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Guide on making a documentary


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A comprehensive guide onto making documentary films from A-Z

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Guide on making a documentary

  1. 1. Guide on Making aDocumentaryOpinions from Experts and a Fresh Filmmaker.
  2. 2. What the Experts Say?Tips and Tricks From The Best in The Field.
  3. 3. Dylan Pank:University of Portsmouth:School of Creative Arts, Film and Media Tutor
  4. 4. Nail your narrative down as much as possible Make sure your showing something new or unusual.Every year at least one group of students want to make a film about a student who is also aDJ, as if that was something new and revolutionary that had never happened before.
  5. 5. Pre Interview! Decide whether you want your questions to be heard in the soundtrack or not. Write a script, even if you dont know all the subjects answers yet, imagine what they mightbe, research with pre-interviews would help you here. The script should contain visual as well as verbal information
  6. 6. Transcripts and Paper Edits Once youve done your interviews, do a transcript and then a paper edit.Don’t waste your time (let alone your editor’s!) while you wallow in all that footageas you search for a story.You can always improve on the paper edit, but it gives you the equivalent of ascript to work on when you go into the edit room.It seems like a drag (the transcript and paper edit) but it will save you loads of time.You can always improve upon the paper edit, but it gives you a map to work with.
  7. 7. And finally, the above is, as the man said "more what youd call "guidelines" than actual rules."Except the bit about paper edits.Thats a rule.
  8. 8. Richard P. AlvarezScreenwriter - ISA
  9. 9. How and What do I Write? I like to write out the script, including what I expect the interviewees to say. Then, whenI am conducting the interviews, I ask questions that will result in the sorts of answers Iam looking for. Is this objective? It is as objective as your advocacy is. You still have to be flexibleenough to follow the answers wherever they might lead.
  10. 10. The term ‘Documentary’ is a Genericlabel for anything that’s not narrative. Within that label are investigative reports, issue docs, advocacy docs, exposes, biographies, etc. etc.Each of these subsets has a specific point of view going in.
  11. 11. Michael PlunkettPhoto Plunkett – Owner
  12. 12. What to Shoot? A beginning, a middle and an end is a noble starting point and it should be no different for anyfilm regardless of size.
  13. 13. Barry HampeAuthor - Making Documentary Films and Videos
  14. 14. The Process? From the very start of the scripting process, your research, planning, organization, andwriting must be pointed toward answering the question, What will the audience see?As writer of the script, you have to show to the client, the director, the cameraoperator, and the video editor—and through them the audience for the video—the images that make up the story you want to tell.You do this with a well-visualized, coherent script which clearly communicates yourintentions to the people who will read it.
  15. 15. o The more specifically you can describe your script in terms of concrete images, the better yourchance of communicating through video.o Similarly, the more abstract or interpretive your idea is, the more important it becomes to buildup evidence for the idea through concrete images.o To be recorded on video, an image has to be solid, tangible.o Images are described with concrete nouns and action verbs.o A concrete image can be understood in a single shoto Field research is so important to a scriptwriter.o You cant describe what you havent seen.o And you cant use as visual evidence what you dont even know exists.o As a scriptwriter, you not only have to think in pictures, you have to learn to see like a camera.o When you are out scouting a scene, a setting, or a location, you have to learn to seewhat is actually there.o Otherwise your brain may instruct your eye to filter out whatever the brain considersunimportant.
  16. 16. Documentary Script FormatEase to use.Time Video Audio0:00:00Black Screen.Fade in Title Credits.Title Credit: BERT WALL AND THEGHOST STORIES OF THE DEVIL’SBACKBONEFade In:Background music – Title Music.Rousing but a bit mystical.0:00:20 Camera Wide on an open 2-laneTexas Highway as the headlightsof a car pierce through the fogand mist.Images of Spirits, an Indian onhorseback, a Woman sitting by afire in a rocking chair, a roadsign that reads: “PurgatoryRoad”, a white stag deer, awhite owl flies by, another roadsign that reads “Texas Highway32”, and a lone Indian with aflat brimmed hat and an eaglefeather appear in the distance.A rushing sound should accompanyeach image as it appears and floatstowards the car windshield then flyoff left and right.A background sound of the tires of acar on the tarmac of a TexasHighway.
  17. 17. Final Thoughts? Field Research Before You Write. Write Before You Shoot. Paper Edit Before You Video Edit.
  18. 18. Made By:Omar MagdiIn Association With: Old DominionUniversity, The Film Studies Program, 102 335