Lisa Ling is an investigative reporter who is known for her intensive reports on the field. She is also the host for a show called My America, which shows different aspects of America from an angel not often recognized. Her carrier mostly skyrocketed during her time on the Oprah Winfrey show and since then she has investigated anything from puppy mills, to religious gatherings and corruption, to political debates.
Louis Theroux is a British broadcaster and documentarian. His work can currently be seen on the BBC Two British channel and also on his show “Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekends”. He is know for his personal interviews and stories. One of his most famous America’s Most Hated Family IN CRISIS Where he investigates a “cultish” religious family.
Naked and Famous
The Treasure Island Music Festival is tomorrow, October 13 at 12:00pm!
Some of the bands playing include: The XX, Public Enemy, Youth Lagoon, and The Presets. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, you can go online or the box office opens on Treasure Island at 10:00am. A two-day pass costs $129.50 online now but tickets at the gate cost $135 for two day ticket and $80 for a single ticket. The weather is said to be nice and sunny tomorrow for the event so hopefully there won’t be any rain like last years festival. Here is a clip from last years festival of when The Naked and Famous played.
So It is only natural that, because I am so obsessed and fascinated with the documentary world, I should make my own documentaries. This is a mocumentary film I made about the abandoned doodle. It is not too often that one thinks of where the poor doodles are left after they are scribbled and crumpled into the trashcan. I searched the streets of San Francisco in search for these poor helpless creatures and sought to bring their story to life!
Here is the youtube link!
- Shoot tons of B-Roll.
- This is a big one. Obviously if you are coming in as the editor you may or may not have been present for the shoot. Anytime you watch a successful documentary, like on HBO or Showtime, if you study the editing, you will notice what really makes good docs more then talking heads is great B-roll to cut away to. If you do not have enough for a given sequence, then you have to get creative. You are working in a visual medium, it’s always better to show then to tell. This can be more challenging in documentaries, especially if you don’t have the actual footage to show!
- Organization is Key.
You are likely going to be sitting on countless hours of material. A system of organization will aid you tremendously. For instance in whatever NLE you use, create seperate bins/sequences, whatnot, for each subject, scene, event, etc.
- Don’t Rush It
When dealing with what could seem to be a huge amount of material, with a very small ratio of what will be used, give yourself plenty of time to properly view and absorb the footage. For instance if you have 10 hours of raw footage, 2-3 times that may be needed after watching it to properly ‘digest’ it to where you can begin to put the pieces together.
- Find The Narrative
Whatever it may be, every documentary should have at least one story element that can conform to the traditional, 3 act structure. Once you find a piece strong enough for this, everything else can be structured around it. Sometimes you may have several narrative ’stories’ playing out, if so find the strongest one and let it dictate the flow of the story.
- Leave Things To The Imagination
Let the audience wonder about certain details. Every mundane detail spoonfed is not interesting. Leave key information for later to build a sense of interest and suspense, for a big reveal later. Be mindful of the audience experience and use this to your advantage.
- Utilize The ‘Real’ Moments
Funny asides in the interview, the little things, etc. These add a sense of humanity and fun. Don’t stick strictly to the formal interview stuff. Docs that entertain are usually also more successful in educating as well.
- Watch Good Documentaries
If you will be doing a documentary, you should certainly watch some. All HBO documentaries are excellent, and Penn and Teller and This American Life are exemplary Showtime docs.
- Aim High
Try to give your piece a sense of cinematic vision and style. Don’t think of it as ‘just a documentary’ that may air on public access, try to create something that can move and change peoples lives. Documentaries are very capable of doing so.
- Find the Primary Theme or Objective
Find the universal theme in your piece and use it to tell the story in the most impactful way possible.
- Avoid Overstylizing or Understylizing
Many documentaries actually benefit from the raw, right out of the camera look. Others call for a more powerful, fast, MTV rapid fire cut, type of aesthetic. Determine what is right for your subject matter and act accordingly.
Tips from Chance White on: 10 Tips to Editing A Documentary