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Documentary developing ideas

Presentation from week 2 - developing idea for a Documentary

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Documentary developing ideas

  1. 1. HNC Unit 61: Moving Image Documentary Production Week 3 Developing ideas for a Documentary
  2. 2. Developing Ideas • Documentaries are well thought out and planned • The ideas are carefully chosen and organized to suit the purpose and achieve the objectives for the documentary. • We therefore need to look at how you organize ideas for a documentary and more importantly on HOW to develop ideas for documentary films.
  3. 3. We will look at • How to generate ideas for documentary films • How to conduct research for the documentary • The importance of research in documentaries.
  4. 4. Generating ideas • Ideas for the documentary film can be generated through any of the following: Personal experience We experience emotional and memorable moments everyday both in our work, homes, street or anywhere we find ourselves. These experiences can form the basis for a documentary Historical events or figures A documentary idea could emanate from historical accounts about celebrities or celebrations. Most historical documentary is made up of partly fiction and factual elements. Strong feelings for or against the society or events. Bad or good feelings can form the basis for a documentary idea. A change in the societal values, norms, and social order can form material for a documentary script. The inspiration to produce a documentary programme could also emanate from newspapers, magazines, novels, short stories, drama series
  5. 5. Stories we Tell 2012 Sarah Polley This is a detective story that’s very much in the first person. It’s about identity, trying to understand your childhood, and ultimately paternity. Director Sarah Polley looks back into the relationship between her mother and father, who she discovers isn’t her biological father. She uses a combination of interviews, home movie footage and a series of fictional home movies that she manufactured. It’s a very powerful film about memory and exploration and love, because she comes to appreciate her adoptive father in a way she might not otherwise have done.
  6. 6. When we were Kings 1996 One of the greatest sports film ever made. It features a large amount of footage of the “Rumble in the Jungle”, the famous 1974 fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman. The film is helped in that it features two opposing and fantastic performers. The star performance is by Muhammad Ali, at his most charismatic. There is also the brooding figure of George Foreman. It also features interviews with people who were there, notably George Plimpton and Norman Mailer, and through their recollection you also have a sense of analysis and understanding rather than mere observation.
  7. 7. Bowling for Columbine A landmark that made documentaries popular again at the cinema. Many people who didn’t normally watch documentary films watched this. It tells the story of the Columbine high school massacre and the investigations that followed, but more than that it tells you about the National Rifle Association, about gun violence, about how schools in Michigan had become battlegrounds. His interview with Charlton Heston, who was the NRA’s president at that time, is very powerful. In this the scene the director Moore goes into a bank and gets a free hunting rifle for opening an account. On the way out, he asks: “Do you think it’s a little dangerous handing out guns at a bank?”
  8. 8. • After you have chosen the type of documentary you want to make • Research provides the basic information needed to produce the documentary. • Research for a documentary programme can be divided into three: 1. Pre-documentary project research 1. On – the – documentary project research 1. Post – documentary research.
  9. 9. Pre-documentary Research Pre-documentary research is the first research carried out to ascertain basic information concerning the documentary. This is the general phase in which the subject is explored to establish the dimensions of the film and define areas that need further investigation. • Online • Books and articles • Archive research (Photos, film, articles)
  10. 10. On project research • The second phase of the research is carried out when the documentary project has been embarked on. This is the stage in which the research seeks answer to specific questions that arise during the period of the general research. This may go on throughout the preparation of the programme • This is because the writer often discovers after he has started his/her script that he/she needs further information before he/she can continue writing the script. Or that their ideas are wrong • Interviews are often carried out in this stage
  11. 11. Post-production research • The last phase of research is the post-documentary project research. • It is done to see what has been achieved and if the documentary has achieved its aims or changed entirely • What is the attitude of the viewers towards the documentary? Are there areas that need to be improved on in future productions and are there areas where the documentary derived its strengths form?
  12. 12. Importance of Research Research is therefore important in documentary for the following reasons: • It helps in developing the point of view for the documentary • It helps the script writer to be conversant with the subject matter • It helps in ascertaining the budget for the documentary • It helps in finding who is to be interviewed, and how/where the interview is to be carried out. • It is through research that the actual resources – both human and material – that will be used in the production are ascertained.
  13. 13. Developing a Documentary Outline. • It is not possible to write a traditional script for a documentary as you don’t quite know what you are going to get. • Instead you can create a basic outline • An outline is like a blue-print that guides the production of a documentary. The success of the documentary therefore depends on how the outline is designed. • A well laid down outline also makes it very easy to carry out the documentary without mistakes.
  14. 14. Meaning and Function of Documentary outline • It is like a proposal, which tell us what the documentary is all about. • It is a simple presentation that can be made to a potential producer or sponsor. After the presentation of this script or outline, the producer or director would then prepare a script for the production.
  15. 15. Documentary Outline • The first step in creating an outline is to write down the basic ideas of your documentary in a list without giving any particular thought to order or arrangement. The list should then be guided by the following questions: • What are the main ideas to be explored in the documentary? • What is clearly the supporting material (archive, interviews, re-enactments)? • What techniques will I use to tell the story in an interesting way (voiceover, animation etc? • Who is your intended audience? • The responses to these questions will guide you in setting down the outline.
  16. 16. Beginning the process 1. Think of at least three ideas 2. Share your ideas 3. Choose the best one 4. Write a logline a concise 2-3 sentence providing a description of your film 5. Do lots of research! 6. Create an outline (1-2 pages)Flesh out your idea and and provide contextual information to aquaint the reader to the subject. Why the film is needed now. How you are going to tell the story
  17. 17. For next week • Finalise your Documentary idea • Start writing out your documentary film outline • Watch Listen to Britain or Nightmail write a few paragraphs comparing German and British Documentary film • Also try and get some of your editing tasks done and uploaded to your blog

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Presentation from week 2 - developing idea for a Documentary

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