12Working with Narrative

A documentary has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Each section has a special function, and must be approached in its own way.

image The First Scene

The first scene of a documentary is a special moment. It’s the only time in your film when you really have a blank slate. Your audience has no expectations beyond the ones that made them buy a ticket or click to stream the film online. While the first 5–15 minutes of a feature carry the burden of getting a certain amount of critical information on the table, the first scene itself is a place where teasing an audience with something idiosyncratic can be really rewarding. Thus, ...

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