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Documentary Techniques
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 08:05 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Richard Gooderick View Post
Hi David
There's no point giving these people a blow by blow account of how you are going to make your film because they are not going to understand it anyway.
(...) a treatment and should take no more than one sheet of paper.
FWIW, I fully agree with Richard.

At that stage, it's all about pitching:
think in terms of advertising,
open your treatment with a carefully crafted "Unique Selling Proposition",
a.k.a. "Unique Selling Point"
(see Unique selling proposition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

No shoot-related details:
they wouldn't understand,
they don't care anyhow because it's not their business,
and it would just make them bored to death.


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Old February 22nd, 2009, 01:30 PM   #17
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UNCLE!!! Just kidding. I really do appreciate the comments and the time you spent writing your responses. What Richard said about not getting too technical because they won't care or understand it anyway makes sense to me. I see that in my normal line of work as a PM in the computer technology field. I've made a career out of taking the technical stuff and making it palatable for business folks. Just did make the transition to documentary film. I also appreciate the ideas of not getting to mechanical. I agree that being so can really take away from the beauty of the creative processes and possibly cause you to miss some things.

Again, thank you for the advice. It is appreciated and is helpful.

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Old March 4th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #18
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Documentary Script Writing

This is a good thread. One that I am researching due to the fact that I desire to streamline my ideas on documentaries I am considering to produce. I understand the need to keep an "open" approach to filming documentaries. However, doing some "pre-shoot" or shooting script and "post-shoot" scripts may be a way to organize yourself better.

Trisha Das has written a freely downloadable pdf which has given me a start on figuring out how to get organized for documentary films. The title of her paper is "HOW TO WRITE A DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT." It is available at:

The other thing I want to mention is a free open-source piece of script writing software which may help those of us desiring to get better organized when planning a documentary. The software is called Celtx. More info can be found at:

Celtx - #1 choice for media pre-production.

Note that I am a starting user of celtx and have no affiliation with them. I'm simply learning as I go along. If anyone else has a handle on how to prepare for making film documentaries, I'd love to hear about your pre-production workflow.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #19
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I'm going to read trish's document. It looks interesting. The Celtx software seemed to be too much for my needs. As we talked about in this thread, trying to plan everything that happens in a documentary may lead to becoming too mechanical. I shoot historical documentaries and I need to think about how to tell the story of this historical event or that. I also want to allow some room for the story to develop and so want to stay from getting too rigid. Again, trish's doc may give me some good advice. Thanks for brining that to our attention.
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Old May 13th, 2009, 12:04 PM   #20
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the most important is that you really fell you´ve got something to say
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