.
  • 25. STORY is a detailed character-based narrative of a character's struggles to overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal or objective which is meaningful.
  • 26. OT: OUR TOWN Trailer | OT: Our Town | RT 0:02:33 | http://youtu.be/wlL2_4IbhIs
  • 27. STORY — OT: OUR TOWN Dominguez High, in the infamous Compton, CA, has not produced a play in over twenty years. With no money and no stage, two teachers and twenty-four students attempt to produce Thornton Wilder's American Classic OUR TOWN.
  • 28. STORY is a detailed character-based narrative of a character's struggles to overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal or objective which is meaningful.
  • 29. ONLY WHEN I DANCE Trailer | Only When I Dance | RT 0:03:47 | http://youtu.be/wlL2_4IbhIs
  • 30. STORY — ONLY WHEN I DANCE Two young kids try to dance their way out of the favelas of Rio. “Victory, for those born rich, it comes easy. For the rest of us, we have to fight.”
  • 31. STORY is a detailed character-based narrative of a character's struggles to overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal or objective which is meaningful.
  • 32. THE COLOR OF OLIVES Promo | The Colour of Olives | RT 0:02:11 | http://youtu.be/_dtE_0crg2w
  • 33. STORY — THE COLOR OF OLIVES Refusing to leave land that has been in their family for generations, the Amer clan lives surrounded by the West Bank Wall. Each day Hani Amer and his children wait for soldiers to unlock the gate and allow them to go to work and school. Sometimes they wait a very long time.
  • 34. STORY is a detailed character-based narrative of a character's struggles to overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal or objective which is meaningful.
  • 35. BLUEBIRD 2nd Place: "48 HOUR FEATURE" Category | NPPA Awards, 2013 | RT 0:03:22 | https://nppa.org/spotlight/5071
  • 36. STORY is a detailed character-based narrative of a character's struggles to overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal or objective which is meaningful.
  • 37. ETHICS documentary
  • 38. “Nothing gets a bigger laugh than when you refer to things like ethics...” — Ron Silver
  • 39. Excerpt | Pretty Village Pretty Flame | RT 0:01:58 |http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116860/
  • 40. STAGING? Can you walk through the door again — but a little slower this time?
  • 41. Whenever you ask someone to repeat an action, or attempt to direct someone, you are "staging". A documentary first principle: Staging action for the camera is journalistically unethical. It's can also be lazy and incompetent — the opposite of creative.
  • 42. Three other good reasons to not stage action in a documentary: 1. You (& your victim) will probably suck at it 2. Your audience isn't stupid 3. … (see next slide)
  • 43. 3. SELF-INTEREST: The closer you stick to this principle, not just in documentary but in all your work, whether it's educational or corporate production, the better the final outcome will be.
  • 44. SITUATIONAL ETHICS 101 When is staging not only okay but appropriate, maybe even necessary?
  • 45. coverage event • beat • shot • scene • sequence learning from DRAMA
  • 46. TEMPLE GRANDIN CLIP | RT 0:01:20 | www.imdb.com/title/tt1278469/
  • 47. THE BOURNE SUPREMACY CLIP—DELETED SCENE | RT 0:01:46 | http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0372183/
  • 48. THE POSSIBILITIES CLIP | RT 0:01:45 | John Clement
  • 49. LIGHT OF DAY CLIP | RT 0:02:15 | Renée Gilbey & John Clement
  • 50. coverage event • beat • shot • scene • sequence learning from DOCUMENTARY
  • 51. SALESMAN (1968) Clip | RT 0:14:14| Cinematographer: Albert Maysles • Editors: Charlotte Zwerin & David Maysles
  • 52. What drives scene coverage? 1. Given circumstances 2. Objective 3. Conflict 4. Action (strategy/tactics) 5. Moments FROM INSIDE OUT
  • 53. 21 GRAMS CLIP | RT 0:01:16 | http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315733/
  • 54. Given Circumstances WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE of the scene
  • 55. Objective What specifically does the character need, want, desire? What's at stake?
  • 56. “Who, what, where, why means nothing if you don’t know what the point is.” — Nora Ephron
  • 57. Conflict What obstacle(s) —internal or external— stands in the way of our character getting what he or she wants?
  • 58. Action (strategy/tactics) What the character(s) does to achieve his or her objective and to make thought and feelings clear.
  • 59. Moments Specific islands of import in the story’s progression or arc; places in the script where moments can be made, revealed, and/or portrayed dramatically. Victories, defeats, and discoveries are often made there.
  • 60. 1. action 2. reaction 3. interaction 4. line of action (continuity line, axis, 180-degree rule) 5. circle of action (internal and external set-ups ) 6. characters in relationship to each other 7. characters in relationship to their environment 8. shot/reverse-shot pairs 9. the "look" 10. entrances/exits 11. insert/detail 12. context/ambience 13. transitions THIRTEEN RESPONSIBILITIES OF COVERAGE What drives scene coverage? FROM OUTSIDE IN
  • 61. TEMPLE GRANDIN CLIP | RT 0:01:20 | www.imdb.com/title/tt1278469/
  • 62. nine-shot story (scene/sequence)

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