This book arose out of a series of discussions and seminars I had with students, first at the Australian National Film School and later at Stanford University. These students knew everything about technology, but they undervalued ideas. Most of them had grown up in the tradition of cinema verite, which one student interpreted to me as "shoot before you think."

Cinema verite has an absolutely vital spot in any film curriculum, but if mishandled, it can have a detrimental effect on other film disciplines, especially writing. This is exactly what I found: Raised on a diet of cinema verite, the students knew nothing about planning a standard documentary or industrial film and were completely lost when it came to writing commentary. Further exploration showed that they had a highly romantic vision of what happened on location and a completely unrealistic view of how a documentary film director worked. When I gently suggested that a documentary director's main task was listening to people, they thought I was joking.

One thing was clear. Though the students knew everything concerning the realities of feature filmmaking, they had only the faintest idea of what documentary was all about. So we talked, and gradually the idea of this book was born.

At first I thought the essay would discuss only writing, as that seemed to be the biggest problem. However, that soon proved to be too limiting. After all, where did writing end? Writing was not just idea and commentary; it was the overall concept of the film. And if you look at the problem more broadly, don't documentary directors write the film as they go along? They have to face the unexpected. They have to make choices on the spot. They can shape the film any one of a dozen ways while supervising the editing. So how could you have a book on writing that failed to deal with directing?

Writing and directing are inextricably linked in the making of documentary and industrial films. I know that many people just write, and others just direct. But the usual situation is to find both tasks combined in one person, and necessarily so, because it is hard to say where one ends and the other begins. So once I was committed to exploring writing problems, it was inevitable that directing had to be covered as well.

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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