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Documentary Techniques
-- Discuss issues facing documentary production.

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Old June 10th, 2009, 05:55 PM   #16
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BTW, brick walls can be climbed.

It's the thorny hedges that are tough to get past!
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Old July 9th, 2009, 06:28 PM   #17
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I'd say get an inexpensive camera and start making some short doc-style stuff, just a few minutes each. Interview your friends about their hobbies, your family about family history, whatever. Do 'em quick, once a week or whatever time allows. Don't obsess over the details, just churn - but find one thing that could be improved in each one and then concentrate on improving it in the next one. In six months you'll either be starting to get good enough that you'll know when you're ready to do your doc - or you'll know this just isn't for you.
My latest short documentary: "Four Pauls: Bring the Hat Back!"
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Old November 14th, 2009, 06:43 AM   #18
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In my opinion the best way to find out if you can do it, is to do it. However, don’t expect a masterpiece the first time doing it. Even the best in the business had to start somewhere and I bet their first attempt wasn’t as good as their second and third and so on.

Experience is the key. The more you do it the better you become. I bet the first graphic design you did isn’t a patch on what you can do now. Making doc is pretty much the same. The best ones are the ones that make it look easy and hold the interest of the viewer / audience. Just like graphic design such as a logo that sticks in one’s mind, yet the beauty of it was its simplicity yet took a lot of hard work to derive.

With documentary making, the biggest key is research and more research! This what will make or break the story. As for shooting a 30 to 40 minute doc, that’s a long, long time to hold an audience.

Let us know how you got on.
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Old November 21st, 2009, 07:30 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
It depends how good your interviewees are. If they're naturals and great communicators you don't have too many problems, if they're not and you haven't a good interview technique you could have difficulty.

You certainly can do what you describe, the question is more is does it have the quality and content that broadcasters would be interested in?
It also really comes down to how entertaining is the doc? 2 hours of talking heads will result in snoring heard in the next block.

The final product has to retain interest from the viewer. Even with interest it can still put someone to sleep. I've watched doc's that had a subject that found extremely interesting but I was still put to sleep by the monotone voice over and endless talking head interviews with little to none b-roll footage.

That said, if you can afford to spend the cash then go for it. Just don't expect to automatically sell you finished product to a broadcaster or the direct to DVD market.

I see this all the time with people making low budget movies. They just assume they will be able to easily sell the finished product. It doesn't work that way.

You could always enter your doc into festivals and see what response you get there, and if nothing else gain from the experience of making a documentary and move on to the next one etc.
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