The Director Prepares

The purpose of this and the following two chapters is to look at the attitude and working methods of the documentary director, offering a few hints to ease a path that is difficult but ultimately tremendously rewarding.

Up to production and location shooting, many of the director's responsibilities could, in theory, be shared. When shooting starts, however, the full responsibility for the film falls on the shoulders of the director. His or her job is to create or find the pieces that will come together in the editing to make a complete film. If a director fouls up in a feature film, it may be possible to reshoot. If a documentary director makes a mistake on a onetime event, there may be no film to speak of. So the responsibilities are quite significant.

It is not so difficult to define the image of the documentary director, which has changed tremendously since the days of Robert Flaherty and John Grierson, as it is to clarify the role. In certain films, the role of the documentary director will be similar to that of the feature director—that is, to set up shots and tell people how to move and what to do. The similarities to the feature director's role are, however, superficial. The substance of documentary differs vastly from that of features, since you are dealing with reality, not fiction. Because the quest of the documentary director is different from that of the feature director, different qualities are called for in directing. While both share the necessity of understanding film language and film grammar, the vision, purpose, and general working methods of the documentary director differ radically from those of the feature filmmaker.

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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