Chapter 6Planning the Shoot

Making a documentary, on any scale or in any format, is a multipronged effort. On the one hand there is the creative dimension, which involves conceptualizing a project (sometimes called ideation), writing the proposal and treatment, developing your style, finding subjects to follow and people to interview, visualizing the shots and sequences, and so on. Then there is the practical dimension of documentary film production, which involves the organizing of time and personnel, coordinating travel and locations, dealing with equipment and workflow, and working with budgets.

These production management aspects of a film have a big impact on what audiences see on screen. All filmmakers have had the unpleasant experience ...

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