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Producing a Documentary
Transcript of Producing a Documentary
Producing a Documentary
Why you want to shoot it
Effect you want in public
What, why, organized.
What is Shoot
How is shoot
Who is in the scene
What to be shot
How many days
10 to 15 % + for contingence
Scouting and Preproduction Planning
Scouting: Know the location to determine HOW to shoot
Casting: Interview possible actors and talk to whoever is appearing.
Scheduling: Make the efficient & effective use of TIME, MONEY, PEOPLE & EQUIPMENT.
Crew: Who do you need, who don't you need
Format and Equipment
HD or SD
Handicam or DSLR
Visible camera, hidden or action/ POV cam
On-cam audio, post-synched, boom, lapel
Equipment and Supplies
Choose and reserve equipment.
Arrange for stock or portable storage
Plan for backup or contingencies
Filming & Recording
Amount of footage shot to use in the final print.
Most require at least: 10:1, other 20:1 or even 100:1
A-roll and B-roll footage
Ambient and room tones
Shoot standups/ record VOs
Shooting logs and notes
Subject or Location Release/ Shooting conditions
Look and Log. Everything must be viewed and logged for later reference.
Rough Cut. Good takes organized.
Fine Cut. What scenes go together in what order.
Music is selected and scored.
Narration and Titles. Already written and transferred.
Review and Approval of Off-line
Showing of the fine cut with all the picture and sound in it's proper place.
Last point in which changes can be made inexpensively.
Who's in charge?
Crewing the Documentary
Mastering, duplication, distribution
Point of View
: What is the main point?
: The rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly it progresses.
: Use just enough content to convey message.
The Power of the Soundtrack:
Music or other sounds that support and embellish the storyline.
: There's a personal "voice" helping the audience understand the context.
: An issue that comes alive in a personal and powerful way and connects the story to the audience.
A Dramatic Question
: A key question that keeps the viewer's attention and will be answered by the end of the story.
Decide who's going to be in charge.
Some form of leadership needs to be decided on. On location, someone needs to be in charge of each aspect. This should be clear up front and decided before hand.
Work together but also make sure that responsibilities are clear and delineated.
Leads the team's creative vision and direction
Traditionally takes the lead or "fronts" for the project to producers, subjects and audiences
Answerable for success or failure of a documentary
The "brains" of the documentary
Is responsible for turning the concept into a workable and creative project with the use of words, structures and images
Primary role is to capture the documentary on film
Beyond composition or focus - responsible for capturing emotion, moments, moods, activity, and movement
Simultaneously should be able to judge lighting, composition, and space
The most crucial member of the team - great footage is useless with bad audio
Works very closely with the camera operator and ideally audio is never the cam-op
Must simultaneously judge ambient quality, mic placement, and cam-op's back-up on lighting and use of space
More than just doing "research" is actually the one on the team who most understands the whole topic and related concerns
Sometimes qualifies as Prod. Manager as he/she usually also makes contact with resource persons and location contacts.
Writing for Documentaries
What is a Documentary?
Creative treatment of actuality
What is a Good Storytelling?
A simple story well told
Follow Up Question
Revised/ updated story line
Stick to the structure
Develop the discussion based on answers given by respondents
Establish and hook
"jump in late, jump out early"
Let the story develop
Create the discussion
Write/ use voice overs when necessary
The 2-Column Script