Chapter 8: Covers research. To quote the book itself: good documentary storytelling, With some exceptions, depends on good research. It talks about the need to actively ask questions, even if they seem dumb, dig deeper and find interesting facts no one knows. In this day in age of “fake news,” its ever important to fact-check everything, and make sure your sources are viable. Finding the “telling detail,” will bring so much to your story. It talks about creating a timeline of events as well as noting every source and citing the pages so you’re not left scrambling around many papers at once.
Chapter 9: Planning and pitching; the pitch is the core statement of your film’s story. To be able to pitch it means it has one clear, cohesive story, which more or less means it works. An effective pitch introduces the topic and the story, together. The pitch should lead the listener to ask follow up questions. Your pitch needs to be clear, focused, brief and attention getting. It then talks about outlines, which is a hammered out version of your pitch. This is where you anticipate the sequences that are going to take place. It is both a planning took and a diagnostic tool. If there is a gap or redundancy, laying it out on paper will help you see that and correct it before it becomes an issue. It also talks about the importance of casting, not necessarily casting actors but casting the right people for your documentary. This is a super important aspect I will be focusing on a lot.
Chapter 10: Treatments and proposals: A treatment is a more detailed outline. It’s usually part of a fundraising proposal, which won’t be necessary in my case but still helpful, because I could use it to convince the superintendent to let me film in her school, etc. It says a treatment should be double spaced, written in the present tense. The structure of treatment= the structure of film. The focus is on story, not just the images. Be passionate about the story and let that shine through your pitch.