Posted on October 7, 2011 by IP
In 2005, Steve Jobs gave the commencement address to the graduating students at Stanford. He told them the secret that defined him in every action, every decision, every creation of his life:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Basic Documentary Structure
By: Gene Rodriguez, III
Documentary structure is often determined by the film's subject. The flexible nature of the documentary structure still has room for some constant elements-elements that are required in any type of storytelling format.
How To Structure A Documentary
Whether it's an epic drama or an insightful documentary, all films should tell a story. While documentaries often follow a story determined by a subject, that story still needs to be told using elements that make sense to viewers. Here are some of the most important:
Beginning. Middle. End. Like all movies, documentaries need to fit into the basic structure of beginning/middle/end. The beginning should make a statement or establish the parameters of your story. The middle should provide detail, either to support the opening statement or to outline conflict and resolution. The end should tie the elements of the story together-to prove your statement or resolve the over-arching conflict established in the beginning.
Off the hook. Like a good novel, a good documentary will start with a scene or scenes that immediately capture the audience and make them want to continue watching. Whether it's a powerful visual or an intriguing dilemma, the opening should leave your viewers hungry for more.
Stay on track. As the middle of your documentary proceeds, it should be consistently organized around a simple structure. Some example structures include: anecdote/reflection, comparison/contrast and cause/effect.
Providing insight. In order to tell your story, you may have to provide significant background information. While it is possible to provide background with narration, interviews with experts of principles in your story will have more impact.
Rising tension. As the middle of your documentary evolves it should contain multiple instances of conflict and resolution. These occurrences should escalate to a climax near the end of your film.
The end? Your material should suggest an ending for your film. Although your documentary should come to a logical conclusion, it may not be the end of the story for your main characters. Find a way to signal that this particular passage may be over, but that real life rarely comes with a neat sense of closure. http://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_duarte_the_secret_structure_of_great_talks.html The documentary is portrayed as a story.
Documentary Storytelling: The Drama of Real Life
By Sheila Curran Bernard
Documentary filmmakers, no less than dramatic screenwriters, strive to tell strong, often character-driven stories that have a beginning, middle and end, with something at stake, rising tension, and a narrative arc that keeps viewers actively engaged. Unlike dramatists, however, nonfiction filmmakers can't invent characters and plot points, but must instead find them in the raw material of real life. "The documentarist has a passion for what he finds in images and sounds - which always seem to him more meaningful than anything he can invent," wrote media historian Erik Barnouw. "It is in selecting and arranging his findings that he expresses himself." At the same time, if the film is to be documentary and not propaganda, this creative arrangement must result in work that adheres not only to standards of good storytelling, but also good journalism.