Your proposal, which was based on your preliminary search, has been accepted. You have talked it through with the TV commissioning editor. You clearly know what the film is about and what it is meant to do. You have thought about audience. The contract has been signed, and you have gotten the go-ahead. The next stage is researching the subject in depth. As a researcher, you need to combine the penetrating brazenness of the good journalist with the painstaking attention to detail of the Ph.D. candidate. You must be observer, analyst, student, and note taker. Over a period that can be as short as a few days or as long as a few months, you must become an expert on the subject of the film, a subject you may never even have known existed a few weeks before—not an easy task, but always fascinating.

The one thing that dictates your research is your working hypothesis. You've already stated that your film is a look at the Eighty-second Airborne Division in the days immediately before and after the Gulf War, or about blacks in the military in the Second World War. Again, you may have stated that your film is an inquiry into California mental hospitals, or that it deals with British screenwriters and actors in Hollywood. These brief statements of your subject should be your guide. And within the limits of your subject, you are going to try and turn up everything that looks dramatic, compelling, or interesting.

This may seem a trifle obvious, but focusing your mind on your central film question helps you eliminate an enormous amount of junk material and saves you immense time. It saves you from doing research that may be intriguing but ultimately contributes little to the film. Research can be broken down into four sections: (1) print research, (2) photograph and archive research, (3) interviews, and (4) on-the-spot involvement with the subject on location. In practice, you are likely to be involved in all four forms of research at the same time.

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