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54. Documentary Film Making

54. Documentary Film Making

I don’t make documentaries but I do watch a lot of them, and I also spend a bunch of time writing for the Internet, and that pretty much makes me an expert. Anyway, documentaries take storytelling techniques and port them over into the real world. Your characters are typically unscripted, and your narrative arc emerges during the creation of the film.

How do you make a good documentary?

First, take a look at this brief outline from learnhub. Life Changing? Probably not, but it is a good introduction to the elements of a documentary.

Afterwards, skip on over to Berkeley and take a look at some of the films they’ve listed. These are documentaries about making documentaries, many of them showing wildly different approaches to the art.

If you plan on remixing content in your documentaries, you might also want to look at this guide from the center of social media on Best Practices in documentary film making. It discusses Fair Use and exactly how you can use copyrighted content in your films.

Finally, watch the clip above and fire up your Netflix. Often the best way to learn about a specific genre of film is to immerse yourself in it. A few of my favorites: Maxed Out (a story about credit card debt), Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room (about the rise and fall of Enron), and American Zombie (a mockumentary about, well, zombies).

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