TELL OUR STORY
At this point, I should think about how we’re going to tell our story. From the research, I found the documentaries can be told in different ways, such as through the use of a voiceover or through what the characters and subjects say. A voiceover is a popular way to narrate such films, but letting the characters tell the story can feel more natural.
If we using a voiceover, write the script before filming. This helps to create a shot list and to structure the film. Our voiceover should always present information; it should never have an opinion. On the other hand, if you’re using your characters to tell thestory, be sure to have a list of questions to ask them.
Depending on our project, I decided use our characters to tell the story, so we disscuss a number of questions to ask them.
In addition to these conceptual considerations, the screenwriter must ask a number of practical questions as well:
· Why is this film being made?
· What does the producer/client/financier want to achieve through the film?
· Who is the targeted audience and what should their reaction to the film be?
· How much does the audience already know about the subject?
· What will be the film’s technical conditions of use (Black & White/Multi-colour?
RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: I CAN’T SAY IT ENOUGH!
Every film, especially a documentary, has a ‘value’. This could be social, political, historical, philosophical, artistic or of some other kind. The amount of research a scriptwriter puts in is directly related to the ‘value’ of the film. In the rush to get started, many people often skim over the research process. Especially in films that involve subjects of a personal nature; for example: a person’s journey within his own family to explore social dynamics. A scriptwriter could be instructed to write a script on a live event that was shot some time ago, like a riot, or for a film on the thoughts and feelings of a celebrity already captured in detail on camera. He might ask himself, “How can I possibly add anything more to the subject information?” Even in films that seem straightforward and detailed information has already been given to the scriptwriter, there is always room for more research. There are simply no shortcuts that will provide the quality of a well-researched film.
As the scriptwriter, I must ask some important questions:
· What have I not yet been told about this subject?
· Is everything I have been told the truth? How much do I need to verify?
· What would I personally like to know about this subject?
· If I were a member of the audience, what would I want to learn about this subject?
· What can I find that is little known on this subject?
· If the shooting has not yet started, what information can I gather that would aid the filming process?