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Old June 11th, 2012, 11:15 AM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Posts: 1,233
Tips for a small documentary

Hi guys,

Ive just discovered that the company I work for as a project manager has a big communications department (photography, video, PR, etc) and I really want to tap that. So for some time now Ive been creating a portfolio to display my work as photographer, copy writer, designer and now a filmmaker. Since Im talking about one of the biggest mining companies in the world I cannot exactly show them all the music videos Ive shot over the years, so I was thinking about a short documentary where I can highlight the companys' values and my abilities as a filmmmaker. Ive just found out that they invested about 2 millions on the biggest Botanical Garden in Brazil (its really a very beautiful place) to help preserve it. I was thinking that this could maybe be a good starting point for a short documentary, but I have yet to find a good hook or main theme for the documentary.

Bullet points:
- Company's values - we care about the environment, about the community and about our employees.
- Visually stunning (this is more on my end...but the Botanical Gardens should provide a great set to help me out with this).
- I work as a project manager, so I will have to shoot this on my free time by my self with my equipment (DSLR, mic, tripod, etc).

Im thinking mixing footage of the exuberant wilderness of the park with interviews, but again I'm not sure how what the main point should be. Do you guys have any thoughts on how to approach it?

This is a serious project so I would appreciate if we could keep the thread serious and objective. Other then this all creative input will be greatly appreciated.

Rafael Lopes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Entebbe Uganda
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Re: Tips for a small documentary

When I am given a project to work on I usually find I have a lot of motivation and drive to get the job done within the timeframe allocated. I don't have time to think about it, I just have to get out there and do it before its too late.

With my own projects I find I have a lot of apathy about starting, generally because I don't have to, and because I don't have any particular deadline. So I kind of hum-and-haw, and put it off.

Probably you are in the same situation; you don't have any deadline, and you don't have any project description.

I find the best thing to do is to set yourself a deadline, and a simple project description, and then try to stick to it. This should give you the motivation you need to just get out there and shoot something. Then when I come back I find I might have an idea in which direction to go with it, and then go back to get the real project filmed.

So with you and your situation I would recommend you try to set yourself a simple goal. Or better yet let me do it for you:

Rafael: go out there and film a 3 minute short documentary about a gardener who works in the Botanical Gardens. You have exactly 1 month to shoot, edit and deliver the project.

If you try that you will find that you get out there and actually meet some of the people who work there, and talk to them. You'll film the plants. And the birds. And in 1 month when you have finished you may find an idea about where to take it in the long run.

Incidentally, you should think about joining the UWOL competitions that are run every 3 months here at DVinfo; I started doing them to sharpen my documentary skills and have found them to be very motivating. The rules are the same as above; 1 month to deliver a 3 minute documentary!
Simon Wood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old June 16th, 2012, 03:11 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Posts: 1,233
Re: Tips for a small documentary

Thanks for the advice. Youre right, since it's a personal project that I will use to try to change departments in my company I don't have any pressure and I have it a bit hard to be objective. I think visiting the place a bunch of times to obverse what goes on, talk to people, do some research will probably help me gather material and give me a sense of direction.
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