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Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Structuring a Documentary Film Story

As a documentary film storyteller, you decide where to begin and end the story. You can begin in the middle, go back to the beginning, catch up with your story, and then move ahead to the end. You can start at the end before moving to the beginning to ask, "How did we get here?" You can flash forward or back. The only thing you can't do, in a documentary that's driven by a narrative sequence of events, is change the important facts of the main underlying chronology. [A lot of documentaries are, in my opinion, chronologically artsy-fartsy and confusing. I prefer stories that start at the beginning, move to the middle, and conclude at the end.]

Shelia Curran Bernard, Documentary Storytelling, 2007 

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