THE UNSCRIPTED DOCUMENTARY
SHOOTING A DOCUMENTARY VIDEO
This is another segment in your demo tape - this documentary should be (loosely) 5 to 10 minutes in length. You will build this in three layers - the visual - the audio - and the music or audio back ground. In editing each of these elements must make sense by themself - if you close your eyes the audio should be suitable for a radio program - the music and secondary audio track should be smooth and link together - and the video should be well edited and tell the story with no sound and you and the reviewers should not become (too bored because there is no sound)
The title is a little misleading, by the time you have reached this lesson you realize you always need some plan in mind if you are going to end up with a good video.
BY SAYING UNSCRIPTED I mean, there will be no formal audio script untill the entire project has been video taped. You will by reviewing the first rough edit of the documentary and decide the introduction to the tape and where you actually need audio segments which will be necessary to explain the transition to the next step.
You need a series of questions which you will ask the people you interview. Name - age if appropriate - how long here - what did you do here - what do you think about this detail - what happened - what is goin on here - what will happen here - what do you know of the history of (?)
In short you need to have an idea of the story these people will tell
COACHING THE TALENT
Many of the people you interview will have absolutely no experience, on camera, or in telling the story in a way that you can use it in the video.
You will want to set out a number of rules for them.
1. You may interupt them and ask them to start over.
2. Ask them to include the question in their reply.
(for example - you ask - When did you do 'so and so' = they reply = It was in (date time or year) I was / I did /// or I was 18 when I did //
3. Some times you need the person to tell a story in a different way. After they have told you the segment - answered your question - ask them to tell the story again in a different way.
4. Most of the time people talk too fast, and run the sentences together, tell them this does not work on video and ask them to please slow down and pause when they finish a sentence.
5. On the Manuals page you will find links to effective interviewing - you should review these pages and make lists of their suggestions.
Here you will use every technique you have learned to archive the footage for the project, You will want to have so many different shots that you cannot possibly use them all.
Here you must accept that audiance who will be looking at your video will be used to watching commerical television, so you have to live up to their expectations. They will want the program to have a video paceing, fast and slow depending on what you are showing them - they will want the visual story to make sense - ( for example - showing a scene from a operating room back to back with a scene from a dineing room would not work.) One scene (cut) must lead logically to the next.
Ask yourself what story can I tell simply and easily in this documentary. You are going to find every documentary is a matrix of possibilities. The facts of life/history are all mixed together, one story leads to the next. Many of the storys are part of another story. So back to the question, how do we choose and limit the story to one we can tell.
You will want to decide on the theme which you will carry forward through the entire video.