Documentaries have to be one of my favorite genres of movies. Why? Because I love to learn. I love to look at someone and ask myself, “What is their story?” That is the beauty of filmmaking. Filmmaking is all about telling a story. In order for a documentary to be success, one must first come up with certain person they would like to interview and film. It is always a good idea to go out for a full day and observe people, and if you find someone that you particularly find interesting, approach them and ask if you can learn a little more about them. Grab a coffee, have a sit down with them and learn as much as you can about this person. I know it sounds a little strange asking a stranger all of these questions, but this works! In fact, I am in pre-production of a documentary because of this!
Another option, perhaps a simpler way, would be to approach a family member that you find extremely interesting and ask yourself, “Can I make a movie out this person?” You should be able to answer that question within in seconds. If the answer is yes, bring out your notepad and begin asking questions and writing down answers. Some good questions to ask would be, “How did you grow up? Or, “How did you become the person you are today?” These are cliche questions, but you will be surprised when you hear their answer.
Simplicity is key in a documentary, NO special effects, NO intense sound tracks, just simple one on one documentaries are fine. However, when you get good at your filmmaking skills, you can add more. You can add a back story and actually create a full on script about this person and cast actors and actresses. But in order to do this, you will need a team of people. I will go over how to create a great film team in another post, so stay tuned!
Have fun and create!