Any artistic manifestation is the result of a creative process and making a documentary film is no exception to this rule. This implies that there will be many mistakes that, with work and comittment, will become successes in the end.
Here at Guidedoc we give you 5 first steps – you can see them as premises or creative mantras- so that your sensibility comes out of clandestinity and finds its way into a short documentary film.
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1. Creativity is a habit
Giving it the place it deserves, we see creativity as the most important mantra, but we have to overthrow the myth of the “enlightened artists”. Only those who are curious and constant are the ones who make good films. If every day or every week you dedicate time to whatever subject you want to portray in film, you will be exercising your creativity as if it were a muscle. This stimulation is vital to make your project grow before you beging to shoot.
In documentary filmmaking, unlike fiction, the raw material is reality. Therefore observation and field work with the reality that catches your attention is essential if you want to portray it. Whether it's spending hours with a friend whose life you admire, or going to a border to travel with immigrants, keep in mind that reality is always going to surpass your imagination, and a documentary can be the ideal opportunity to learn about something and let it transform us. Faced with the vices of making judgments from a distance, physical and intellectual proximity to our subject is necessary.
Writing is the most accessible way to start materializing your project, that is, to start putting ideas out of your head. Write quotes related to your project, random ideas, fragmented notes. As you go through your creative process and read your notes in retrospect, you will see how everything connects and has the same root. That root is the point of view that only you can have and bring to that reality. See your notes as footprints that you leave to yourself to find the path of your creative process.
4. Make a collage!
A little different from the process of fiction filmmakng, where the material is usually a little more predictable, the process of scriptwriting and editing a documentary is more like the dynamics of collage. Once you research, write, film, take photos, have ideas... it's up to you to find a unit for it. That means putting images, sounds and concerns into communication and seeing what happens. This stage takes time and it is where the film begins to be created as such, where its discourse, rhythm and essence are found.
5. Construct a point of view
Finally, we all have a unique universe, our own and personal way to see what surround us. In a world where there are more and more references and formulas for making films, the real challenge is, in the midst of all this, to find one's own voice and play with the cinematographic tools to express it. For this our role models can help us, using them as guides, or mirrors, to reach our own sensibility and that corner of authenticity that we all have.