Question by Katelynn M: I have a documentary due in a month and need an idea on what to do it on soon can someone help?
It is supposed to be 5-10 minutes….The documentary must fall into one of the two following categories: political or sociological. A political documentary will focus on explaining the significance, effect, or meaning of a political or historical event. A concrete example of a political documentary is One Day in September. A sociological documentary will focus on a subgroup or activity, and it will shed light on the activities, and the people who participate in them. A concrete example of a sociological documentary is Planet B-Boy. I really need help so please any advice…Thank you!
I really need ideas please HELP!
Answer by smokefreestudios
Good documentaries require some sort of narrative, some drama or conflict and some stakeholders (or something at stake). These aspects can take on many forms, you just have to think laterally.
For political – based on your explanation, pick some historical event (eg. Obama being elected, any war or assassination, 9/11 or something less recent like WWII). You can then filter your scope down into something more manageable for 5-10 minutes, maybe focusing on one issue that is part of the bigger picture (eg. the choice of the first black president vs. oldest president in history, a look at the government’s response to 9/11, or the role of American fighter pilots in WWII). The drama and what’s at stake are self-evident in these topics.
For sociological – maybe visit a local community center to find out what issues are of importance in the area. It sounds like it doesn’t have to be about something sub-cultural per se, but if it is, pick something you are interested in – a local band, artist or even a youth worker volunteer for example. The best ‘sociological’ documentaries in my opinion are character driven, meaning they focus on an interesting character. You’d be surprised at how engaging one person, or group of people can be.
Try to do something related to local issues/people so your film is kept under 10 minutes and is relatively easy to produce. Also, remember the initial points above… there should be something at stake for the audience to emotionally engage with, and that can be found in many ‘everyday’ facets of life.
Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!