Chapter 13

Outline, Treatment, Script

Film consists of sounds and pictures but can also be described in words. Most documentaries begin as verbal descriptions and most such descriptions are written down. Written accounts of a prospective film can range from cursory notes to a fully worked out treatment. The progress from one end of the range to the other parallels the film-maker’s development of the production’s shape, from the first glimmerings of the idea, to being ready for the camera. While the process can be contained entirely in the mind, and some documentarists prefer to keep it so, as with arithmetic, working out the details can be greatly helped by putting them down on paper.

An idea of the finished film is the starting point of all ...

Get Documentary for the Small Screen now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.