Observations

This book follows what I see as the natural progression of the documentary film. It starts with a discussion of ideas, research, and script structure; proceeds through preproduction and production; and then deals in depth with editing and commentary writing. By the time you have finished part 4, you should be familiar with the preparation and production of the standard documentary or industrial film. Part 5 covers a few distinct types of film and some special techniques. Thus, there is one chapter on the historical film and another on cinema verite. The final chapters, the "wrap," offer advice on fund-raising and marketing, and a perspective on the entire process.

Within this framework, I have made one or two policy decisions. The first concerns the subject of video and film. This book is intended to help both filmmakers and video makers. Whether you are making a documentary on film or video, for at least half the time, your path and approach will be exactly the same. Only during editing will the paths separate. Reasons for choosing video over film, or vice versa, will be discussed in chapter 3. But in terms of approach, script writing, and directing, what applies to one, applies to the other.

The book also addresses both documentary filmmakers and makers of other forms of nonfiction film—for instance, industrial, travel, and educational films. Obviously, the objectives of these different kinds of film vary enormously. The documentary often has a strong reform or social purpose, while an industrial may serve to improve a company's corporate image or to act as a fund-raiser. However, though their purposes differ, both genres share a great number of methods and techniques. For example, if you are dealing with research or script writing, your methods will be as valid for the industrial film as for the documentary. Finally, on a practical level, most makers of nonfiction films exist in both the sponsored world and the world of documentary. Today they will make an investigatory documentary; tomorrow they will make an industrial film. The more knowledge you have of the techniques of both, the better off you are.

My last observation concerns money. Only purists, angels, and millionaires make films without thinking about money. Films cost money, usually a hell of lot, and the sooner you start thinking about that fact, the better. Neither writing nor directing is done in a vacuum; scriptwriter and director alike must be aware of budget limitations. Once you start talking about money, you might as well discuss fund-raising and the role of the producer. Both subjects are in fact discussed in this book at length, and I make no apologies. Someone once expressed it this way: "The successful filmmaker has his head full of dreams, his eyes on the mountains, but his feet on the ground." That puts it bluntly, but it makes sense.

Film Making

Film Making

If you have ever wanted the secrets to making your own film, here it is: Indy Film Insider Tips And Basics To Film Making. Have you ever wanted to make your own film? Is there a story you want to tell? You might even think that this is impossible. Studios make films, not the little guy. This is probably what you tell yourself. Do you watch films with more than a casual eye? You probably want to know how they were able to get perfect lighting in your favorite scene, or how to write a professional screenplay.

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