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Luke Gramlich

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1 Luke Gramlich

2 BEGINNING: Introduces the story you are telling to the viewer and establishes the film’s conflict. Provides the viewer with the back story necessary to understand the story you are going to tell. MIDDLE: Provides detail, either to support the opening statement or to outline conflict or resolution. END: Ties the elements of the story together to prove your statement, resolves the over-arching conflict established in the beginning, and leaves your viewer with a take-away message.

3  In the beginning of a documentary the “hook” is what draws your audience in.  CREATE CURIOSITY: Make your subject or problem interesting to keep your audience watching.  What movies have you seen that have a strong or weak hook?

4  A film’s “train” is what moves the film forward.  It is the “vehicle” that takes the film from beginning to end.  What is the train in “Unusual Choices: Ani Chudrun”?

5  A film’s “train” is what moves the film forward.  It is the “vehicle” that takes the film from beginning to end.  What is the train in “Unusual Choices: Ani Chudrun”?  Ani and the path she is walking along act as the train

6  A film’s “train” is what moves the film forward.  It is the “vehicle” that takes the film from beginning to end.  What is the train in “Unusual Choices: Ani Chudrun”?  Ani and the path she is walking along act as the train  It is sometimes okay to detour from the train, but…

7  REMEMBER: The purpose of the train is to help you tell the story you want to tell.  It is okay to make a detour but make sure it is contributing to the main story.  Avoid going off on tangents and telling other stories. Be concise.  In documentary film, especially short films, less information is often more and can have a stronger impact.

8  This usually makes up about 80% of the film.  REMEMBER: Don’t derail, stay organized around a simple structure.  In the body the main plot unfolds, the audiences gets to know the characters, what they’re doing and why.  As the middle of your film evolves it should contain instances of conflict and resolution, which escalate to a high point at the end of your film.

9  Doing pre-interviews before shooting an interview can be helpful. It doesn’t have to be formal.  It is possible for a story to change based on information from an interviewee.  Listen for sound bites during an interview. They should be interesting and help tell the story. REMEMBER: Less is often more, so you’ll typically want to use short, concise sound bites that grab the viewer and get to the point  If you subject says something interesting, don’t hesitate to have him or her rephrase the answer to better suit your film. Avoid ‘yes or no’ questions.

10  Frame up the shot with the interviewee on one side of the screen. If the interviewee is on the left, have him or her look to the right at either the interviewer or a designated object or person.  Typically avoid having the interviewee in the center of the screen or having him or her look directly at the camera. However, in some situations this might create the desired effect.

11  Frame the shot where the interviewee’s face is in the middle of the screen where there is not too much or too little head room.  Have an interesting or neutral background. Neutral backgrounds are good for close ups. Avoid bright backgrounds.  Make sure the interviewee is well-light, but not over-light.  Conduct interviews in quiet places.

12  COVER consists of all the footage in a film except the interview. It is used to visually tell the story  Voice over from the interview, or narration is often used over cover.  Cover does not have to be only video. It can also be graphics or photographs.  When shooting cover, use a variety of close ups, medium shots and wide shots to keep things visually interesting.  Continuity in shots helps to establish sense of time, place and mood.  Shooting with the camera on a tripod will make things look more professional.

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14 Camera pans from right to left

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16 “Am I happy being a nun?”

17 “Yes.”

18  What CONFLICT is in your film?  What STYLE style will your film be?  Is your film PLOT or CHARACTER driven?  What is your film’s THEME(S) ?  What is the PACE of your film?  What GOALS do you want your film to accomplish?  What do you want your film’s TAKE AWAY MESSAGE to be?  Why is your film important?  Why should the audience care about your film?

19 Click here to go to the Student Technology Center web page

20  “There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins. And the cardinal sin is dullness.” -Frank Capra, Director, It’s a Wonderful Life


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