In this project, you will make an original documentary film on the topic of your choice. Think of this as your major project for 3rd quarter as it will be the last BIG thing you do before Spring Break.
- Target length is 5:00
- You must have at least two interviews
- You must blow my mind with your creativity and awesomeness
Before You Begin
Review some of the major documentary concepts such as b-roll and interview skills. Watch the following shorts and try to identify the things that make them quality documentaries.
Remember to stick to your production roles! Remember how much smoother things go when roles are stuck to. You will likely have more than one role.
- Producer: responsible for overall production and communication among team members; schedules interviews
- Director of Photography: responsible for visual aspects of the film; may have assistants as camera operators; shoots b-roll and interview, ensures proper lighting in interview
- Audio Engineer: responsible for capturing sound in interviews and music creation in post-production
- Editor: responsible for editing the film in iMovie
- Talent: narrator or host, interviewer
- Writer: researches topic and prepares interview questions; writes narration or voiceover script
1. Choose a Topic: You will have a few days to develop your “pitch” – a quick summary of your topic that you will present to the class on Monday. The class will vote on three topics to pursue. Some tips for finding an interesting topic:
- Find the emotion in everyday life
- Choose an issue that people can relate to, or affects them directly whether at school or at home
- Find an interesting person or group you think the world should know more about
- Choose a subject you are personally passionate about
- Choose a subject that’s currently in the news or on people’s minds
- Explore an injustice or unfairness in society, or a problem you’d like to see fixed
You have two choices to deliver your pitch.
- Give an in-person presentation to the class on Monday
- Record your pitch on your iPad and play it to the class over AppleTV on Monday.
Personally, I think the second option gives you the opportunity to do a more thoughtful job…you can rehearse and make mistakes that no one will see and you can add some extras by editing in iMovie. Take a look at the following example for some ideas of what to do and what not to do.
2. Develop a Concept: Brainstorm how you will explore your topic. Will you tell a story? Will there be a narrator or host? Will your film seek to persuade, advocate or simply inform about the topic?
3. Develop Your Plan
- Create an outline: What will happen at the beginning, middle and end? Remember to have a “hook” at the beginning to draw your viewer in.
- Research Your Topic: Documentaries need to have facts! Know your topic well and gather the facts before you do anything else.
- Download the Project Planner to plan your production. Edit using Pages on your iPad and email the final copy to Mr. Lewis.
- Plan out your interviews. Who will your subjects be? Schedule the interviews and get permission. Begin writing questions for your interviews.
- Create a Shot List for B-roll: Remember to include lots of closeups and shots that create emotion with your subject
- Remember your interview skills. Quality interviews can make or break a documentary.
- Shoot b-roll before and after interviews; allow the interview answers to influence what b-roll you shoot afterwords.
- Remember to shoot various storytelling shots and “chill footage” – ex. your subject entering and leaving rooms, working at their desk or “doing their thing,” signs and room numbers, establishing shots of buildings, etc.
- Edit interview and b-roll together using cutaways
- Record your voiceover narration if you are using it
- Tie everything together with background music and subtitles or other text if necessary