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Documentary Filmmaking Tips

#1 Goals and Objectives
Unless you are clear about what you want to showcase, you will not be able to portray the same to your audience. Hence, it is important that you know the purpose and objective of making the movie very well. Once you know the subject well, it becomes easy for filmmakers to even make a documentary without words (which usually happens to be the soul of the movie). Moreover, if the objective of the movie is clear then the very purpose of screening this movie is successfully achieved.

#2 Understanding the Genre
Most documentary movies follow the thought-provoking style or rather the more intense genre, however, as a filmmaker you are free to explore all the different types. Now, it is the genre of the documentary that will decide the use of photographs, real events, videos and interviews, which when edited together will create an appealing impact. The genre would also determine how the scene has to be shot, therefore, it is important for a filmmaker to understand the style he wants to mold his documentary into.

#3 Defining Your Subject
The essence of a documentary movie is to fulfill its purpose; whether it is to inform, teach, educate, or entertain. Moreover, the subject should be defined in a way such that it makes the film dramatic, attractive, appealing and stand out from other films previously written or presented on the same subject.

#4 Thorough Research
Making a documentary film provides the filmmaker with a fair chance to communicate his opinions and ideas related to the subject of his movie. However, it is important to support claims with proper facts and proof, while providing opinions or a specific message concerning the topic. To gather all the proofs and facts, it is important for a filmmaker to conduct a thorough survey of the subject.

#5 Realistic and Believable
When you have authentic facts and information about the subject, it automatically makes your documentary look realistic and believable. The best way to authenticate your information is to interview people who are experts in the subject and take notes of the same.

#6 Getting the Sound Right
It is not very difficult to start rolling the camera and get the right shots needed to screen your documentary if you have a decent camera and the skill to shoot it right. However, the most difficult of all is to get the sound right, which is the soul of any movie and without which interpretation becomes difficult. So, make sure you have the right apparatus to record the sound in sync with the picture to create the right kind of impact.

#7 Exposition
Exposition usually occurs at the beginning of the documentary or when one has to introduce important subject matter in the movie. This aspect is important because it acts like a trailer, which gives the audience a brief idea of what the film is going to be like and introduces the audience to the content and characters (if any) of the movie.

#8 Ask for Opinions
When you are done with making the documentary, make sure you show it to a few close friends, family members, or your mentors to get proper feedback and some genuine critical reviews. If you’re convinced about what they have told you, get back to improving a few scenes or adding new scenes, whatever the case may be. Remember, it is your documentary, therefore, change the content or add new scenes only if you are convinced of the same, it is not compulsory, as reviews are subjective and might differ from person to person.