Documentaries are a must-do for any aspiring filmmaker. We'll look at five strategies to take your short documentary to the next level in this article.
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For any filmmaker, doing a short documentary is a wonderful experience. With so much short-form documentary video available these days, it might be even more difficult to make your film stand out. So, here are five pointers to help you go ahead.
1. Do Proper Research
Research is the foundation of any well-made documentary. Any documentary, whether short or long, is built on solid research. Discover plot points, develop your narrative, craft your story arch, and mold your film using research.
There are numerous resources available to help you investigate your documentary subject. A better film is the result of better research.
2. Make a plan
Documentaries, unlike narrative films, rely on an outline to live and die. While documentary narratives are frequently changeable, a great plan serves as a sort of North Star for your project. These guiding principles, which are specified in your plan, ensure that your picture stays on track, even when things start to shift.
Making a documentary outline provides a scene breakdown throughout the film. It also outlines the story beats that your picture is likely to follow. When you can simply build an outline of your story, you know you've done your research well.
3. Find the Underlying Story
A superb documentary nevertheless delves deeper than the narrative of the face. Many of the early filmmakers create films that are on the surface. You may find a particular subject interesting to film and believe that it would equally be as interesting to your audience. So, you shoot it, edit it, and discover that you've made a good film. It's well-shot, well-edited, and concise. The plot, on the other hand, maybe lacking in depth. That's where the search for the deeper tale begins.
Making a documentary about the "what" is not a good idea. Make a documentary describing why you're doing it.
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4. investment in Sound.
In any film, the sound is crucial. However, in documentary filmmaking, its significance appears to be disregarded. In documentary filmmaking, however, sound can be more than just an interview or a voiceover. Sound can completely immerse the audience in your story. Sound design may help you connect with characters, allowing you to create a more effective story.
Consider how sound can assist you in telling a stronger tale when making your film.
5. Don't Overdo It: Less is More
The best edits make it appear as if filming is simple. Making a shorter documentary with a tighter and more structured story arch is a better decision than making a longer documentary with less story structure.
In filmmaking, there's an adage that "you have to murder your darlings." This is particularly true in the case of a documentary. Most feature-length documentary filmmakers eliminate 99 percent of the segments they shot by the time they reach the final edit if you ask them. Although several of these videos were probably their favorites, they didn't serve the tale well.
To tell your tale most effectively, keep reducing your documentary down to the most necessary bits.
Making a short-form documentary is, in general, a pleasant and exciting approach to make a film. You may make a stronger, more effective short documentary film by following these guidelines. But a word of advice too: don't let what others think you should do shackle the power of your imagination.
You must find a way to make your idea and vision come through in your docufilm. It could be in the form of perspectives, narrative technique, engaging shot angles, etc. Whatever makes your work speak and express your vision should be nurtured because at the end of the day; you're going to need that identity.
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Aug 23, 2021
by Eguaogie Eghosa