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teacher avatar Hein Ungerer, Filmmaker, Mentor, Trainer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Lesson 01 - Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking


    • 2.

      Lesson 02 - What is a Good Story


    • 3.

      Lesson 03 - Focus


    • 4.

      Lesson 04 - Narrative Structure


    • 5.

      Lesson 05 - The Shooting Script


    • 6.

      Lesson 06 - Shooting Your Film


    • 7.

      Lesson 07 - The Edit Script


    • 8.

      Lesson 08 - Writing Voice Over


    • 9.

      Lesson 09 - Summing Up


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About This Class

In the fast-paced competitive video landscape we live in, the key to standing out is through masterful video communication — it's all about how we tell the stories we want to share. The stories that will resonate, inspire, and capture the hearts of the people who will be watching our stories.

This course is for beginner and intermediate level students who want some insight into how to create interesting, entertaining and educational content for documentary films that will hold your audience. The lessons focus on a step by step approach to documentary filmmaking production taking the student through all the stages from selecting a good story to focussing it, developing a narrative structure to tell the story, writing a shooting script listing all the people to be interviewed and what you hope they will be talking about and again all the time keeping the viewer in mind. The shooting script leads to a shot list ensuring that all the necessary filming will take place. From filming the course moves on to crafting an edit script using all the material you have collected. Finally we also touch on writing narration for documentary films.

I suggest that as you progress through the different lessons you start your own film project, work with the lessons and create your own film, a film that will show how successful you have been in taking on the project of making your own documentary film. Good luck and enjoy the course.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Hein Ungerer

Filmmaker, Mentor, Trainer


I have spent 35 years of my working life as a radio announcer, a television reporter, an investigative journalist and an executive producer for a national news and current affairs show. For the past 10 years I have been teaching at a documentary film school in Cape Town, South Africa. 

I am excited about my new journey into online skills courses and the overall positive response these have had. I really appreciate the time students have taken to review my courses. Feedback is essential for me and I invite students to tell me about their experiences.

To be clear – the courses I have uploaded are all aimed at beginner and intermediate documentary filmmakers. My focus is also more on content development than refining or improving your technical filmmaking s... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Lesson 01 - Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking: a big welcome and thank you for joining me on this journey into documentary filmmaking. My name is Hein longer. There it is in the bottom of your screen, and I live in work in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Cape Town in South Africa. I've been involved in factual, full making for the past 30 years, working first as a news reporter and then later on as an investigative journalist and also executive producer. I've been teaching factual, full making for several years on. Lately, I focused more specifically on teaching how to make short form documentary forms for the Internet. Why do I do this? Well, I love making documentary films because they empower people by informing them about what goes on around them. And with today's modern cameras and editing software, Uelmen filmmaking is now within the reach of everyone. That's why this course will focus on helping you, the filmmaker tell stories that are important to youth and stories that you will also want to share with people all over the world. I was trying to help you to find your voice so that you can say what you want to say from full right at the outset, Let me say that preproduction preparation that means everything that has to happen before you even touch your camera is essential. Things like research, script, writing, story, boarding, shot, listing and conceptualizing your treatments for your phones is what eventually will set you apart from other people making films. So let's take a look now at what we will be covering in this course. The first thing we're going to look at is how we identify good stories. Not all stories are interesting and compelling for viewers, so we need to find the best stories for your phones, thereby ensuring that you will get the maximum number of people to watch them. Secondly, we will look at how to research your stories. This is the key to layering your films, giving them the depth and increasing your viewer enjoyment and, of course, understanding. Next we will look at interviewing and how toe ask the right questions that get the right answers. These questions will flow from your research, allowing you to aim your interview, successfully guaranteeing you the results you want. Then we will look at how to write a shooting script. This is the stage where you decide on the basic structure of your story. And again, the content of the shooting script will be determined by your initial research and the questions you plan to ask in your interviews. After the shooting script, we will develop a shortlist that will make sure that you get all the material you need for your form. This will help you decide beforehand on particularly those essential shots you need for your full. Those shots we will build so that the former narrative sequence and also these will both scenes in your documentaries. Then, after your shoot, it's time to turn your shooting script into Go edit script. And this is where you bring together all the raw material. And by defining your story structure, you craft your Final Four. This course will not only give you the knowledge and skills to make factual phones, but it could, in all probability, change the way you see an approach things in life giving you the ability to convey on film precisely what you want to say to other people. People who will find your films not only interesting and entertaining, but also informative and educational. Just a final thought. I'd like to share with you before we kick off with this course, and I can't stress this enough. Successful full making is really all about being well organized. That means lots of preproduction work before the camera rolls. You'll also notice that I lay a lot of stress on activities being successful. This is important because it saves time and money if you do things the right way all the time. And finally, now, before I go a word of advice. If you want to make documentaries, you have to watch documentaries as many and as often as you can get ideas about what your documentary was look like, what style you want to shoot in. Remember, you will want to stir feelings in your viewers, and there is not something that just happens. You have to plan for it, and you need to know what kind of documentary speaks to you. The filmmaker. I'll talk to you again soon in listen to 2. Lesson 02 - What is a Good Story: Hello again and welcome from me, Hind Unger to our second lesson in documentary filmmaking. That's right away. Start by asking What exactly is a good story in this lesson? We're going to look at how we can identify and find good stories, stories that will compel people to watch our phones right at the outset. Let's agree that the really interesting stories involved people and the best are character driven. And by that I mean we are looking for interesting people who do interesting things in interesting places. Our task as storytellers is to find them and to tell their stories in a compelling way. At the end of this lesson, you will be able to identify what makes a story worth telling. You will also be able to determine what kind of stories people want to watch and you'll be able to tell which stories have clear. Focus is something that is the key to getting people to understand your story. There are several good sources for stories, and thes can be from your local community, or you can tap into stories from a wider field. There's a whole world out there to find the local stories you could join people and groups who have the same interests as you. This means developing contacts in those areas you are interested in. If you like stories about the environment and what is happening to the planet, then make contact with people in your area who share your interests. Some of them are guaranteed to be doing something really interesting. You can also die rise events coming up in the future. Then you can be prepared to attend and shoot them. When they happen, they say there's a moon eclipse coming up and there's a gathering plan to witness the event . Well, find the people involved and start planning how you will be filming the event. Also, who you will be interviewing to tell you more about moon eclipses. Well, I mean, I'm one that doesn't know that much about it. Another source for stories is the specialised media. Let's say you love animals, then read up on your favorite animals. You can also find enjoying groups on the Internet groups dealing with the full range of wild and domestic or farm animals, and through these groups, you will find the stories off the people who are involved in the protection and preservation of these animals. Another good place to find stories is by subscribing to Internet newsletters that cover your interests. And, of course, then make sure you read them. And closer to home, you have your local magazines and newspapers. If you want to tell stories from your immediate community, even the junk mail that arrives at your home might contain some interesting leads for stories. Look for those interesting people. So let's start now by asking how one finds and identifies a good story. So you've joined some societies, you reading the specialist media. You get all of these ideas for stories. Now how do you judge which ideas will make good stories? Well, let's ask some questions. Starting with Will the viewer care about it? Let's say the story you want to do is about someone. Let's call him John, who here started a project that will clean up very polluted stretch of wetland on the outskirts of a town that he lives in, and the cleanup started because the pollution has become a health hazard for Children who play in the area, and also John wants to use the space to encourage young people to explore their surroundings in his particular case, using canoes. What do you think? Will your viewers care about the story, and will it bring understanding to them about the wetland crisis? After people have watched your story? Will they have been changed by it? Another question we need to ask is whether this wetland story could affect your viewers. How many viewers are faced with pollution as a problem or are interested in getting ideas on how to engage young people in becoming more aware of environmental issues? This is quite an important question because if it does affect viewers, then your chances of them sitting down and watching your full all the way through will be pretty good. And how about involving the viewer? Will your story get people to take a more active role in preserving the environment or any other local issue, for that matter? This could be very important, especially if you are thinking of doing local stories for your community. If it involves the local school or road building or the local hospital, then yes, it will involve your viewers, and that will guarantee that they watch and take in your story. Then there are the emotional responses viewers have. Two stories would make the viewer angry, sad, curious or happy. Always a good thing. If you press people's emotional buttons that will get them to experience and show their emotions. Can you get viewers to identify with your story? Finally, if your aim is to tell stories that will have an impact and get people to do something, then you have to ask yourself, Will your stories make viewers take some action with your stories? Drive? The view is to get up from their counters and actually do something. If the answer to most of the questions that we've just looked at isn't no, then dropped the story like the proverbial hot potato, remember, we don't do stories for ourselves. We do them for the people who will be watching them, the viewers. So if you don't think the stories you want to do are of interest to your viewers, simply don't do them as it will be a waste of your time and other resources. So let's say you found several stories now around a specific topic, and you still cannot decide which one of them will be best to put your energy into that say you researching the impact of poverty in urban communities. One of the factors contributing to this is the inability of people to find employment due to being homeless. So you're a search into poverty and homelessness has thrown up several ideas around your subject, but you still cannot decide. So now you need to question the different ideas. For example, you have three possibilities where people have been affected by poverty and homelessness. So your questions will run something like this story one. Why is market September and her two Children living on the street story, too? How does the new slum clearance project affect people like the Khumalo family as they search for a new place to stay? Story three. What will happen to Joshua Peterson when he gets released from Falkenberg Psychiatric Hospital and needs a place to live? So now you need to ask yourself which of the three stories will make the best story which will have the most impact, which is the most human story which will do the most good for the people concerned, which will illuminate and bring understanding to the problem of poverty and homelessness. And finally, which story idea genuinely interests you the most. This one will probably also interest your viewers the most. You will have noticed that I refer to viewers all the time, and that's important because we make films for other people to watch. So let's some up for a minute. As a factual filmmaker, your job here is to do stories that are relevant to the viewer. They will want to see them stories that are likely to involve the viewer. They will want to see their own circumstances reflected in these stories and then incredibly important because we are dealing with emotions, you need to make stories that will move the viewer from a feeling of apathy, through to sympathy and ultimately onto a feeling off. Empathy and empathy is that emotion that makes the viewer want to identify with your story characters and walk in their shoes. And this walking those borrowed shoes brings understanding to the viewer. Let's go through this one more time. In short, stories are about what happens to people, how they feel about it and what they could do about it, and so we now know how to evaluate potential stories. But what about how we make sure that the stories we want to tell have a clear and unambiguous message for the viewers that subject we take only now. Next lesson. Writing your focus statement. Writing a strong focus statement for your story is a crucial step in your overall form production process, because if you get lost along the way, you will always be able to return to your focus statement as your guideline. See, you know, but 3. Lesson 03 - Focus: welcome to the next lesson in our documentary filmmaking course, and in this lesson we will be taking a closer look at how to write a clear focus statement for the story you want to do. We will look at the individual elements off this focus statement, and we will practice writing our focus statement down in order to share it with other people. I would also developed the tools necessary to identify where the stories have a clear focus statement. There's several elements to good storytelling, and all of these help you the storyteller to develop a clear focus statement that will, in turn help your viewers understand what you are trying to get across to them. But before we get to developing our focus, taking concept lets for a minute talk about two different ways in which we can tell our stories. So essentially it's the same story, but you can tell it from two different approaches. The first is called an event driven story, and the second is what we will call the character driven story. Let's take a closer look now at these two different approaches, the event driven story reads something like this. The world Health Organization is opening new clinics in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa to care for pregnant women who are HIV positive. This is being done in order to provide them with medication that will ensure that their babies are born HIV negative and remain so. So this story is about an organization that's doing great work by providing medication for pregnant mothers who are HIV positive but want their babies to be born HIV negative. It's a good, interesting story, but it sounds a little bit too clinical. And two official. And to be honest, it could be boring. Yes, no. What do you think? Let's see what happens if we take a more personal story approach. It's still the same story, but this time, let's bring in a character. This approach reads an Oscar. Connie is from whom Tom Zini in KwaZulu Mattel, and she's pregnant and also H I V. Positive Honor goes to a local clinic on the first Tuesday off every month to receive medication that will ensure that her unborn child is HIV negative when he or she is born. Anna has in the past lost two Children who were HIV positive, and the memory of these losses has stayed with her Always. Now what have we done? We've taken the event story and added a person, Tow it someone. Now we can see if I put a face to and understand the story much better, because we have met one of the people who will benefit from what the World Health Organization is doing in far off question on a towel. Let's just make sure we understand exactly how to write our focus statement and let's use on a story to illustrate it. There are five very clear components to a story focus, and they come in the form of questions. And these are who is involved in the story. In other words, who is the main character in our case? It's an Oscar, Connie. Then what is this character doing? She was going to the clinic to get medication that will ensure that her unborn child is born HIV negative. Next we ask, why is the character doing it? What is the driving force on as driving force? Was the fact that she has lost two Children before to complications from them being HIV positive. She now wants to ensure that this child will be born HIV negative. Then we also ask, when is this happening? It is happening currently and she has to go to the clinic once a month on the first Tuesday off every month. And finally, our last question is, where is it taking place? We meet her as she standing in a queue outside of them, terms any local medical clinic in the province of KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. As you can see, the moment you have answered these five questions, your story comes alive through your focus statement, and any person now watching it will fully understand what you are telling them. It, of course, also helps you, the filmmaker, to decide who you will be interviewing and what you will be asking them, as well as what you will be filming on location. So, to sum up, a focus statement means who is doing what, why they are doing it, when and where does this take place? With these five elements, your story will stay on track and will have a logical structure. Viewers can understand. Leave out one of the five and you run the risk off view is not understanding what your stories about. It's a very important find one person who represents many and tell us what he or she is doing. In that way. You can personalize your story and tap into the views own life experiences. In other words, we tell a micro story being illustrated off a macro event on US Personal Micro Story tells the World Health Organization's event macro story in a way that connects with viewers. And remember, use your focus statement as a communication to write it down and use it to develop your phone proposals, treatments and shooting script. And, of course, you also share it with all the people who will be working with you on your phone. So now you have a better idea of what a focus statement is all about and how it influences of viewers understanding off your film. Let's do a simple test where next you watch a story on YouTube or on television or, for that matter, any story you read in a newspaper or a magazine. What's or read it along with two or more friends than after watching were reading it. Ask your friends and yourself, of course. The following questions Did you get the story who was doing what and importantly, why were they doing it? Where and when That's a story, take place and again, Very important. Was the story clear and easy to understand? Their and your apply to these questions should help you understand the importance of sitting up a very clear focus statement for your story right at the start. You know, following Listen, we are going to use this focus statement to start our process off research and to write are shooting script to decide on the best structure for your story and also determine what we will be shooting and how we will be conducting our interviews until next time. 4. Lesson 04 - Narrative Structure: hello again from behind younger from my lovely home city of Cape Town in South Africa. In this listen, we're going to take a look at how to develop a strong structure for your short documentaries, a structure that will make them easy to understand. For your viewers. It's the structure of a story that takes your viewer on a journey and, fortunately for us, all stories from all over the world. Moralists share the same structure, and this is even to across culture and language divides. And that's because all human minds basically work in pretty much the same way. There are three basic elements to every story, and different filmmakers will call these three elements different names. But in essence, it all means the same. Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end for our purposes. And to avoid confusion, let's stick to the following terms. Our story start with the teas at the beginning. It then moves into the body the middle, and ends with the conclusion or the end, and let me say straight away that storytelling structures are somewhat more involved than just having these three components. But for our purposes, let's start by looking at them individually and how they fit together to form a hole into what he is also known as a narrative structure. Let's start with the tease in this part of your film humanely set the context of what is to follow. The tea's literally must tease the viewer into wanting toe watch more. What is the overall purpose of the tees? Well, it allows viewers some access into what the story is going to be about. It also introduces the viewers to one or more principal characters in the story, and it establishes the settings and locations where the story will play out. It can also set up a problem. What can ask a question, the answer to which will become clear as this story unfolds. Furthermore, the teas consent the tone of the story, and all of these elements will hopefully involve your viewer enough for them to stay to watch your full story. And while we talking about the beginning and general structure of your story, let's also take a look at developing and planning your opening and closing visuals. If you know your story well, something you achieved through thorough research, you can start planning the first visuals your viewers will see and then also the visuals your story will end on. Keep this in mind as your story development takes place. But for now, back to our story structure. Here's the story I did about relocating elephants first, let's take a look at the tees. We draw the viewer into a drama, often elephant that's been darted and has fallen badly, and veterinary staff cannot get a color around the elephants neck An elephant ball is down on. The recovery team is frantically working out a way to place a collar around his neck. He's fallen awkwardly and they can't get the collar past the dense bush. He's lying on the ground, something. He's one of the group of 12 elephants who live in the heart of what was once the Tequila Biosphere Reserve near Vienna. In quasi Luna tell he's being fitted with a collar so that he and his group could be tracked in the dense bush. But the team just can't get the color around his neck, and it's not safe for him to stay down much longer. The disappointment is tangible when after more than half a Knauer is struggling veterinarian in charge decides they have to get the elephant back on his feet. Okay, Chips, that's what I could try Technical. Someone got toolbox. Everybody at and there you pretty much have the tees off that story. Viewers are now part of an elephant relocation, and because the exercise was aborted, they're asking, Why are the elephants being relocated? They're also thinking what comes next. So the teas has done its job. And what now follows on from the tees is the body of the story. This part develops the main plot, introducing the substance and conflict of the story. Viewers get to know the characters get to know what they doing and why they're doing it. Remember that the story focus is now being developed. Further, viewers also get to see the action as the story unfolds. Usually the body makes up around 80% off your story. Let's return to the elephants for a moment and look at our focus for this story. The who is our elephants? The what is that are being removed from their home. The why comes to the fore as we learn that they are no longer welcome as a new land owner wants to bring in hunters to kill them. The where is a farm in the Midlands of KwaZulu Hotel and the wind is current, and there is a time pressure involved to remove the animals with them. Now, facing an immediate threat of being killed in the body of the film, we now introduce the viewers to the different characters, those who want to kill the elephants and those who want to capture and remove them to safety. We obviously want what's best for the elephant and at least this accident, if if they can be removed yard let him go. We went. We obviously want treated or anything. But despite this assurance, the tension climbed again when another landowner, Vic Albers, came along and threatened to shoot the elephants. What is it about somebody like you adopt this kind of attitude? Something's gotta be done, and they are threatening to shoot this. And if it might be something, you are you threatening to shoot them now? Can change. Anything we can do is coming front. That's what way have brought a lot of people here to try and get these elephants out. Vigilance Politi cannot prove him because of where they are not gonna put their lives at risk. Darting in the middle of a very where no one could get you. I got 40 coming to write home about, but thank you. See, action. Doesn't that sort of get through to you that some things on the stairs of the comments way or not, it's just ask for a week or two. Give us a week or two or a month. If they come on this form, I promise you, I'll be here. Catch. I can't catch him in the mountains, Say seriously. Now the viewer knows who is who in this drama who wants to save the animals and who wants them killed. And there is a stalemate. For now, as everyone agrees that the translocation should be given a chance and killing the animals should be put on hold for now to hold you over. He was attention in the story we can in the body section also includes several interest spikes for the viewers. Some of these bikes will only become clear on the day of the shoot simply because they happen spontaneously, so it is essential to stay on top of things as the story unfolds on location in the Elephants story. Once that spike occurred, when a young cough is attacked by another elephant while the calf is loaded into a transport container. Young Sheena, the baby in the group, was getting special treatment to keep us safe. Amidst all the rough action, she was transported on the back of a bucket, and she was the first to be loaded into the transport truck. That was when things went horribly wrong. Sheena was still struggling to get her a feat when gang Gila, 20 year old female, was allowed to go through without warning. She turned on China on gold, her badly slamming her tusk through Sina's left ear and into her little body. Ganguly, having moved away from Sheena, was now looking quite disoriented and just stood. There is if you could not believe what she's just done. Sheena was now even more terrified and confused by this attack from a member of her own family. She quite and called for her mother as she tried to climb out of this place. Sooner was in for another knock, this time from the next group that came through the doors onto the truck. Fortunately, this group included Gina's mother, Nellie, and the youngster could begin to calm down. There could be several of these dramatic moments or small scenes in the body part of your story. As these start resolving themselves, we are ready to leave the body off our elephants story with the realization that the veterinary surgeon cannot get to the injured calf until the elephants are offloaded at their new home, a journey lasting more than 12 hours. We find one more dramatic interest spike before we transition from the body to the conclusion in our elephant story. And this happens as the trucks carrying the elephants arrive at the new home. But there was one last obstacle in the way. Ironically, it was the sand wild gate. After a lot of maneuvering, they found the problem. The truck was lying to low Theo only solution was to pull it through the gates. So with the help of 24 by fours, connected in tandem on with an enormous pool truck was through. The elephants had arrived at their new home, first out with a two adults and one adolescent balls, tentatively walking down the ramp into the one hectare Bomer area with an electrified fence . This visual arrival of the elephants at their new home now leads us into the conclusion, and as the story ends, we start pulling the strands of the story together, giving some resolution and closure. This is also where you can recap on the main points of your story. In this case, the elephants that were facing death now get to live in a new, safe environment. The conclusion, furthermore, gives the view is the answers to the questions and issues raised at the start of your story . It provides the resolution that these animals are now safe. Elephant story ends with US revealing what happens to Sheena, the young injured calf. This answers one last, lingering question in the viewer's mind. The moment the three bulls were out, dough could pay attention to the injured Sheena. You see what that counted? She went down on it like this, but test and she eat it. So she eat this year and luckily so this is our to also open. The wound is just through the scheme and severe some of the muscles, but it's not free into the rib cage. And obviously not in the pure. Cassity. You know these? It's been it was different, you know? And she went down with the school white. She was okay. With her stitches in and antibiotics administered, she was ready to go. As the remaining elephants came out of the truck, they quickly moved away from the people. The last one out was little Sheena, and she had to sprint to catch up with her family. And there you have it, a basic documentary story structure with eighties a body and a conclusion. And as without beginning visuals, we also plan the end visuals for our story. Try and build your stories around this basic structure. Now it's a great place to start. Then, as you become more comfortable with it, start including your own dramatic spikes to keep viewer interest. The important thing in any narrative structure is to keep the viewers guessing and make sure they stay watching. So, to sum up, all stories share a basic structure off a beginning. The tease, the middle, the body and an end the conclusion and you can call your three sections of your story whatever you feel comfortable with. It is very important to plan these three sections when it comes to writing your shooting script, and we're going to do exactly that in our next lesson in this documentary filmmaking course . See you soon. 5. Lesson 05 - The Shooting Script: hello again and welcome back in this lesson. We're going to look at how we now take our story focus and using our basic narrative structure, we start writing our shooting script. This will guide us to tell our stories with visuals and sound, and in particular, we will look at how to condense our story visually so that it will still make sense. But we cannot. The boring longboats that can so easily lose viewers. Viewers are more and more demanding that you, as a phone storyteller, keep them engaged, entertained and informed. So in order to do this, how do you tell a story that in real time will take five, maybe six hours to film? And now you want to condense that footage into only five minutes? How do you do that? Well, the answer lies in writing a detailed shooting script before we start filming. That's because the script is a written description of what the audience will be seeing and hearing. It's about visuals and sound. We need to capture our viewers attention and imagination by planning carefully what they will see and hear on their screens. Writing your shooting script is really the outline of your phone and carefully looking at it as a whole. You will be able to see where your script needs more work and which areas really work and will hold viewer attention. You're shooting Script can also be seen as your wish list. It is everything you hope will be in your final phone. You probably won't get it all, but you will, at the very least be working to a plan. You might, of course, also get a lot more than you planned for, and this could greatly add to your final product. Let's now do a quick recap on what story focused looks like. And then let's use one to write a shooting script for a short film. So what are the components for a focus statement? Again, it is a written paragraph that clearly identifies who was involved in a story. What are they doing? Why are they doing it? Where is it happening? And when is it happening? Okay, so let's see what our story is about. Here is our story focus. Three years ago, Gary Clay nonce from Gary Surfing School in Music Berg near Cape Town, started working with young Surface who wanted to surf but couldn't afford it. Gary believes that through learning how to surf, these young people will also learn life skills that will equip them to become successful adults. Let's break that up now. So the Who is Gary claimants? The Where is musing Berg near Cape Town. The what describes that he is teaching young people to serve, and the why is that he believes that the skills they learn while surfing will also teach them valuable lessons in life. The win. The timeline relates to him starting this teaching three years ago, and it continues today. This sounds like it could be a good story for viewers. It has some potential for great visuals, and it's a story about growth and opportunity and success, and viewers will, in all probability, like this kind of full. But we now have to do is translate our focus into a shooting script, using our basic narrative structure as the vehicle that will bring our story to life. This is the point where you now do some detailed research on the subject of your film. You can do this on their websites, they Facebook pages, newspaper articles and, of course you can phone them or just go out and meet them and have a conversation. Then, based on your research, make a list Now off all the people you would want in your story list what each of them will bring to the story and start thinking in terms of how to illustrate any possible conflict or emotionally charged areas of your story. What is the essence of your story? And how are you going to make sure that the visuals that use will carry the narrative off your phone? Only once you have completed enough research for your phone, do you proceed to start putting the shooting script together. There are many templates for script writing, and the best is going to be for you to look up a number of these on the Internet and then decide which one suits you and you can make your script as detailed as you want. Depends on you. Now remember, in a previous lesson, we saw that there are three parts to the structure of any story. These are the tease, the body and the conclusion. So what we are now going to do is foot our story of Gary, and he's serving school into a script format. Use the three sections as headings in your script. This will help you plan. What part of your story falls under which heading writing the shooting script is essential because this is where you plan. Who will be saying what in your film? And this is then where you designed those questions that will get the people to say what you need them to say for your phone. So let's first take a look at the tees. This is where we first meet Gary, a surfer who runs a surfing school. We also see where he is from, and we find out what he is doing, their teaching young people how to surf. This gives our view, is a good opportunity to now understand what the main focus of our story is all about. Next we move on to the body of our phone and year we meet several new people, all of whom are connected to Gary and his surf school. Now, as you include all these different people in the body off your structure. What I normally do is I write their names and then immediately next to each name. I indicate what I want them to talk about at this point in the script. Then I make sure that I include the question. I will ask the interviewee to get the answer I have in my shooting script. The first new person we meet in the body section is queasy. One of the initial young surface Gary trained crazy today is an award winning long board surfer who is very keen to become the best and also wants to help more newcomers to surfing . Quizzes not had an easy life, but surfing has helped him turn things around. We also meet quizzes mother Gladys, who was quite nervous when she first saw her son go out deep into the sea. But now she's a lot easier with his chosen sport. As our story progresses, we get to meet Ashwin, who was also trained by Gary and who has subsequently become friends with crazy. But it's a friendship that has a strong competitive edge because, although cuisine is setting the benchmark for surfing, surface like Ashwin are now competing strongly. Next we bring in Gary. He talks about how the school got started and what he's ideas are around, giving young surface a set of skills they will be able to use in their adult lives. This brings us to the conclusion in our surfing story, and this is where we take a look at what has been achieved by Gary and also where he served school will be going into the future. We sum up with comments by Gary Crazy and Ashwin, more or less the past, the present and the future. When you have all the interviews down, it is easy to plan what visual scenes you will be using in your film. For example, one scene will probably be the museum Berg Beach. To start off your film, you will also want to see some surface getting ready going into the sea and also obviously some surfing. This will give context to what is being said by all the people in your story. Once you've completed all your plant visuals, you will be another step closer to working on your shot list that you will take with you on your shoot. And there you have your basic story structure. What remains now for you to do is to design the questions. You will be asking all the story participants to make sure that you have the answers that will fit your structure. And, of course, tell the full story, then also for you to now draw up a list off all the scenes you will be filming to bring your story to life. Essential now is to prepare that detailed shot list your guide to a successful location shoot. So to sum up in this lesson, we used your focus statement to build a shooting script, which we developed using our basic narrative structure as a guideline. See you in the next lesson where we will condense a detailed shot list from our shooting script. 6. Lesson 06 - Shooting Your Film: hello again from behind Hunger, and in this lesson, we're going to look at how we shoot visual material for our short form documentary film. In particular, we will focus on shooting what is loosely termed B roll visuals, planning shots that create sequences. We will also look at what is loosely termed context shots that will give us a deeper understanding off the location off your story. We will also touch on using archives and amateur visuals in your films, especially if the main event of your story has already taken place and we will end the listen by looking at some basic pointers on how we film interviews. So, in essence, what this lesson is about is how to shoot video material that both sequences and allows for a strong story. Now, at the outset, let me say there's a lot of confusion around what is meant by the terms, shots, sequences and scenes, So call these elements whatever you want. The important thing to remember is that for our purposes, several shots give you a sequence, and these sequences will take place in different scenes or settings in your film, and these are your building blocks for your visual narrative. That's what I'm going to talk about, what we mean by visual narrative will. That's where you tell your story without words. Using bureau footage. It's the visuals that people see and understand that helped them make an even deeper connection with your story. Let's take, for example, let's say your story is about a single mother with two Children. She's lost her job and home, and now she lives on the street in a homeless community. Your visual narrative, your bureau will be the world that she now finds herself in after she was used to a middle class life in a relatively up market suburb. She's now faced with no running water, no electricity and no safe space for her Children to play. That is the context that you will bring to the viewer purely through the visuals you film and show. Viewers will immediately understand her circumstances without any additional written narrative or interview. Let's look out to see why is a sequence so important in full making? Well, there are several reasons, first of all, by using sequences weaken compressed time, an action that would normally take about a minute or two can be visually compressed to take only 20 seconds or even shorter if your visual language allows the viewer to grasp the full scene in a shorter time. The second reason is that sequencing gives you a great opportunity to film the scene creatively and provide your viewer with interesting shots. I normally say, Let's wherever possible. Shoot seven different shots for an activity sequence this Take a look now at the shots that we talking about and let's take a really simple activity. Somebody making a cup of coffee the length of the shots I would suggest run from between 10 to 15 seconds. OK, shot one. What is the person doing? Hands in the activity shot shot to Who is the person? This is where you get to see the face in the expression off the person making coffee shot. Three. This is a wider activity shot now, including hands and face shot. For this is an interesting over the shoulder shot shot. Five. Another interesting shot this time, maybe from a low angle. The last two off. The seven shots provide you with an opportunity to really get creative shot. Six. Try hard, Come up with something special that will move the narrative further and shot seven. The final final shot shoot something that brings new information to the fore. These different shots will allow your editor several opportunities of how to finally present the coffee making seen. Also importantly, the editor will have shots with which he can place the story. Another help for your editor will be that an all important face shot off your subject, and this shot can be cut in anywhere in your sequence. Whenever you're on a shoot, you have to think sequences, not just individual shots. This will ensure that your phone stays varied and interesting, but of course there are always those situations where you arrive on sit and there's an activity happening and you didn't plan for it, and you simply must get the footage well. Then try your best to get three basic shots a wide, a medium and a close up. Then you will at least again have some choice when editing the sequence. It's all about providing visual choices when getting to the editing stage of your phone. Let's talk for a minute about visual material that you don't shoot yourself and get from other sources This can give your viewer a deeper awareness and understanding of your story , especially when your stories about something that has already happened. Several of the stories I've done depended very much on footage I plane from outside sources . You can't always be everywhere all the time, but you can obtain footage from people who were there. Sometimes the material is professionally shot, but most of the time it's amateur footage, the strength of it being the content. One story I did was about the abusive young elephants, another an illegal lion hunt. Another featured material off students protesting against apartheid. This material I shot when I was 11 years old. My first actuality shoot with a small eight millimeter camera held high, running along next to a funeral procession. If your story is about a past event and you can get video material about the event, it strengthens your story considerably. Just make very sure you have the required permissions in place before using material shot by other people and make sure that permission is in writing. Another great source of video and photographic material for your films are your subjects, of course. Always ask people you are filming for photographs, documents and any other old video off themselves. On occasion, you will be pleasantly surprised with what they bring to the party. But let's get back to the footage. You shoot yourself. There is another type of footage. I call it the context shots, and these can make quite an impact on your phones. These shots moralists function as your eye when you run set. These are the small objects and situations you see phone these. It gives viewers an extra insight into where you are, where the story takes place and it's usually about individual items, signs, close ups of articles, people sitting, walking in conversation, trains, roads, a bicycle, a dog line sleeping, someone sitting on a bench reading a newspaper, a rusted and lying in the grass. These air the context shots 10 to 15 seconds of them as well. Whatever is in the area off where you are shooting, this might seem like unrelated shots at the time, but in the context of your film, they will be lifesavers in the edit suite. You can cut these together to form their own sequence, or you can use them individually like photographs. Try and get some of these on every shoot your own. This is another opportunity to let your creative juices flow. Let's move on now to shooting interviews. Most of the information about your film will come from interviews. Some of it will be the interview eat talking on camera. But some of it will also be covered by bureau sequences, and it's the on camera parts off your interview that needs some careful planning. It's important that the setting for your interview reflects the story line off your phone. So if your interviewees, a scientist, works in the laboratory, set up the interview that you can at least see some lab equipment in the background or shoot the interview while the interviewee is conducting his experimentation, explaining the different procedures to you. So always plan to do your interviews in places that also reflect the subject of your story . The next factor to consider is where you the interview were, should be for a static on camera sit down interview. I like to sit right next to the camera with my head at the same level. Is the person being interviewed? It doesn't really matter which side of the camera you sit on, vary it with your next interview and sit on the other side. Another point to remember is where in the frame the interviewee will be placed. I like to also vary this with me sitting on the left of the camera. The interviewee is on the right hand side of the frame. When I'm sitting on the right hand side of the camera, the interviewee is on the left hand side of the frame. I would suggest you start off with these basic rules for your interview, and then, as you progress with full making, develop your own style of interviewing. Even better, develop a style that suits the individual stories that you will be doing. If you plan to have yourself in the interview, then shoot what is called reverse questions. If these air done well, you can catch your interviews in a conversation style these reverse questions have done. After the main interview has been completed. Just make sure someone keeps track of the questions you ask as you will have to ask these again once the camera has been turned around to face you. Finally, if you plan to introduce your interviewee with an establishing sequence of shots. Make sure that your interviewee leaves the last shot before seeing them in the interview situation. Don't cut from the subject. Drinking coffee to them suddenly now talking in the interview. Let them put the cup down and they hand completely. Leave the shot before showing them being interviewed as part of your sit down interview. You will, of course, also need to plan your lighting. Make sure your interviewee is well lit so that their facial expressions in particular can come across. It doesn't matter where you interview someone. Always keep in mind that there are three basic light sources you should look for, and you don't always need professional lights for this. But they help a lot when you want to control visuals, particularly inside a building. The three lighting elements. You should look for our a key light. This comes from Ah, higher angle onto the subject and from one side only, and it is the strongest of the lights. The next is a full light. This comes from the other side of the subject. It's a weaker like than the key light and basically helps the subject's face show some shadows and contours. Lastly, There's the backlight, which helps the interviewee separate from the background. This is usually quite soft. These are the basics of lighting interviews, subjects. So play around with different lights, set ups and see what works for you and your story. Also, if you can invest in a good set of lights that will allow you to play around. So to sum up this lesson, shoot shots that form part of a sequence when filming your be room and film at least seven shots for each sequence. Then also, if your story includes events that have already taken place, find the people who own the rights to the video and negotiate for you to use this footage in your stories. Furthermore, shoot single shot context video that will allow your viewer to further understand the locations that you are filming in and finally plan the settings and formats off the interviews you will be doing to ensure that they reflect the context off your story. All that's left now for me to say is go out there and enjoy your shoot. I will be back against soon with a lesson on how to write your edit script, using all the material you shot and now collected. See you soon 7. Lesson 07 - The Edit Script: hello again and welcome to the next lesson in our documentary filmmaking course. In this lesson, we will be focusing on how to write your edit script. This is where we look at how to put all the material you've gathered into your phone. This is another one of those really important steps in the making of a film writing up on edit script. This is, in fact, your full laid out in words. At the end of this listen, you'll be able to transcribe the interviews you have shot select interview clips that will move your stories narrative along. You'll also be able to structure your film to move smoothly from the tees into the body and finally culminating in the conclusion. And very importantly, you will develop a sense of how to combine your interview clips with your beer old sequences to form a coherent visual story, a story that will allow the viewer to go on your journey with you. And this is how are we going to do it right at the start of this process? Off writing the script, we need to transcribe all our interviews, and when I say transcribe, I mean exactly that every question and every reply must now be written out word for word. And this is a huge pain if you have a lot of interviews and asked a lot of questions. But as you will find out later, this is very valuable, because full transcriptions will save you a lot of time and effort later on. Let's go back to a previous lesson for a moment. Out shooting script lesson. In fact, remember Gary Cleanups and he's surfing school in music? Berg. Well, we plan to interview him, but also Crazy Gary's first success story as a surfer, crazies, mother, Gladys and Ashwin quizzes friend. But also he's competitive in surfing. Let's assume now that we have done all of these interviews and everyone spoke well and we happy with the results. Well, we now need to transcribe every one of these interviews for out edit script. And if you plan your questions well and you also make sure that your interviews were tightly handled, then the transcriptions will not take too long. If I ever who didn't keep control off the interview and you ask too many questions, this transcription process can keep you busy for days, so remember, stick to the focus of your story when interviewing people. This is what a transcription looks like. We have several questions and then several answers for each of the people we feature in our surfing story. The next step is to transfer some of the answers the various people gave us into our edit script. Remember, our shooting script was our wish list. Everything we plan to do well, we've done most of these, and we now have the video interviews and we can start transferring them into our edit script. And very importantly, you do not have to stick rigidly to the outline of your shooting script. But it will at this stage give you a solid framework for your phone, and that's important. Some of the things you filmed will not have Bean in the shooting script, and those, if they are relevant enough, will make it into your edit script. So keep an open mind and use the shooting script simply at this stage as a guide for writing do waited script. So let's do this now. In your shooting script, you wrote down who you plan to interview and what you wanted to ask them and you did this using the three part story structure, the tease, the body and the conclusion. Now let's look at our transcriptions again and let's see what everyone said in their interviews. Let's dig. Gary's interview answers. So which of Gary's replies will work for the tease of Awful? This one looks like a perfect fit. He talks about how the school came about. What else do we need in the T section? Let's take a look. Here's a basic script I prepared for the start of our film. I firstly used a clip from Gary's interview. Then I wrote some voiceover narration to start off the story and lead into Gary, and I also used several scenes off beer. Oh, that was shot for the fall. A very familiar sight on this beach are people in these yellow and blue wetsuits. They belong to a local serving school run by musing Berg legend Gary Claim hunts what we've done it. Very Sir. School registered a non profit organization, and that's called the Extreme Surf School What it is, it's taking Children out of extreme circumstances, and using surfing is a to getting them into normal society. Next we move on to developing the body of the phone. This is where we now get to meet the other characters again. We use our transcription to carefully select those parts of the interviews that will allow us to understand our characters better. Then I may carry on the beach front of a bunch of kids, and I went to Gary with no money, not knowing, like I know that I would have to pay for this. And I went up to him, and I'm like, I want to get involved with your career, like and what do I do? I don't want to come. You can just come along and just want to see how much you have dedicated are you? So every morning when I used to do is be out before even got here to show that I really want to be like seven for you. Gary's belief in Crazy paid off, and in 2000 and five he became the first black surfer to win the National under 18 long boarding championships. Where's he says he'll never forget that day. This was a place that we have the countries, and my mom was sitting on the beach watching me and I had to prove a point so that I can do it. Before I was very never seen. I see him like going far in the sea, but later I just get relax. I can see it go and come back. A final character in the film is Ashwin, and this is how we conscripts him into the body. This also allows us to bring Gary back to talk about the school. We, furthermore, add some tension as they re someone now competing against crazy. There is definitely a competitive. It's when you're in the with. So who's the better surfer? Honestly speaking creates in years disease being around the world already knows what what do we have to do it and how to do it. And he's just my role model and role Modelling is very important in surfing. It means that if someone else could do it, you can do it, too. When Crazy made his first national final, Estrin realized that he had the ability and he climbed the letter very quickly because of crazy. Crazy wasn't around. I think it would have taken him an extra year or two and that's what the whole vibe is at the school and moving into the conclusion of the form, we now cut it together like this, Ashwin says. Starting serving was like light breaking through. I always love to see. That's the reason why I would be a very often about the school. It's just that the surfing part came up like like bubbles on me. It and I got interested I could do with immediately. I never would've thought that be a surfer. And there you have it your story about a surfer called Gary Claimants who is teaching young surface not just surfing skills but also valuable life skills in a place called musing Berg near Cape Town in South Africa. So now it's time. Let's recap on our focus statement now. Who is Gary Kleynhans now? What is his teaching young people surfing now? Why is that? Gary also believes these young surface will gain valuable life skills and the where is museum Bergner, Cape Town and the wind is now going on for several years up to the present. What we will be looking at in our next lesson is how to write voice over narration, the glue that holds your film together and makes it easy for the viewers to understand. Talk to you soon 8. Lesson 08 - Writing Voice Over: hello again from me, Hind Unger. And welcome to this lesson on using voice over narration in your documentary full well. The very first thing we need to look at is whether your film will need voiceover narration , So let's start from there. Many documentary filmmakers don't use voice over narration, and I find that it very much is a choice you must make for yourself in terms of what you like or dislike about it. Also, I think some films needed more than others, which means that you need to plan for whether or not you will use voice over narration right at the conceptual stage of your phone. Always ask yourself, Does your film need it and only use it when there are valid reasons for doing so? A well written voiceover with good B roll footage can make a powerful impression on your viewer. For the purposes of this lesson, let's assume that you will be using voice over narration and let's take a look at what exactly it's all about. There are several pluses to using voice over in your films, and if it enhances this story and gives the viewer an opportunity to get inside the story. Use it. Let's look at the surfing script from one of the previous lessons, and it's opening section in the tees, where we use voice over to provide information for viewers, ensuring that they get what the story is all about. Using Berg is on the False Bay Coast of Cape Peninsula, and it's one of the hot spots for surfing in South Africa. People come here from all over the world to serve, and no matter whether the sun shining or it's raining, the surface musing Berg is always up. A very familiar sight on this beach are people in these yellow and blue wetsuits. They belong to a local serving school run by musing Berg legend Gary Claim hunts. Another plus for voiceover is that you can set sections of your story up faster than if you only dependent on interviews and visuals. Let's take a look at the surfing script again when we want to give depth to quiz his character. We say the following in the voiceover crazy attend school in New Zinberg and is completing his great 12 this year. He has to do a 20 kilometre round trip every day, and he's had to quickly learn the art of time management and establishing priorities. It's waking up early, going to school first after school, coming and coming to self first school. My mom's always told me school the insulting Yeah, that's the way I take life. And when he gets home in the afternoon, it's time for homework. This he does in his room, where he surrounded by the growing number of surfing trophies that he's collected in just six short years, his most prized possession being his South African national surfing team jacket. A voiceover can also help with setting your characters up clearly and add important information about them prior to them. Speaking in an interview when Ashwin is introduced in the surfing script, we give information that prepares the viewer for his entry into the story. There is now a growing number of young surface who were gearing up to challenge him for his spot. One of these is his friend Ashwin Roberts. Ashwin lives a few blocks down from the beach in musing Berg, like crazy Ashwin To has been raking in trophies. And although he sees quasi as his friend, he also knows that he has to beat him to get to the top voice over gives you really power in terms of communicating directly with your viewers and gives them additional information alongside what they are seeing on screen. Voice Over can also help with simplifying a complex story line in your phone. If you decide to use voiceover narration, then make sure it is well written. It can be annoying for viewers to simply be told what they're already seeing on their screens. Make sure the script adds to the viewers understanding and that it does not just state the obvious. And very importantly, it's not necessary to cover the entire story with words. If you want to create some transition points in your story, then don't feel uncomfortable. If there's no narration or the voice of an interviewee, allow the foam to breathe. This is where you can very effectively Usual bureau, allowing viewers time to digest what has gone before and let them think about what is coming. And for this use the video and audio recorded on location. Let's look at some guidelines when writing good voice over narration for your film, maintain a chronological structure started the beginning of your story and moved to the end trying use only one thought per sentence not every time, but certainly most of the time. Use every day. Language and what I mean by this is use words that people use when they talk to each other . Use words and sentences, structures that sound like real conversation. Also, you simple but powerful words use firm, rich, touchable, even edible words. Look for tactile words with guts, power, elegance and beauty, and use words appropriate to the meaning and circumstances of your story. When writing voice over narration, keep in mind at all times that less is more and right for speaking with one simple word that guides you simplicity. So to sum up now with some writing tips, use your voice over narration to strengthen your story structure and move the viewers from the tees to the body and onto the conclusion. And very importantly, voice over script isn't literature. It's Orel and conversational. And if a three syllable word can be replaced by a one syllable word, use it. And finally, the tone of your generation should not vary throughout your story and never be scared of writing narration for your story. You will get better every time you do see you again soon 9. Lesson 09 - Summing Up: Hello again. We've come to the end of this documentary filmmaking course, and I want to thank you so much for spending time with me. I hope you found it useful in your role as a factual filmmaker. But before I say goodbye, for now that is. Allow me to cover a few important points in documentary filmmaking. Always, always make sure that both your video and audio is off the very highest quality. Become completely familiar with the workings and potential off your video and audio recording equipment. Use your tripod for as many off your shots as you possibly can, and make sure you listen to and monitor your audio as you record. And the only way to effectively do this is using headphones. And if it all possible, make sure you check the quality of both your video and audio while you are still on location. That way, you can re record whatever is necessary in terms of the stories you do. Make sure they are interesting, full of interesting people, saying and doing interesting things in interesting places. Make sure your focus statement for every story is clearly written down so as to remind you off your focus as your phone progresses. Also share your focus statement with people working with you on the film. This will help them to understand your vision. Always write up a detailed shooting script, using your simple storytelling structure off a tease, a body and conclusion. Ensure that the shots you shoot on location builds narrative sequences, off activities and events that will assist you in conveying your visual narrative. Use voice over narration to help you tell the story succinctly, thereby making it easier for your viewers to understand. Always be courteous to the people you work with. With a crew or participants in your film, you never know when you need them again. And finally enjoy your filmmaking. Allow yourself to get crazy and excited about your films. This is one of the most effective and rewarding tools through which you can communicate with people and tell them your stories. So good luck now and hopefully see you again soon