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"The First Step to The Academy Awards!" Directing The Documentary: A Critical Review.
on 13 December 2009
Focal Press puts out a number of books related to fine- and digital art, Feature, Independent and Documentary films as well as Animation Techniques. However, one of their best titles that touch upon all of the above-mentioned categories is a recently released book called Directing The Documentary, The Fifth Edition by Michael Rabiger.
There are many "how to" books, Rabiger reminds us, but there are philosophical and structural differences in making a Feature (fictitious) film and a Documentary film.
For instance, the Feature is a work that is constantly striving to be consistent with a pre-existent script. And, the goal of the director, crew and actors is to be faithful to the written word. A Documentary, on the other hand, starts off with a question and the director, crew and guests attempt to capture future, undetermined events in a relentless pursuit of The Truth. The Documentary, therefore, is essentially the process by which an answer is obtained.
These distinctions are important because it influences how the film would be made, the costs incurred, the manner in which footage is used, types of video, audio and perhaps, digital editing and processing time. There's also issues dealing with "rights" that cannot be known until footage is shot.
The book, Directing The Documentary, lays out in the most minutest of detail the basics and some advanced theories on creating a marketable documentary feature. The text is broken down into two (2) "books." One, "The Fundamentals" is an overview of creating a documentary by examining theories behind pursuing the project, the use of audio and video tools, working with cast and crew, budgetary issues, post-production tools and festivals. The other, Book 2, "Advanced Theories," is just that, an in depth look at aesthetics, production issues (pre and post), the script, narration, music and editing structural problems as well as some thoughts about starting a career as a documentary filmmaker.
This is one of the most valuable books on the subject of filmmaking and documentary filmmaking in particular that anyone who is remotely interested would want to own.
It is my sincerest pleasure to recommend this book without any hesitation.