This week in film/TV2 lecture, we spoke about the documentaries that we will be creating later in the semester. We were told that our documentaries should be between 4-7 minutes, so let’s hope that I can manage that (I usually tend to go a fair bit over).
The lecture made us think about some key questions that often need to be considered before making a documentary. This was helpful as I am rather unsure when it comes to creating a good documentary.
• How does it differ from fiction?
• How is it similar?
• What is my position in the film?
• How do you position yourself as a storyteller?
• Are form and content unified?
• We’re not making current affair stories (Not like Broadcast media), we are making cinema
This last point about making cinema is the hardest for me to grasp. When I think of the word ‘documentary’, I usually think of ‘fact’, ‘current affairs’, ‘informative’, etc. However, this is not what is required of us for this semester. This is a point which I think I may need a bit more clarification on before creating my documentary. We have been provided with some past students documentaries from this subject which is extremely helpful. Our tutor, Liam, showed my class a film this week from a past student’s work called, “The End of the Line”. This film was a documentary about Broken Hill which was rather amazing to watch. I’ll come back to this film a bit later.
Open your eyes and ears
• Where do we find our story?
• We are surrounded by good story ideas
• How doe we know a good story when we see one?
• Shouldn’t just be photos and description – should go deeper and analyse.
o Why did this work?
o Why didn’t it?
o What am I learning from it?
This is a good point, as often, I can get caught up in just posting photos from interesting things or merely talking about what we did in class today, without actually going deeper and thinking about why we do them or how it helps me.
• Not only about physically having access to the material you want on screen, but also letting the audience mentally and emotionally access the material
• Fire, passion and curiosity
Visualization and hook
• Must be aesthetically pleasing – does the story have visual potential
• Medium relies on arresting and attractive images
• The hook is not usually what someone wants, it’s usually about the conflict, the drama (someone else wants something else that conflicts with that other person)
• Don’t count on it – good things can come out of the mess
Liam also spoke about ‘serendipity’ (which is a word I have been hearing a lot of in Integrated Media 2 this semester), and, serendipity was exactly how the student documentary, “The End of the Line” was made. Apparently, the group had a completely different idea to begin with, but unfortunately, had a huge falling out just before filming. So, one of group members took the camera and filmed the entire documentary herself. What came out of it was much better than what they had initially intended. So, I think that we have to be rather open to ‘serendipity’ and if something doesn’t go as planned, just go with flow and see where it takes us.