Documentary Film Editing Pdf File

Documentary film editing pdf file

Students who choose narrative filmmaking must submit a screenplay no longer than ten pages, which they transform into a short film toward the end of their studies.

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For students who choose documentary filmmaking, however, the writing process is more nebulous. For example, are you going to interview your subjects? Are you going to record them in action?

Documentary film editing pdf file

What sort of situations are you going to cover? Will you need archival footage?

Documentary film editing pdf file

You might think of a documentary proposal as a more formal, written statement of intent. A documentary proposal often is used to seek grant financing and should be a well-planned, clear, and professional essay-style document. It should cover a few things.

Documentary film editing pdf file

What shape will it take? What visuals will it include? Although most Lights Film School students submit their proposals during pre-production in order to cast a vision for their film and invite actionable feedback, in the wider world of documentary filmmaking, grants are available at every stage, from production through post-production and beyond. Unlike a narrative filmmaker, a documentary filmmaker usually continues writing after the production process.

How will you inspire a reaction in the hearts and minds of your audience?


Essentially, how can your story be told most effectively? Why you should you take the time to engage in Proposal Writing during pre-production? There are quite a few reasons, including:. Convinced of the usefulness of Proposal Writing? So how do you actually write a documentary proposal? What do you need in order to successfully cast your vision and, when necessary, inspire others to finance your film? One of the best existing resources, however, is The Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization that actively advances the work of independent storytellers in film and theatre.

We reached out for their perspective, and to our delight, Betsy Tsai — assistant to the Sundance Film Fund — was happy to chat!

Step 1: How to make a documentary: starting out

Prior to joining the Sundance Documentary Film Program, Betsy worked for a conflict analysis nonprofit and on award-winning fiction and nonfiction films. In order to apply for a grant, filmmakers must submit — you guessed it — a written proposal.

I should have a strong sense of what I might see on screen, whether you have access to these subjects or events, how it will read stylistically, and what the emotional tone of the film will be.

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How is your film different from other films on the subject? Yes and yes. Not only is our process highly competitive, but successful applicants are also doing something visually compelling and have a distinct voice. The secret to a good application is to somehow be able to translate that cinematic voice into the language of the application.

References to other films or artworks can also be helpful in evoking what you are going for. You should have identified and secured access to your main characters. We also want to have some sense of narrative engine in the film. In most cases, there should be something at stake. Our applicant pool is extremely competitive, so while we do accept development applications without work-in-progress samples, we strongly encourage all applicants to have some visual material.

For a production or post-production application, the narrative arc should be pretty clear. In other words, we are going somewhere and not ending up where we started.

Apart from mistaking issue for story, the most common thing I see is filmmakers not doing their homework on what other films are out there on the subject. It should be clear in writing and on screen that your project is going into the depths and nuances that shorts and reportage cannot.

Step 2: What you need when planning how to make a documentary

A few things Betsy shared with us really stood out to me, in terms of things that Lights Film School students and other independent filmmakers should keep in mind when preparing a documentary proposal during pre-production. The documentary proposal should paint a striking picture of what you want to do.

A documentary captures real life, but it still employs storytelling techniques. Give the reader a clear sense of the characters who will carry the story. Draw us into their stories with passion, personality, and verve.

Get creative!

Perfecting the Film Post Production Workflow

This is so important. A documentary proposal is an opportunity for you to get clear on your vision and test how that vision will resonate with audiences.

Documentary film editing pdf file

Lauren McGrail, with. Proven pointers from a successful first time director, covering production through distribution of her award-winning documentary. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Out of these cookies, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are as essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website.

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Documentary film editing pdf file

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Documentary film editing pdf file

Structural Writing Unlike a narrative filmmaker, a documentary filmmaker usually continues writing after the production process. A documentary film proposal is a sort of blueprint that articulates your intentions.

Hello, Betsy! Thanks so much for taking the time to share your insights with our students and readers!

As someone who reviews documentary proposals, what do you really like to see in one? What makes a documentary proposal successful? What shape do you want a proposal to take?

A sense of structure helps keep a film engaging and on track, for sure. On a related note, how firm of a vision should a documentary filmmaker have when submitting a proposal?

Filmmaking (Documentary, Experimental, and Fiction)

Should they describe visuals, characters, etc.? The Sundance Institute has a range of fellowships and labs available to documentary filmmakers. Do you find that you review more proposals for one stage of production than another? When you review a proposal from a filmmaker who is in the beginning stages of pre-production on a documentary, what type of information are you looking for? What do you want the filmmaker to express? When you review a proposal from a filmmaker who is already in production or even post-production, what type of information are you looking for?

What are some common pitfalls you see in documentary proposals for films in any stage of creation? Or is there something that is commonly missing?

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Express clarity of vision. Have a structure. Things will change as you move along, but be strong in your intentions from the get-go. Describe and secure access to the people in your film. Contextualize where appropriate. Use words to paint vivid visuals.

Documentary Filmmaking

What will we be seeing as we experience your film? After all, it is a visual medium! In Conclusion A documentary proposal is an opportunity for you to get clear on your vision and test how that vision will resonate with audiences. Lauren McGrail, with Want to learn more about documentary filmmaking?

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