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Documentary Storytelling, 3rd Edition by Sheila Curran Bernard

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CHAPTER 2

Story Basics

A story is the narrative, or telling, of an event or series of events, crafted in a way to interest the audience members, whether they are readers, listeners, or viewers. At its most basic, a story has a beginning, middle, and end. It has compelling characters (or questions), rising tension, and conflict that reaches some sort of resolution. It engages the audience on an emotional and intellectual level, motivating viewers to want to know what happens next.

Don't be confused by the fact that festivals and film schools commonly use the term narrative to describe only works of dramatic fiction. Most documentaries are also narrative, which simply means that they tell stories (whether or not those stories are also narrated ...

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