View Full Version : Shooting a doc...

09-28-2005, 06:50 AM
I'm currently getting footage for a documentary about a new theatre production company who are going through the stages of putting on their very first show.

It's all well and good to get footage of various stages in the production process, but there's still a LOT of stuff outside of that I need. As this is my first attempt at a documentary, I really don't have much of an idea what to do. What are some key things I should look for or try to achieve? Should I strive to find some sort of interesting subplot or anything like that?

Any help anyone can give would be much appreciated. :)

09-28-2005, 11:59 AM
There are several good books you should read before embarking on your first documentary (Directing the Documentary & Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Video are 2 good ones).

The basic idea is you should have a script written before you start filming. Even with cinema verte you should have an idea of the story you are going to tell. Yes, by the time you reach the editing room, the script usually gets thrown out and new ideas and themes develope.

It's generally not simple enough to put in a sentence or two but if you are doing a documentary about the troupe then decide what it is about the company you are trying to tell the audience? Why are they watching your documentary? Ask the hard questions about why anyone would ever care to see anything about the "behind the scenes" stuff at a new theatre production company. What is the drama/conflict? If you can answer those questions then you will know what you need to shoot.

The mistake most first time documentary makers make (myself included) is to overreach, try to tell too much. You see all these interesting subplots developing and you want to include those. Sometimes you might find a character that personalize the theme of the story which is fine. But this is different then a completely seperate subplot which generally should be avoided.

Read the books, this will get you in the right frame of mind. :)


09-28-2005, 07:51 PM
Thanks wabbit, very helpful tips :) I'll try and get a hold of those books.