Documentary Production

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  • \n
  • Morgan Spurlock rose to fame with his documentary “SuperSize Me” The premise? Eat nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days. The message? Our fast food lifestyle is doing more harm than good. \n7th highest grossing documentary film of all time.\nMcDonalds reaction was to issue a press release denouncing Spurlock’s experiment as part of the problem, not part of the solution. And then they eliminated the “super size” option for their food products in the U.S.\nOh, and Morgan became really famous and pretty rich.\n
  • Farenheit 9/11, Sicko and Bowling for Columbine are three of the top grossing documentaries of all time. \nHis movies are controversial, some have said he “fakes” scenes for dramatic effect. You be the judge. \n
  • What makes a good documentary? \nA documentary is about telling a story. Think about the stories you want to tell. \n
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  • This is a Flip Video camera. It costs around $150. You can make a documentary with this. \n
  • In the old days, the only people that made documentaries were the National Film Board the the BBC.\nWith digital editing and distribution methods such as YouTube, today you can quickly create and post your documentary for the world to see. \n
  • Think of some of the ways in which people creatively tell stories through their documentaries. \nMichael Moore put himself in the role as investigator in Bowling for Columbine. He wanted to get to the bottom of the issue of gun control and violence in the U.S.\nThe Kid Stays in the Picture takes an autobigraphical approach, with film producer Robert Evans narrating his own life. \nMarch of the Penguins is not your typical nature documentary. It tells a dramatic story from the Penguins’ perspective.\nIn SuperSize Me, Morgan Spurlock makes himself an experiment. \nIn Trekkies, the story is told through a series of interesting characters.\n
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  • Look around you. Sometimes the most everyday things, every day people make the best subjects. \nChoose a topic that you find fascinating. Your passion for a topic will go a long way in your ability to tell a good story about it. \nChoose a topic that is accessible. Don’t do a documentary on the Sahara Desert if you can’t get there. \n
  • Research research research. \nDocumentaries an exploration a particular subject. The goal is to learn about something and share that knowledge through a visual or audio medium.\nIronically, in order to really tell the story well, you have to do some research first. \nResearching a topic helps you to decide a very important thing - your angle. \n
  • Your angle is how you are going to approach your topic. \nAfter you’ve done some research and learned a few things, you will have a better understanding of where you want to go with your story.\nDid you find out something really interesting about your subject? Explore it.\nMaybe you want to do a documentary on your grandfather, who fought in World War II. After talking to him, doing some online research on the unit in which he served, you discover that he was a prisoner of war and that he saved the lives of 7 men during his time in the war. Instead of just doing a documentary that profiles your grandpa you will now tell the story of what it was like to be a POW and a war hero through the eyes of your grandfather. That’s your angle. \n \n
  • Put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and start writing down your ideas. This will help you to formulate how your documentary will play out. \nStart by brainstorming with the group. Write everything down, good ideas, bad ideas. Don’t judge or criticize any ideas. \nTalk about who you should interview. What kinds of visual elements you need. Music? Locations? Get it down.\n
  • Morgan Spurlock wanted to do a documentary to help highlight the severe obesity problem occurring in the United States. \n
  • He did some research and discovered some very alarming statistics. \n
  • He did some research and discovered some very alarming statistics. \n
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  • Spurlock decided, rather than just getting differing opinions on the subject, to actually find real answers by immersing himself in an experiment. Thus, Supersize Me was born. \n
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  • The treatment is a key component of getting your project underway. Whether you are looking for buy-in from your boss, financing in the form of grants etc, or to submit your film to a festival, you will need to provide a treatment. \n
  • First, come up with a working title. A title helps you to think of your documentary as a real thing. Then write a brief review/description of your story. Then, describe your hook - that vital piece of interesting information that will catch your viewer’s attention. \n
  • Editorial approach - what is the point of view from which the story is being told? What’s the story? How are you going to tell it?\nWho are the main characters/subjects of your story? Remember, the characters do not have to be people!\nWhat is the style in which you will shoot the film? Examples include - cinema verite, news style (interviews and narration), docu-drama, mockumentary.\n \n
  • Editorial approach - what is the point of view from which the story is being told? What’s the story? How are you going to tell it?\nWho are the main characters/subjects of your story? Remember, the characters do not have to be people!\nWhat is the style in which you will shoot the film? Examples include - cinema verite, news style (interviews and narration), docu-drama, mockumentary.\n \n
  • Editorial approach - what is the point of view from which the story is being told? What’s the story? How are you going to tell it?\nWho are the main characters/subjects of your story? Remember, the characters do not have to be people!\nWhat is the style in which you will shoot the film? Examples include - cinema verite, news style (interviews and narration), docu-drama, mockumentary.\n \n
  • Find that one thing about your topic that is most fascinating or interesting. Make that your angle. To find that thing - you need to ask questions. \n \n
  • Can you easily access the locations, people, photographs, events you need to in order to complete your documentary?\n \n
  • Get those ideas out. Brainstorm as a group an figure out how you are going to make this project happen. \n \n
  • Write your treatment. \n \n
  • Your treatment is due in 1 week. But you should also be working on scheduling your interviews, shoots, and planning how and when you are going to get your editing done. \n \n
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  • Documentary Production

    1. 1. DocumentaryFilmmaking
    2. 2. Why the heck would I want to make a documentary?
    3. 3. Who wants to hearwhat I have to say?
    4. 4. Everyone hasa story to tell.
    5. 5. A documentary is…
    6. 6. Inexpensive
    7. 7. Fast
    8. 8. Creative
    9. 9. So you want to make adocumentary…
    10. 10. Find a topic
    11. 11. Do your homework
    12. 12. g le a n u r y o in dF
    13. 13. Write it out
    14. 14. What is my topic?
    15. 15. 66% of Americans are overweight or obese.
    16. 16. Obesity costs the U.S. healthcare system $93 billion a year.
    17. 17. What is my angle?
    18. 18. How bad is fast food, really?If I ate it every day for 1 month, would I still be healthy?
    19. 19. Next step:Writing theTreatment
    20. 20. Why do I need a treatment? Can’t I juststart shooting?
    21. 21. Treatment=Buy InTreatment=BudgetTreatment=Festivals
    22. 22. Key Component #1: The Overview Working title Brief review of the story Your “hook”
    23. 23. Key Component #2: The Outline Editorial approach Characters Style
    24. 24. Key Component #3: The Summary Why did you choose this story? Why should the reader care?What do you want your audience to take away?
    25. 25. Summary
    26. 26. g le a n a n veHa
    27. 27. Make sure you have access
    28. 28. Write it down
    29. 29. Write yourtreatment
    30. 30. Time is of the essence
    31. 31. How to conduct a good interview
    32. 32. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.
    33. 33. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.
    34. 34. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.3. Make it a genuine conversation.
    35. 35. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.3. Make it a genuine conversation.4. Get extra camera angles and b-roll.
    36. 36. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.3. Make it a genuine conversation.4. Get extra camera angles and b-roll.5. Use follow-up questions.
    37. 37. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.3. Make it a genuine conversation.4. Get extra camera angles and b-roll.5. Use follow-up questions.6. Maintain eye contact.
    38. 38. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.3. Make it a genuine conversation.4. Get extra camera angles and b-roll.5. Use follow-up questions.6. Maintain eye contact.7. Make sure the subject feels comfortable.
    39. 39. How to conduct a good interview1. Put the subject at ease.2. Discuss what you’re trying to accomplish.3. Make it a genuine conversation.4. Get extra camera angles and b-roll.5. Use follow-up questions.6. Maintain eye contact.7. Make sure the subject feels comfortable.8. Make sure they understand who your audience is.
    40. 40. Next steps:• Get together with your group and decide on your topic and angle• Do some research• Brainstorm your ideas• Write your treatment (1 to 2 pages - due next class)• Schedule your interviews and shoots• Book your equipment• Do your shooting• Do your paper edit (more on this next class)

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