Printed Material

Within the limits of time, budget, sanity, and common sense, you should try to read as much as possible about the subject. Your aim is simple: within a very short time, you want to become, if not an expert in the field, at least a person with a superior knowledge of the subject. Print research can involve scanning databases, checking bibliographies and print sources, and reading books, papers, magazines, trade journals, articles, diaries, letters, and even congressional records and transcriptions of court trials. If material is highly technical, complex, or jargonized, you should get somebody to help you to understand it. Obviously, if you do not understand the material, you won't be able to say anything sensible about it in your film.

Of course, there are problems all along the way. You will often read too much too deeply, making it difficult to isolate the valuable or relevant material. You will get sidetracked by irrelevant but fascinating stories. After a while, however, you will learn to scan and to distinguish the important fact from the obscuring detail. Another problem is that much of the material may be out of date or presented from a biased or self-serving point of view. Take care to check the date of the material and the credentials and background of the writer. When I suspect that the material comes from a highly interested and partisan source (particularly in films of a political or controversial nature), I try to check the biases of the informant as well. I also double-check statistics, remembering the old adage, "There are lies, more lies, and statistics."

There is one point that I think is terribly important, especially in investigatory films, and that is to go back to the original sources for your information. Do not be content with second- or third-hand reports. If you are doing a film on World War I, don't just read a few history books. Instead, start digging out documents, wills, diaries, and contemporary newspaper accounts. If you are doing a film on government policy, you should start digging into official records, state papers, memoranda, and the like. This is not easy, but it is necessary.

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.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment