Question by Anthony R: Does a treatment for a documentary come before of after all footage is recorded?
I figured it should come after, because a lot of what is said and shown in a documentary hinges on what they people being interviewed are saying – especially if the documentary is interview-driven.
But I could be wrong…
Answer by Jules
If your doc is that unpredictable, a treatment before you shoot could be really helpful. It puts things into focus when you envision your footage’s goals/questions beforehand. Just because you don’t know what the interviewees will say, doesn’t mean you don’t know what the piece will be about. You know who you’re interviewing and why. You know the types of questions you will be asking. You might have an idea for the target audience. You know where the shoot will be. You know what types of b-roll you may need to shoot or gain access to. You know why the story is important to you. You know your side if it’s issue driven. You can probably guess on the length. You should know what your shooting with. You probably know your shooting style. And you probably have something that you hope/dream will happen, otherwise why make it? Just because you’ll stray from it, doesn’t mean it won’t help you communicate your vision to others.
Add your own answer in the comments!