In my quest to learn the basics of documentary production (beyond how NOT to break equipment on a monthly basis…), I sought what looked to be the perfect event tonight in DC.
And it was. GWU’s Documentary Center sponsors the Docs In Progress bi-monthly film critique. During the (3) hour event, the hosts — founders of the program Adele Schmidt & Erica Ginsberg — screen a few documentaries currently being produced but not in finished form. Then the projects’ filmmakers are introduced to the audience & proceed to discuss the works with everyone.
–very useful & interactive. I admire the filmmakers who put their work on the chopping block & welcome live feedback.
MAIN POINTS ADDRESSED (familiar but written lists are a fine thing!):
PIVOT the documentary around a compelling story & complex characters
KNOW your audience
DON’T shy away from narrating a work; it could add needed clarity & cohesion
…AND THE GOLD-MEDAL BIT: Films are made by do-it-yourself initiative & ‘verve’ more so than extensive, formalized education. Documentary fan & event attendee, Amardy, underscored this & I agree with her. The fact she has a grad degree in the field made her statement that much more meaningful.
However, GWU offers an attractive, & apparently rare, program for non-fiction filmmaking — one that I’d like to eventually, seriously look at.