As a documentary director, I’ll spend a lot of time on the desk in processing the output. I will essentially create a frame by frame story from a haystack of video shoots. I’ll spend hours and hours on the audio processing. And even after I’ve decided on the final piece, and maybe years after I’d have made the documentary, I might still dwell on the question where you selected the right shots and right sequences. Remember to shoot a lot. Keep the camera rolling as much as possible. I’ll realize how seemingly useless frames fit into the design beautifully later on.
How to make a creative documentary?
There is no map with clear directions available for making a creative documentary, but I can describe some of the fruitful conditions that underpin this ambition.
• I need knowledge and awareness of different traditions in the history of documentary filmmaking. Creative cultural products generally modify, challenge or are inspired by what has been produced before.
• I need to develop an ability to locate and understand different approaches to the subject, and play with different ideas.
• Creative work tends to borrow and mix technologies or forms from different or related genres or art forms but also from different cultural fields. This process is often described as hybridisation.
• In order to be a creative filmmaker it helps to be an avid consumer.
• Take time to digest; down time is essential in creative production.
• Try to collaborate with other disciplines; different skills can contribute to the creative process.
• Be a member of a professional community. Creative communities provide ideas, contacts, venues and access to broadcasters, funders and festivals.
• Understand the purpose of the film, for whom is it made and why.
• Take ideas further, find new angles and don’t copy others: push myself.
• Above all, give up the idea that I can create a masterpiece on my own in splendid isolation.
Documentary is in a period of enormous change in the way it can tell stories, so experiment and dare to make mistakes or spend hours in editing rooms to make the film work.