Resources for budding documentarians?
November 1, 2010 11:26 PM   Subscribe

What are some good resources to learn about the nuts and bolts of making a documentary?

I'm familiar with camera equipment but I've never actually shot footage with the idea of putting it into a coherent documentary. I'll have the chance soon, and before I go out there I'd like to read up on methods and things to keep in mind. Suggestions? Thanks!
posted by borkingchikapa to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
This book is good stuff. I've edited doc and doclike stuff, sleepy now but I'll come back later with suggestions on how to do things so your editor will thank you.
posted by yellowbinder at 12:56 AM on November 2, 2010

Directing the Documentary is the best resource on this I've seen, hands down.
posted by jeanmari at 1:18 AM on November 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

The best way to learn about documentaries is to speak with the makers about their work. The world largest documentary festival IDFA, in Amsterdam has published their professional guest list with contact information. Try to get in touch.
posted by ouke at 1:23 AM on November 2, 2010

It sounds like you need to think about and plan for the editing process - a good book to help you think about how it works is In the Blink of an Eye

One of the best things you can do is watch docs you like and reverse engineer how (and why) the filmmaker a) got the shot, and b) edited it together. DVDs with filmmakers tallking about their work can be good to help with this, and the NFB Capturing Reality site is a good resource

Not sure IDFA people will respond to random questions, but you can hang out in the public area of the D-Word where filmmakers are very generous with advice.

The most important thing is to have a strong idea yourself of why you personally want to make the film. That and a good editor ;-)

Good luck!
posted by gravelshoes at 3:20 AM on November 2, 2010

Seconding jeanmari - Rabiger's Directing the Documentary is the bible.

Also, a good community helps, so attend conferences, film festivals, and workshops to meet people, trade notes, and figure out how to get things done!
posted by asuprenant at 3:49 AM on November 2, 2010

I found the book "Documentary story telling" by Sheila Curran Bernard a great read. Along with some great information it features a series of interviews with documentarians.
posted by jade east at 8:31 AM on November 2, 2010

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