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Story Strategies: Debunking the Myths of Storytelling

Myth #10 “This is a documentary. The sound must sound how it sounded in real life.” Excuse me? I couldn’t hear you!
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be teaching her workshops on story structure and trailer in Winnipeg, Canada, in February. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
Sound, that first casualty of a tight film budget. The sound person, so often replaced by the director himself or an intern during a shoot. The cost of a microphone, so readily dismissed in favor of the vastly more costly and often unnecessary exotic lens. And in post, the reluctance never ceases. Sound editing is an afterthought, often left to the picture editor to deal with in the last week of post-production.

Much of the above is often rationalized by invoking budgetary constraints or ideological grounds: documentaries capture reality, sound is what it is, correction during production (turning a radio off) or design in post (like adding other sounds) equals manipulation.

Yet audiences will more readily leave a screening due to faulty sound than to subpar image quality. Those who succumb to this myth are in much need of sound advice.

Possible origin of the myth
God first commanded, “Let there be light!” and never followed up with sound; maybe this is why filmmakers have a hard time not doing the same in their films. However, through millennia, humans, in storing and communicating their knowledge, moved the opposite way: from a primarily oral tradition to the predominance of the image. Through the invention first of the alphabet and later on of the printing press, documentation and communication moved slowly from the ears to the eyes. Today, visual media overwhelms our existence: texting, chat, email, etc.

This predominant use of sight to engage with the world might be the reason why filmmakers focus all their efforts on capturing images in all their breathtaking beauty and often neglect the sound, even to the most basic extent. Think how long a typical filmmaker might spend testing a camera and how little time the same filmmaker might put into trying out microphones. We, filmmakers or not, tend to be much more literate regarding issues of images, and often are oblivious to the impact of any and all sounds, including silence and noise.

Some truth to it
In the audiovisual equation, image is important—extremely so. This is evident in everyday language: we say “video” to refer to an audiovisual format. After all, a film without sound is still a film, while a story told through sound without image is an audio-book or a radio-program. It’s the moving images that define the form. However, the argument is not whether sound is as indispensable to film as image, but whether faulty sound can be tolerated as much as flawed visuals can. And the answer is a resounding no.

The real deal
Sound creates a unified, continuous world for the audience to enter and comfortably inhabit for the duration of the film. While images can assault the viewer with a remarkable variety of frames and color palettes, sound needs consistency and fluidity. In fact, the more visual variety there is, the more the sound needs to keep audiences grounded.

Even the experienced filmmaker may unconsciously neglect sound. Many are diligent in creating a look but few conceive an aural world for their film. Some argue that sound design is manipulation of reality—yet choosing a lens isn’t?

The well-known facts about the need for sound proficiency are only evident when comparing the same scene with and without sound editing—something few do, while convincing themselves that the sound quality is “not that bad after all,” a statement that stems from habituation to the material rather than from proper judgment. Such denial comes to an end only when audiences desert the room, blaming their lack of interest due to supposed faults of the story per se, when in reality it’s a sound problem affecting proper perception. And such issues are not only a matter of not being able to hear what’s being said: they extend also to subtle disruptions of the aural experience, which can elude conscious perception but still make a significant impact on the audience.

What to do
In spite of it all, sound is forgiving. A fix is indeed more costly than having done it correctly from the start, but less expensive than the equivalent fix to an image. For example, filtering a distant engine that rattles in the background is more expensive than having moved the interviewee a few feet away, but less expensive than fixing drop-outs or other image glitches with computer software, which, by the way, are often less avoidable than sound blemishes.

The first issue to tackle is to put aside all concerns of manipulation. Proper sound is always called for, and conceiving a sound palette is even better. During a shoot, spare no money on good microphones and sound people. Having important characters all set with their own microphones is expensive but often necessary. Compare that to the cost of a sound person with a boom–-something that you might need anyway, depending on the type of film.

On location, close your eyes and listen carefully. You’ll be surprised to suddenly hear a much noisier world than the one we block out when bombarded with images. And remember room-tone. It’s not impossible to recreate atmosphere in post, it’s just time-consuming for the sound editor.

Once in postproduction, budget for that sound magician who will make the audio…audible! In a worst-case scenario, today it’s acceptable to subtitle defective sound, but this shouldn’t be overused.

Sound is all too important and silence is part of creating sound. A noisy film can make even the most beautiful image seem gray.

To think further
Filmmakers are visual beings complementing their experience with sounds, while audiences are aural beings entertained by the visual world. Therefore, filmmakers should make video-aural films with an audio-visual sensibility: i.e., in the making, video takes precedence but in perception audio does.

May filmmakers realize viewers are listeners, too. May they attract audiences through their eyes while keeping them engaged through their two ears.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #10 “This is a documentary. The sound must sound how it sounded in real life.” Excuse me? I couldn’t hear you!

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on December 21st, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies: Debunking the Myths of Storytelling

Myth #9 “This is the only documentary being made on this topic.” Check again!
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be lecturing at ExpoToons, Buenos Aires, Argentina. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
The One. A Judeo-Christian concept that many documentarians transfer to their filmmaking experience: the film, the only one, the never-before-told story that will guarantee both success in funding and distribution and unconditional commitment all the way from the filmmaker to the last viewer, because there is none other like… The One.

However, sooner or later, a twin separated at birth shows up at the door, to the dismay of the filmmaker and all his well-constructed scaffolding of uniqueness and singledom. Would that be the end of the film? How many is too many films on a single topic? Twins? Triplets? And how similar is really similar? Fraternal? Identical?

Industry professionals, from commissioning editors to funders, might chuckle at the very thought of a film on a subject that has “never been done before” or that is supposed to be the only film on such a topic or person at any given moment. But for filmmakers, having a one-of-a-kind story in their hands might be the only motivation to keep going.

The myth of the only-and-never-before-told story merits a DNA test.

Possible origin of the myth
A society that supports and encourages individuality would naturally favor original production. Gone are the pre-Renaissance days of communal art and craft, in which the individual as creator was lost among many hands and originality was more a sign of not belonging rather than a goal––the Hellenic Period being the obvious exception, given that the Renaissance derives from it.

The idea of “one and only” was not even reserved for the gods, as many cultures also embrace many deities that coexist happily, with some exceptions.

Therefore we can trace the longing to create a unique film, totally dissimilar from any brethren, all the way back to the Renaissance. Even though filmmaking wouldn’t be invented for another 400 years, the spirit of The One oeuvre was born some sunny day in Florence in the 15th century.

Some truth to it
There is no doubt that telling a story on an interesting subject or topic for the first time ever gives the filmmaker an advantage; but this advantage is not as steep as many would like to think, since that distinction can change any moment. It’s also true that this unique status is not the only condition enabling a filmmaker to fall in love with the demanding and often gruesome process of making a documentary.

The real deal
Affirming to the world that one has The One story can reveal denial, ignorance, or lack of forethought by the filmmaker.

Denial because filmmakers often don’t research or even want to know what other films on their topic or person might exist, for fear that finding out will kill their enthusiasm for it. At times denial combines nicely with just plain ignorance or naïveté. But ignorance is not invulnerable: filmmakers can find out at the most inconvenient moments and places that there was indeed a similar documentary in the making. And even if there really aren’t any other documentaries on a topic or person, that may not remain true for long: better prepare for that occasion if it should arise.

What to do
Having The One story is good; but having a distinctive vision and voice as a filmmaker is even better. There is no bigger compliment than when a funder, an investor, or even a lay audience want to consider how a certain director will approach a oft-told story. Therefore, the aim should be to fine tune the how rather than the what. After all, there is only one of you and that for sure can’t be replicated.

Make sure you know how many and which films––even fiction films, dare I say–– there are on the topic or person you plan to shoot, both finished and in the making. If there are none and you are profiling a specific person, secure exclusive rights when possible and appropriate. If it’s a topic, copyright the treatment, though this doesn’t preclude others from having the same idea for a story.

If there are other films finished or in the making, list them all and quantify precisely how yours is different. For example, since the last film on this topic was done 10 years ago, this is a new take on it that can benefit from new information or from the wisdom and perspective of time passed; or else, other films are factual or reportage and this is going to be a personal account. Funders, investors, and distributors need this information.

If you need to believe that yours is the only film in order to commit yourself, and with the realization of the existence of other films you sink in anguish, trust time and trust that success breeds more success. Only time will tell what will happen to you, your film, and the other documentary(ies). Some projects get diverted or completed in different schedules. Maybe it’s a relief for you that the film is being made–-by somebody else––and you will feel free to move on. As for success, that reportage or successful film might encourage funders to seek the next best thing. Funders and commissioning editors are happy to repeat a success.

So rather than avoid, embrace your twin. There is much to learn from knowing the documentaries being made. Contact the filmmaker for a friendly chat. See how to divide the waters; who knows, you might even find out you had nothing in common, or else realize you can create a combo or series or some other strategies that can complement each other’s filmmaking and distribution. All of this is assuming that the work is of equal quality, level of experience, and, above all, ethics. If not, then you might want to part ways and let fate take its course.

To think further
If history repeats itself, as they say, can a filmmaker attempt to tell a never-before-told story? And if the storytelling is unique, does it matter what the story is?

May filmmakers find their unique vision and voice in a labyrinth of mirrored stories


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #9 “This is the only documentary being made on this topic.” Check again!

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on October 28th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies: Debunking the Myths of Storytelling

Myth #8 “This is a timely story, and it must be done now.” How soon is now?
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be teaching her workshops on story structure and trailer in Paris, France, in October and then attending the Leipzig Film Festival. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
In this brave new world of information overdose, timely has become the obligatory term for many a pitching documentarian, signifying “We have to do it right now or else.” If it’s not being used as a threat, i.e. to coerce funding, it’s then a reminder that the film will be riding the media wave, which will make, if not funding, at least distribution and publicity much easier.

Having a timely topic might be in, but being timeless shouldn’t lose its value either. Nor are timeliness and timelessness mutually exclusive. After all, how long can something be timely? And, considering the huge difference between the speed at which issues come and go in the media and the lengthy schedules of documentary filmmaking, who can confidently predict that a topic that starts as timely will remain so at the end of the process?

The pressure to fit a documentary into the trends of the moment has become so strong that we tend to forget that documentaries can and should be about so much more than what’s happening at this instant on every corner of the planet.

The myth of timeliness should be put under watch.

Possible origin of the myth
There was a time when every artist’s aim was to transcend time, to capture the universal human essence, and in doing so to have his or her body of work, or at least one instance of it, become a classic and achieve immortality.

Some Greek a few thousand years ago even preferred to be put to death for burning a temple, so that he be remembered forever, rather than live as an unknown. Being timeless was a priority worth losing one’s life for. Fortunately filmmakers don’t usually go to such lengths to have their work seen, but their needs may run as deep.

Even though being timeless doesn’t preclude having a timely issue at hand, these things rarely coincide. In fact, the more a film ties into current affairs, the more likely it’ll get dated fast, if not in format definitely in content. Think Fahrenheit 9/11: it remains to be seen whether Michael Moore will enter the annals of long-term history, but most certainly Fahrenheit 9/11 won’t be one of his classics.

Today, the preference is to be known today while alive rather than in an uncertain future. Being old enough to have known a pre-internet era—young readers: no, I’m not 100 years old—I have witnessed how the pendulum swung from timeless to timely with the advent of the Internet. The goal remains the same—to have one’s work be known; but rather than over time, one now wants it in space, over our wide world. Instant information and access to thousands of people made being timely and tying into every fad, trend, and media tidal wave a tempting and easily accessible proposition.

Some truth to it
To have a timely issue as a documentary topic is extremely convenient. Hundreds of networks, papers, blogs, and such become the film’s unwitting promoters. A film’s need to be made doesn’t seem to have to justify itself further: the evidence is on every screen across computers and televisions sets. However, being timely can be a manifold trap.

The real deal
A timely topic comes with a due date. Issues around the world follow a cycle. Some topics may stay longer in the forefront, or else may morph into new preoccupations. But pitching or seeking solely on the strength of external events can put unnecessary pressure on the making of documentaries that require more flexible schedules.

And what for some is timely is overdone for others. Overexposure of a topic can give filmmakers as much angst as can addressing an obscure, underexposed issue. Besides, “in the news” is not every funder’s priority.

“Timely” is, as usual with all storytelling myths, a double-edged sword that is better not to file too sharp.

What to do
To avoid the pitfalls of the myth of timeliness, now that this term is in everybody’s mouth, delete it from your vocabulary altogether. If a topic is timely, funders and investors, who read the papers and are generally informed people, can recognize this on their own. In fact, “timely” has been so overused that, when told of a timely issue, many funders will answer with a suspicious arched eyebrow.

If your documentary’s timeliness is less obvious, I would still recommend that you make a connection between the internal dots of your story with the external dots of current events; but do this subtly.

When missing the boat of timely trends, don’t worry too much. Chances are that the news cycle will bring such topic again, if in no other way than by a simple anniversary. Also, there are always branches of sub-topics that can connect to the specific topic of a feature-length film.

And if you belong to that now rare group of people who are not in the pursuit of “right now,” you can count on those many people who like to be surprised and educated about little-known things in our interesting world.

For all of you, regardless of relation to timeliness, when distribution comes, tying your film’s topic with its core audience through common interest and current affairs is a must. In fact, it’s the very essence of marketing and publicity—but not necessarily of filmmaking.

To think further
If time is the river in which stories travel, can filmmakers remain indifferent to how their stories relate to time? Certainly not. Yet connecting to time in only one way is like not daring to ride the river against its current.

May filmmakers and their work find immortality by being both timely and timeless, with timecodes ticking as guiding metronomes rather than threatening bombs.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #8 ““This is a timely story, and it must be done now.” How soon is now?

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on September 20th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

Myth #7 “I’ll go on with the film when I find the right producer.” Keep looking!
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be attending WestDoc in Los Angeles, CA, and teaching her workshops in Tucson, AZ, in September. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
Who wouldn’t want a producer or co-producer if working alone? Especially the right producer? The myth does not only concern the proverbial almighty producer; it can apply to anyone onto whom we project the magical powers that will lighten our load and finish the film. Sometimes it’s an editor. Or another editor. A distributor. Any distributor. A publicist, a funder, a…; the list goes on.

Storytelling can get lonely, both literally and figuratively. Longing for company is understandable and in many cases even advisable. Yet more cooks don’t necessarily make a better stew, especially when under the guise of needing a cook when we were just looking for a busboy! Producers are great, and good ones are invaluable; but waiting to go on with the film until finding one can put the documentary in eternal limbo.

Let the myth be deconstructed so filmmakers and producers can find each other and make a match in filmmaking heaven.

Possible origin of the myth
Since some Greek a few millennia ago begged a muse for inspiration, artists were hooked on external stimulation and on both divine and earthly intervention for the rest of history.

Today we might not negotiate with ethereal beings for some clarity on how to proceed with story and production, but we often have equal expectations of a producer or editor. If troubadours sang on lonely nights for the muse to come, filmmakers advertise online.

Some truth to it
Yes, having a superb, experienced, passionate crew is a terrific asset. The right producer can bring not just a rolodex but know-how and renewed enthusiasm to a stalling project. So does the smart, skilled editor when summoned for the right reasons at the right time. A crew above or below the line is never something to dismiss or underestimate.

What’s questionable are all the imagined benefits filmmakers hope to gain from the mere fact of hiring people, not to mention the incredible denial it takes to forget the responsibilities and necessary adjustments that working in a team entails.

The real deal
Working alone—that is, producing, directing, shooting and editing all alone—can be exhausting for some and liberating for others. Some dread the overload, others fear dependency. It’s all in the personality of the filmmaker.

For high-end professional projects, working alone is not possible, yet some filmmakers manage to create isolation through a very vertical organization of the team that keeps him or her at some distance from the rest of the crew.

If it’s the filmmaker’s choice to work in such isolation, no harm is done. But if one is working alone while wishing for a team, the days can be long—very long! The problem is that many think they want a team when they’re really just looking for a solution to a particular problem. Filmmakers often wish they had a producer when in reality they want someone to do a budget or run errands or keep a schedule. Producers can do that, but they can and should offer so much more.

Others delay working on the story until their dream team is put together: they hope that when the dream producer takes on the daily tasks, they will be free to think and come up with the film that waits unformed in their desire. To their surprise, working with a team also takes time, and plenty of energy.

Many relationships start on the wrong foot because of this gap between the filmmaker’s need and the true job description of those being hired.

What to do
The first step in not falling for the myth of producers as saviors rather than partners is to make an honest profile of your needs. What are the reasons that are stopping you from moving forward with your film? The list might be long, but it can provide great insight into what are the real issues at the moment. From these findings, develop a job description, and add your hopes and wishes. How do you imagine that person? What hours of work would you expect? How much involvement? What could that person bring to the documentary? Then read your description to yourself, and if you still feel it is accurate show it to your friends or colleagues. Is this a job anybody would want?

Sometimes the mere act of putting something in writing will bring you the awareness you need to make an informed decision. You might realize an intern is enough to free up some mental space or get more done. Other times a colleague may suggest a potential co-producer based on your description. Then starts the long, always interesting process of interviewing and getting to know each other—but not until you’ve made sure that you’re looking for a team player and not a white knight or lady.

To think further
In a world of online social networking, it would seem that finding somebody for anything is a question of just a few clicks. But those we seek are also seeking… sometimes something or someone else.

May filmmakers find their muse and their producers, asking themselves what they can offer instead of just what they can get.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #7 “I’ll go on with the film when I find the right producer.” Keep looking!

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on August 26th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

Myth #6 “No worries about light or sound, we fix it in post”. Or “All it matters is the story!” Which one is it?
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be teaching her story structure and trailer workshop in St. Paul, MN in July. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
Two opposing myths: the first one the self-assured cry of the virtuoso or technophile, the second one the sneer remark of the dilettante or technophobe. Surprisingly both utter the same opening statements but with a different ending. “Burn out images? Deafening background noise? Oh, details, details!” they may say in unison, while the first group responds to the challenge with a confident, “We’ll fix it in post”, the second group will retort with disdain, “All it matters is the story, anyway”.

Can it be really fixed in post? And if not caring to fix it or can’t be fixed, can a story be appreciated and understood through the technical mishaps? Stories may be king, but kings rule with their imposing presence.

The wave of post-production gadgets, which promise to fix it all, has reached such heights that many live under the illusion that mastering the tools for storytelling is a nuisance that can be dealt with later –much later. “We fix it in post” or not caring to fix it all because “All it matters is the story” are dangerous myths that reveals its truth when balancing the budget or having the audience walk out. Let these myths be unmasked so the story will come out loud and clear and without the extra charge.

Possible origin of the myth
The dilemma of content and form, the message and the technology that carries it, and the even more insidious sheer creativity vs. sheer craft, is not new. Each era has gone through its stage of alternatively glorifying one and the other in an unfounded mutually exclusive opposition. After all, the story shapes the medium as well as the delivery technology and the medium with its delivery technology shapes the story, more famously said in the words of McLuhan, The medium is the message.

Still from the moment the caveman (or maybe it was a cavewoman) grabbed a stone to draw on the walls of the cave the beast he or she wanted to hunt, some other cave dweller questioned everything from the genius or virtuosity of that first proto-artist to the meaning and quality of the drawing. And so on throughout history. It’s probably human nature to question and create dualities.

Today, the argument might be old but the amount of technology available and our fascination with it renews the discussion with fierce intensity.

Some truth to it
In documentaries, it used to be that the truthful depiction of reality superseded technological perfection. Those days might be over. Since in post many things can be fixed, from color to sound, from erasing undesirable logos to enhancing almost inaudible dialogue, viewers are more demanding than they used to –so are distributors and everybody else in the industry.

At the same time, there is a limit to what can be done in post and more importantly there is both a material and a creative cost to the storyteller.

The real deal
Underneath the many real and apparent benefits of taking care of things in post, there is the issue of whether ultimately a story is well served with the many layers of postproduction intervention.

In art there is a distance between the hand of the artist and the object of art. A painter may have just a brush between her hand and the canvas. A writer, has a mere keyboard between the ten fingers (or two indexes) and the white screen.

Documentarians have a huge distance between themselves and the film on the finished film on the screen, the process in itself may be as long as writing a novel, yet the amount of tools needed and people involved even when minimal most often outnumbers the needs of tools and people for other artistic expressions. This thick separation has been made thicker with the advent of gadgets and like all tools they can be used for good or sheer evil.

The consequences of this wide separation for the storyteller is that some filmmakers fear the vast distance ahead of them and dismiss it altogether, hurting the chances for the story to be as enthralling as it could be. Or such gap –we fix it later- becomes an excuse to relinquish control and ease creative anxiety.

Fortunately or unfortunately, depending where each filmmaker stands, the story is of utter importance and the quality of the media used to tell it is not a far second concern but an equally important one.

What to do
While some filmmakers prefer to care about the character or interviewee leaving them in half-light and un-miked, others may adjust that corner light obsessively forgetting that an incredible moment is just passing by unrecorded. As often it’s the case, the solution is not in the extremes but in a healthy middle path.

In practical terms turning off the fan that creates background noise takes one minute and cost nothing. Dimming that same sound in post, if doable at all, can take several hours and the fee of the person doing such task. So why not make a checklist for image and sound with minimum requirements. Room tone, anybody?

As per helping the technophobes bridge the gap, why not a chat with some postproduction people to learn the basics of what can be done just in case? Preparation is key on both sides of the myths.

The ultimate task of the storyteller is to… well, tell a story. In documentaries, the events unfolds uncontrolled by the filmmakers, capturing them is their most important task. Doing it well is part of the job. Imagine Van Gogh not caring about the tone of yellow he’s is using? Would it be a Van Gogh even if they’re still sunflowers?

Postproduction magic is a safety net not the destination. And a safety net is a welcoming place for both geeks and technophobes.

To think further
In a calendar where there are as many holidays as release dates for software, may filmmakers choose to put the tools at the service of their story and may they upgrade their post toys as often as they question the stories they’re telling.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #6: “No worries about light or sound, we fix it in post”. Or “All it matters is the story!” Which one is it?

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on July 17th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

Myth #5 “Narration in a documentary is bad storytelling.” Says who?
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be teaching her story structure and trailer workshop in St. Paul, MN in July. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
Narration, a.k.a voiceover, is as vilified by the filmmakers of the vérité persuasion as it is glorified by their counterparts, the lovers of the investigative genre. For those in the middle, however, the question of whether to add as little as a single line of the spoken word often creates anguish comparable only to the one we had in school when we had to choose between two friends. The choice made us a traitor to the other side, no matter what the justification.

And that’s because voiceover is not just a matter of writing or recording lines of text; it can imply a whole ideology. Narration, however, is just one story element among many. Everything depends on its appropriate use, rather than on some imagined intrinsic value. And, as has happened with many myths, its proliferation gave the spoken word such a bad rap that its good got lost in the shuffle. Let the voice(over) of those who have not been heard speak up.

Possible origin of the myth
A long, long time ago, “God” used to record narration for documentaries…and “God” was a white male in his fifties. Shooting was limited, and information was very much needed; so “God,” with His thunderous voice, told us how to understand and interpret the story as it unfolded. In fact, narration was the story.

The next generation of filmmakers rebelled. Smaller cameras in hand, they made themselves invisible, becoming privy to gems of truth. The following generation not only used even smaller cameras, they also found cheaper stock. They shot so much that the story told itself, with no narration needed. And after all, who was the filmmaker, that silent witness, to tell the audience what to make of things? Cameras captured reality in an objective way—or at least so they said —and narration was neither objective nor real. Besides, true auteurs didn’t want to be confused with TV producers who continued to use voiceovers. And so the myth was born.

Some truth to it
The abuse of voiceover as a Band-Aid for defective story structure always deserves to be condemned, and that voice of God can be irritating and ideologically suspect; but narration is not intrinsically bad, whatever prejudices we might have against it. There is more to voiceover than meets the ear.

The reel deal
Narration today can be as creative and varied as the filmmaker behind it. Sometimes, when recorded by the filmmaker or by a character in the film, it can become intimate and endearing, as in many personal docs. Other times, when recorded by an actor, the audience can be lulled into the film as if it were a night-time story, as with the trance-inducing voice of Morgan Freeman in March of the Penguins.

Voiceover is the most malleable, flexible, and creative element a filmmaker can use in the otherwise outwardly regulated world of doc filmmaking. Why not put it to good use when it’s called for?

What to do
Before any decision is made, clear your mind of prejudices regarding narration. Forget what people (read: your judgmental colleagues) will say. People rarely condemn a film well done or a story well told—no matter what device gets used.

If thinking of narration brings images of opinionated writers, endless castings, and expensive recording studios to mind, put those thoughts aside, too. For each apparent obstacle, there is a creative solution. Think of the character in the film as a narrator, record in the down time of a studio, and remember that writing voiceover isn’t only for writers.

Consider fixing structure on its own before using narration as a fix-it-all. Then try to define the function the narration will have in the film. Will the voiceover complement what’s being seen, enhancing the scene? Will it contradict the imagery, making the audience think twice about what’s true? Will it stir curiosity by planting questions that will be answered by the following scenes, creating a chain of interconnected thoughts? Regardless of the combination, try to stay away from being too literal with the words and images—i.e., what we hear we see. Simply because documentaries are a form of audiovisual expression doesn’t mean that the visuals must follow the audio to a tee. Those two words (audio/visual) are next to each other because they’re supposed to work together, in harmony, not in lockstep.

To think further
In this democratized Internet world, “God” may not be recording voiceover any more, but the filmmaker remains a sort of deity in the making of a film, simply by choosing where to point the camera or to how to voice or not voice a story.

May filmmakers value their vision more than a single voice—or voiceover.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #5 “Narration in a documentary is bad storytelling.” Says who?

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on June 17th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

Myth #4: “If the structure doesn’t work, put yourself in the film.” And everything will magically work? Not quite.
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
When you’re desperate to solve some structural issues, your eager-to-help colleague blurts out, “How about YOU? Make it YOUR story!” You might cringe because you had mixed feelings about this approach. Or maybe you wanted to do this all along but felt shy or modest about it.

Granted that for scattered docs, whether due to entangled storylines or too broad a topic, a grounding element is always welcome. Yet there are many story devices that can be used to unify the structure of your film. Using YOU as a character or narrator is only one of them, and it’s not always the most suitable or efficient option from a story perspective.

The myth of you having to become the star of your film to save its structure is a much-touted magic solution that rarely lives up to its expectations.

Possible origin of the myth
The two most common ways a filmmaker can be in the film are: a) when it’s his story, the personal doc; b) when the filmmaker is the searcher/inquisitor, sometimes only as narrator but often on camera, interacting with characters, interviewees, etc. The filmmaker as searcher-after-truth is different in intention from the journalist or host in a documentary, who has no personal investment in the search except for doing a good job.

The personal documentary, where the camera turns inwards, reached its apex in the ’90s. In this American Belle Époque, with a relatively stable social climate and a generous economy, film non-profits and grants blossomed, and the artist could indulge in some self-reflection. Personal films existed before and still do, but they reached momentum at about that time.

Then history took a turn in three successive strikes: Bush, 9/11, Michael Moore. That is to say: the economy shrank—read, less federal funding for the arts; the social climate got troublesome; and a filmmaker succeeded (at the box office) in being personal-but-outwards, rather than -inwards.

So the filmmaker-in-film formula carries two strong decades of critical and financial validation. It’s no surprise then that when a story doesn’t work, everyone chants in a trance of unquestioned conviction, “Put yourself in the film!”

Some truth to it
There are great examples of filmmakers who embraced the personal doc. From Doug Block to Alan Berliner, they mastered the genre and we can’t imagine their films without their active presence. Can anybody picture 51 Birch Street by Doug Block as an investigative report done by somebody else? Or as a doc narrated by an actor? Certain films are meant to be personal or there is no film.

There are also great examples of filmmakers on a personal quest, diving with passion into pretty much any topic, from guns to burgers. These films are more likely than the others to have worked without the filmmakers in them, but their presence added that je ne sais quoi that makes their documentaries what they are.

However, just because it worked for them in those circumstances doesn’t mean it will work for everybody, or even for them the next time around.

The real deal
Both the personal doc and the filmmaker-in-the-doc are genres—not band-aids to apply when things don’t go as expected. As such, they present their own structural challenges. If being in the film can be a solution, or if it was always in the cards but didn’t materialize because of the filmmaker’s doubts, then much needs to be considered before taking that step.

What to do
Before considering being in the film at any stage of production, fix the structure separately from the option of adding yourself. Are all storyline arcs working like clockwork? Is there missing information? Is there repetition when there should be reinforcement? Then ask, does adding yourself enhance the film in a way that nothing else can?

After that and only after, it’s time to ask yourself, do you want to be in the film? If yes or no, why? Eagerness or reluctance speaks volumes. It might seem an obvious question, but few take the time to think about it thoroughly. And when they do, their reasons are plagued by the same misconceptions and prejudices held by those offering such advice.

No matter whether it started as a yes or was a no that became a yes, a filmmaker has to be judged for her role as character as any other character would. Can this person sustain the story? Is she engaging? What does she bring to the film?

If having the filmmaker in the film was always a no and remains a no after thoughtful consideration, there can be a compromise in having the filmmaker narrate instead of appearing in full body.

As usual, the decision has to be intrinsic to the storytelling and not an imposition from outside. For everyone who thinks that adding the filmmaker is a benefit that makes the doc more personable, there is someone in the industry rolling his eyes and approaching the film with reservations. When it comes to prejudices, there are plenty to go around in both camps.

And if fearing that not being in the film will make it less your work, remember the thoughts of French semiotician Roland Barthes, who believed all fiction is autobiographical and all autobiographies are fiction. The same can be applied, to some extent, to documentaries, as to any artistic work. When there is a person creating, her hand can be seen no matter the format. Now, does that hand need to be seen literally?

To think further
Maybe we need to expand our vocabulary to go beyond the personal doc description, like in-person doc, or point-of-view doc. And at all times we have to distinguish between the personal as a matter of genre or as a story device.

May all filmmakers be in their films; not always in the flesh, but always in spirit.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #4: “If the structure doesn’t work, put yourself in the film.” And then everything will work magically? Not quite.

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by James Carman
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on May 20th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

Myth #3: “A good story will find its audience no matter what;” or, “Good marketing can make any story succeed.” Which one is it?
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be a panelist at HotDocs and then teaching her structure and trailer workshop in California, New Mexico and Texas in May. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
This is a twin myth, two sides of the same coin. On the one hand, there is the idea that a story can propel itself above and against the forces of the market. Sure, having a good story is essential, but it’s just one part of the equation. On the other is the popular belief that no matter what the story, a good marketing plan can and will bring glory. Again, marketing is necessary, but can it really sell an empty package? And if it can, for how long and at what expense?

The artistic types, i.e. generally directors and editors, are more likely to embrace the first myth. Producers and industry professionals are more likely to advocate the counter-myth, especially when there is no more room for changes in the story. At times, it comes to be adopted by a director who has given up on fixing the story, and often indicates creative burnout or financial pressure. Rarely, but not impossibly, this counter-myth is uttered with some jealousy when a film is getting undeserved success and attention: the film is horrible and is doing well, it must be the marketing!

Together, these myths lead to endless speculation at panels and workshops and to sleepless hours on directors’ pillows. Both ring equally true, yet they mask the real issue: what does it really take to succeed with a documentary?

Possible origin of the myth
The idea of a single person or element overcoming all odds and succeeding is the ultimate human fable: some might call it a hero’s journey. That hero can be a good story emerging triumphant against a pile of festival rejections, or a genius marketing strategy that brings in the money despite a lousy film. The difference between the two myths is who the hero will be, the story or the marketing.

In both cases, it is an abstraction that soothes us—if this one thing works, everything else will be fine. Such a handy solution for a complex, random universe! These myths are rooted in our intellectual construct of how we perceive the world at work. Of course, both the world and filmmaking are never about one single element but about the confluence of several factors. Namely…

Some truth to it
Good storytelling and good marketing are indeed very necessary parts of the communication process—that is, if we can consider art and storytelling communication. They can be placed in the same semiotic diagram, which, according to most authors, approximates to sender/message/receiver, i.e. filmmaker/film/audience. Together they form the communication experience or the Filmmaking experience, with a capital F to go beyond production and include the industry and audience around and behind it.

From this perspective, the myths are simply emphasizing one part over the other of this communication diagram, rather than working with all elements in unison.

The real deal
Good things happen to bad films (and filmmakers) and vice versa. There are plenty of questionable films that have enjoyed financial and critical success—more likely one or the other rather than both. There is also the occasional little gem of a story whose word has gotten out by serendipitous factors—to the astonishment of the filmmaker, who has never even printed a business card. However, why leave the important things in life and filmmaking to fate? And why invest in one single aspect of a film’s success when working harmoniously with all elements takes the same amount of effort and skill?

What to do
Good storytelling is achieved with a strong message and code (i.e. content, genre, overall film manufacturing). Betting on good marketing alone, because of creative burnout, is never a good idea—even when it works. The regrets or, worse, the impostor syndrome will eventually haunt the filmmaker.

Success happens with less stress when you, the filmmaker and team, can work with all the factors in filmmaking—including marketing—in unison and with equal ease. Using some approximate and very intuitive percentages, a good solid story contributes maybe 25 percent to a positive outcome. The filmmaker’s personality and tenacity—and talent if one believes in that—is another 25 percent. That’s good news: 50 percent is in the filmmaker’s hands.

Reaching out to audiences, understanding how to navigate the venues, and knowing how other films are playing the field comprise together maybe another 30 percent. That means there is another 20 percent left to those issues in the larger society that mark a trend, favoring certain topics over others, mainly due to mass media. All these factors may look like they’re impossible to control, but a savvy cruiser of the business knows how to work around them: the famous “spin.”

So, the best strategy is to think globally and with equanimity. A successful film is the result of a concerted effort among many people and compounding skills. Next time you wonder why that bad film got such a good rep, rather than advocate a debilitating myth, sigh first and then think that if it happened to them, you can make it happen for you too.

To think further
Maybe in our consumerist society we’re doomed to vouch for empty packaging with fancy ribbons. And while the rebels dissent, proclaiming that art elevates them above petty marketing, the cynics will laugh at both ideas equally hard.

May all filmmakers use their films for thoroughly healthy communication.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth #3: “A good story will find its audience no matter what;” or, “Good marketing can make any story succeed.” Which one is it?

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by Tania Retchisky
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on April 19th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

Myth #2: “If I keep shooting/editing, the story will come to me—eventually.” Practical?
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be teaching her trailer workshop in Ottawa, Canada in March 27. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
Shooting and editing are not myths at all but necessary and very creative steps in filmmaking. However, expecting the story to materialize as something external to the filmmaker, the result of following some formula or by sheer accumulation of hours—whether they’re hours of footage or hours in the cutting room—can pose creative danger, a schedule problem, and become a financial nightmare.

Some variations of the myth include, “The story is almost there” or “If we do this one thing the story will happen,” while secretly doubting whether or not you believe what you’re saying is true.

The signs of the myth at work manifest themselves in filmmakers who hope that if the shooting didn’t bring a story the editing might. Perhaps during post, title cards, or music—and if that doesn’t work, maybe… explain it directly to the audience the day of the premiere?? Others hang on for dear life to formulas and recipes, that if followed faithfully, they believe will render a story, some story, any story. Some embark on a myriad of multiple test screenings and compulsive feedback seeking. Or do the opposite, dismissing confused viewers as too shallow to get the depth of this elusive masterpiece.

All of the above are the chains that enslave documentarians to the misconception of how storytelling works and unfolds in their minds and in the world. Time to unmask the myth that drains brains and pockets.

Possible origin of the myth
There was a time not long ago when filmmakers shot film, actual celluloid. Oh, the benefits of having ten-minute rolls, slow flatbeds, long expensive lab processing, and limited budgets. Research, planning, pre-interviews, and the thinking that went into them were valued as much as, if not more than, the strips with sprockets that carried them. The search and unveiling of a story started at research, grew in thirty hours of footage, and blossomed in six to ten weeks of editing—exceptions abound of course.

And then, digital technology was born, the era of five dollar-tapes and the absolute freedom to act on impulse and intuition. Making a film meant buying a camera and just shooting it. And then shoot some more, and maybe some more. Goddard’s camera as a pen—a pen with endless ink—could only bring fuller deeper stories, and it did to some degree. Drowning in 150 hours of footage, filmmakers pondered where the story was, or if there was ever one at all. Could six months of editing uncover an apparently hidden narrative? Could hiring yet another editor solve the puzzle? Or maybe the executive producer knows?

As technology evolves, thinking about story shouldn’t become obsolete; likewise, applying methodologies and processes of story-making that worked 30 years ago in different circumstances can only exacerbate the problem.

Some truth to it
Documentaries are about real life stories. Right? Yes, sort of right. Reality is out there and filmmakers, with their selective eyes and minds, see a story in the complexity of events in front of them. Instead of suffocating this reality with a pre-fabricated formula, filmmakers should strive to reflect it by removing the dust from their mirrors. Their choices in shooting and editing subsequently create meaning. In part, the story will come to those who look for it hard enough, but it’s in the looking for it with an open inquisitive mind that the story materializes—the waiting being part of the looking, not an act in itself. Storytelling, after all, is an active verb.

The real deal
Some stories are out there in the world waiting to be captured and told, almost already scripted by an invisible hand. A character with a mission, an event with a deadline: the filmmakers just need to follow the thread and sooner or later a story will unfold in supposed proper order. Other times life is more slippery, a hint of a story might get them started and then… and then we have to understand how story works because reality is not our co-writer any more.

What to do
If a story fell through or fate hasn’t plotted one for you, no amount of obedient formula application, endless shooting, obsessive transcribing, neat logging, and intense editing will revert that… or if it does—at what creative and financial cost? When the search for a story takes you past the 50-hour mark, it’s wise to consider a session for just thinking and decision-making based on deep questioning away from books or people who chart single itineraries, and away from all things that have a plug and a cable. Then when it’s time to act on the thinking, instead of following old procedures, create one that matches your creative patterns and film type. Evaluate proactive approaches, taking advantage of the flexibility of the new technology rather than succumbing to its drawbacks.

Consecutive shooting/viewing/logging/editing by tape, character, event, or topic, whenever possible, can be more conducive to discovering a story than approaching the beast in single, long, and exhausting encounters. Another possibility is to prioritize the shooting and editing by emotional affinity, first dealing with those characters or situations that you care for the most. Or let memory be your editor. If you still remember it, it’s worth having a second look rather than waiting for that tape to be next in line.

These approaches, though sometimes eclectic in appearance, put the seeking after story at the forefront, making artificial recipes unnecessary while relegating methods to their proper place, where they can serve the filmmakers’ needs.

To think further
Maybe describing documentarians as hunters of real-life stories is counterproductive. Maybe they’re hunters of storylines rather than entire stories, patiently pulling one string out of a messy tangle.

In all cases, may filmmakers be active weavers of meaning with reality being their muse and ethics their counselor.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth 2: “If I keep shooting/editing, the story will come to me—eventually.” Practical?

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by Tania Retchisky
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on March 23rd, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

Story Strategies • Debunking The Myths of Storytelling

“If you don’t have a conflict you don’t have a film.” Really?
By Story Consultant Fernanda Rossi, The Documentary Doctor

Doctor coming to town: Fernanda Rossi will be teaching her trailer workshop in Austria and then Ottawa, Canada in March. All info at www.documentarydoctor.com.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this issue.

Missed the last issue? print version

The myth in all its glory
You might have heard the “conflict” predicament uttered with different levels of conviction by funders, investors, and distributors. Or, at times, repeated by some self-appointed dramatic conflict police officer—often a well-intended yet misguided filmmaker that searches for answers to his or her story structure conundrums in screenwriting textbooks, or worse, documentary books and articles that were based on screenwriting books!

If you haven’t heard it in those exact words, variations include demands about acts, characters, and climax. Responding to these demands might cause you to panic because you can’t articulate the conflict of your doc. Or you might gulp because you know all too well that it has no dramatic conflict—not yet, not ever.

No reason to fret, it’s just a half-true verdict that has remained unexamined for too long. Time to reconsider!

Possible origin of the myth
There is no hard data that demonstrates the precise moment at which the myth took on a life of its own. Some speculation and anecdotal evidence points to three concurrent events that together gave birth and validation to this myth:

First, it’s the United States of America we’re talking about. Hollywood reigns supreme. For better or worse, it sets the tendency of the predominant model for storytelling. Three acts, a conflict, a hero, a villain—you get the picture (and please excuse the simplification). Therefore schools, workshops, trade publications, and the like will further the Gospel of What Brings in the Money. But why would a documentary filmmaker care about fiction storytelling models? Well…

Some time around the creation of cable TV, the need to fill channels and hours of programming put some extra pressure on acquisition and development departments. The word conflict, or hook, or more recently just story, started to mean entertainment, i.e. something marketable, even for documentaries and factual programs. Everything else was considered boring or too highbrow or not sellable. And in a free market of supply and demand, the demand won. Filmmakers would do their best to fit their square film in the round peg of Hollywood storytelling.

At the same time, digital technology entered the scene. Suddenly filmmakers were shooting a little more than the customary 30 or 40 hours of 16mm. With an average of 100–150 hours of footage, filmmakers could afford to wait for that apparently valuable conflict to happen, if it ever did.

By chance or by choice, documentary storytelling started to be ruled by a new master.

Some truth to it
The 2009 Oscar® nominated The Garden by Scott Hamilton Kennedy, which I had the pleasure to doctor, is a fine example of a conflict driven story. Past Oscar winners were not so conflict driven. They fared well financially and critically nonetheless, whether it involved penguins, passion for guns, or Indian children. Let’s rewind a few decades to the masters of documentary making… Alas, no dramatic conflict anywhere to be seen; characters, yes; conflicting issues, yes; two opposing forces, ah-ha.

Conflict-driven stories do exist and do work. They are a minority.

The real deal
Nothing wrong with following a conflict-driven model when, and that’s a huge when, the story naturally has a conflict. The problem arises when you, dear filmmaker, feel you must have a conflict or force one into the film, or—gasp!—create one. Furthermore, when the shoot never ends in the hopes that some dramatic conflict will manifest itself, or the editing stalls because of a supposed lack of structure, then what was an inoffensive myth becomes a vicious force to reckon with.

What to do
If your story is not of the David and Goliath type, rest assured that 100 years of documentary filmmaking without dramatic conflict can’t possibly be wrong. There are many ways to tell a story and many story elements to consider. No conflict doesn’t mean boring essay. It means asking further questions about what will sustain the story. There are arcs to climb, suspense to build, and a tight balance among all story elements at play, all of them, not just the conflict, if there was one.

There are also identification and empathy, curiosity and interest. True you might need more knowledge of the craft to make a story work without a conflict, since a model which you aren’t being bombarded with by every media outlet may not come as second nature.

And you might want to consider the person you’re pitching to, he or she might also be struggling to bridge the gap between those same two worlds. Therefore when asked what’s the conflict of your film, smile with confidence and say, “Let me tell you all the issues at stake in my story.”

Ultimately some might want to be entertained, but we all want to be engaged and for that you don’t need a dramatic conflict.

To think further
Maybe the documentary form is too broad and it’s time to be more specific about genres to avoid confusion. Maybe it’s time to become less lax about terminology and case scenarios, backing up arguments with data instead of validating opinions with a salary, a title, or an award.

In all cases, may filmmakers make their films by choice rather than by default.


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Story Strategies • Debunking the Myths of Storytelling
Myth 1: “If you don’t have a conflict you don’t have a film.” Really?

Article by Fernanda Rossi | edited by Marcia Scott | photo by Tania Retchisky
published by Documentary Educational Resources

Fernanda Rossi, 2006-2010. All rights reserved. This article can be reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes only, as long as no charges of any kind are made. Partial reproductions or modifications to the original format are strictly prohibited.

Posted on February 24th, 2010 in Doc Doctor |

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