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Thread: documentary ideas

  1. #1
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    Guys (and Gal)

    I was thinking of trying my hand at a documentary piece HOWEVER I don''t want it to be yet another in a long line of "human interest" snooze fests that keep turning up on the Life channel and such. I did see a very interesting documentary on migrations the other night and learned a lot. Penguins are very interesting.

    To that end -- is there some subject that you people don't know much about but would very much like to see a documentary on? The more complicated the better. Should have an element of hard science with lots of theory and math. Should have absolutely nothing to do with the gas-sniffing teen couple where mom is expecting her third child (who IS the father?) and dad will start looking for a job as soon as he gets out of juvie. If your topic has merit, I'll take a crack at it and we'll see!

    Zam

  2. #2

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    No recommendations, but if you want some inspiration and to see how well a story can be built in a documentary you could watch "The Imposter". I think it's the one of the best documentaries ever made, and up there as one of the finest pieces of film making too.

    David.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zamiotana View Post
    To that end -- is there some subject that you people don't know much about but would very much like to see a documentary on? The more complicated the better. Should have an element of hard science with lots of theory and math.
    Women! Wives in particular.
    Tim

  4. #4

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    Womens logic explained with clear concise mathematics, equations etc. that might be interesting.

    I was thinking about this and couldn't come up with any ideas which is probably why I tend to just shoot stuff in my garden all the time.

    Guys like to know how stuff works, taking things apart and looking inside at all the bits, this might be a good spring board for you. You could do a series of taking everyday objects and seeing "how it works". Things like how does the toaster know when the toast is done and then pops up ready for eating.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by TimStannard View Post
    Women! Wives in particular.

    he said complicated tim .... not impossible
    'No longer are the pleasures of Home Movie Making limited to those with ample funds. Now the man and woman of moderate means can join the sport'..... Kodak catalogue 1933

  6. #6
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    OK, perhaps a bit more seriously, what would I like to find out more about that might make a good documentary?
    Well, I'm always interested in the science of the cosmos, but here we have to work with models, abstract images and artists' impressions. Unless you really want to spend years with 3D software creating graphics, this is porbably not what you're looking for.
    At the other end of the spectrum, something which you may find a bit too close to your "human interest" areas is teh changing face of society - stuff like (in Britain) the continuing closure of pubs, the effect of out-of-town shopping malls and the internet on the High Street (particularly apt at the momebt, we've had three major retil chains go into administration in the first two weeks of 2013). NOT the whinging "isn't it a shame" type of documentary, it may cover the "why" but it's interesting to theorise about where we are going ... I'm actually working - well, assisting really, on one about pubs in the UK. I'd like to widen this isnotba broader theme about where we will be socialising in the future. The traditional (for the past thousand years at least) centres of pubs and churches are rapidly disappearing - where to next.

    Desmond Morris, back in the days when he wrote The Naked Ape and other books, was suggesting that we are have evolved to survive in groups of 60 sor so people. As many of us live in cities, towns and villages with a considerably larger population and as a consequence we form parts of smaller social groups (be those clubs, regulars at a pub, members of churches, whatever). I've not read anything to contradict this and I'd be very interested in what current thinking is on this subject. It is, perhaps, interesting that at any given time there are 60ish people active on this forum - perhaps he was right.

    However, this is perhaps not "hard" science (and I'm not entirely sure you'd get access to the intellectuals and experts in the field anyway)

    Perhaps on a more mundane note - I know staggeringly little about Canada (and I suspect much of the rest of the world does too). How about a documentary about what Canada - or your particular part of Canada, province or town. Geology, history, politcal. Possibly a bit too Wikipedia. What's the difference between the French speaking and English speaking Canadians? Is there antagonism? It's a vast country, yet we hear so little about it.
    Tim

  7. #7
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    TS - oh yes, Women: a whole palette of impossibilities. (not said my me, naturally) . . . but why is it we just don't get it?

    Taking domestic gear apart to show "how it works" is only valid if you know how it works . . . very few "toasters" know when it's ready, most rely upon a temperature compensated timer - but these days that's done in a tiny Chip, so there isn't really much to see - and - I suspect the av. person couldn't care - even though lots of macro- close-ups would enthrall video "techys" - their wives/partners will say "So what?" - the truth is that only a small % of the populatiuon is capable of seeking out "Why" (_er, IMHO).

    ALSO - TS, yr idea on pubs - very good, as two have closed near me (joke: the one i was barred-from had it coming) . . . . maybe we should all go and film the long-established pubs (not the new-named ones!) and maybe include shops which are local-family business
    Indeed, I think I may start some film-clips of my own - - - - the Internet (and ooT shopping ) has killed the High Street, aided by Traffic Wardens, trying to make our shopping-experience more miserable than it needs be.

    I'll get my coat . . . .
    Last edited by vidmanners; 01-20-2013 at 12:03 AM.

  8. #8

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    For a first documentary, what about looking at your own interests/ hobbies or things you were interested in when you were younger. Overall a doc is going to have more impact if you have the drive to seek out the best stories/theories and already have some knowledge to aid you in your initial research.
    That way you'll have more rounded and interesting interviews and can spend more time on looking at pacing for a doc - too many talking heads against too many montages or clever use of cut aways, scripting a doc from pre-production to shaping the final story in the edit.
    Either way, whatever subject you choose, you need to know it inside out to be able to get the most out of interviews and the people you film.

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