Creating a documentary – helpful ideas

Creating a documentary film, or any film for that matter requires alot of planning and organization. The key to creating a good film usually lies in your ability to tell a well thought out story. Documentary film making is no different.
There are some key steps in the planning process that will make the entire creation of the film easier, smoother, and will help ensure that you’ll end up with a film that makes sense.
I love all the brainstorming, the question ideas are great, and I’m trying to think what the best way to approach it is.
The first step in creating a film is to think of a central theme, or thesis, just like a research paper. What is the main question you’re trying to ask? What is the idea you’re trying to convey in the entirety of the film? A good idea would be to write a pitch. Basically it would be a 1-2 page summary of you’re film’s main idea and intention. Since this is seems like it would be sort of an exploratory documentary, it might be a good idea to focus the pitch on a single question, and elaborate your ideas around that question.  For example – Say the main question you’re trying to ask is “What do you live the way you live?”. State why you’re asking this question, what you’re hoping to find out from the research you’ll subsequently be doing through interviews. State why you think this is relevant, and why you think people would care. State why you think its important to for people to understand what other people’s motivations are, and how it could help viewers watching the film to discover, or understand something more about themselves. So basically, you get the idea, it’s to elaborate on a main question and eventually boil it down to a clean, concise idea for the film.
Once you’ve got an idea, the real planning for the actual shooting of the film begins. I’ll post more on that later.

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6 Responses to Creating a documentary – helpful ideas

  1. activephilosophy says:

    This is really great start. However, I think that we are too inchoate right now to start developing a thesis. We need more time to brainstorm and get ideas out.

    It is essential that we keep this in mind when trying to start the movies. This type of comment is very helpful.

  2. Mike says:

    Definitely, I agree that we obviously need much more brianstorming and idea developement, just thought I’d throw this out there for reference in the future.

  3. deadondres says:

    This was a sobering post…but useful. We will absolutely need to keep this in mind. It is important not to stray too far from good storytelling which hasn’t really changed over thousands of years.

  4. fitz says:

    Great advice: Thank you

  5. Bruce J. Rader says:

    I am a newly diagnosed HIV patient going on 1 and 1/2 years now. After disclosing my HIV status to a gentleman that I had a casual sexual relationship with for several years he disclosed his HIV+ status to me long distance NE to my new home CA. Upon my return to NE 1 and 1/2 years after I found out that I was HIV+ along with him as well, I was told by him to not tell anyone about his HIV status for he still hadn’t told his wife .. OMFG!!!!

    Being a divorced man with kids, I could never imagine myself keeping that a secret from the ones that I love thus putting them at risk. Since this time I have done alot of online research to gather numbers at statistics of roughly how many men (straight, gay, bi and married) that there are in several US cities that are lying about their own HIV status’ and IT’S ALARMING to say the least.

    Some states have an HIV disclosure law while others do not. Some HIV medical specialists are all for HIV disclosure laws while others are not .. I am an HIV Awareness advocate .. more so to help save some of these unsuspecting women than gay men for they should know better and know how to protect themselves while these women have no clue, no chance to prolong their lives. HIV 2010 is NOT a death sentence; NOT KNOWING your status is.

    I would love to take part in a documentary about HIV and this particular subject matter. I have proven tactics into finding out the truths and can gather very meaningful data to not only back such a story but to MAKE people aware of what is going on in this world with HIV since it is not talked about so much these days. This data would also be perfect information to provide to the states’ legislators as we lobby for such laws in these states if not federal laws .. This type of behavior should be considered illegal and punishable by law.

    • ty says:

      HELLO Bruce
      my name is ty im interesed in your story for a documentary please send me contact info to discuss our ideas
      thanks for your time & interest

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