The art of nonfiction movie making

Friedman, Jeffrey, 1951-

Publication Details Click to collapse Cite/Export

  • Creator Jeffrey Friedman, Robert Epstein, and Sharon Wood ; foreword by Michael Fox
  • Format Books
  • Contributors
  • Publication Santa Barbara, Calif. : Praeger, 2012.
  • Physical Details
    • 1 online resource (264 p.)
  • ISBNs 1283549514, 9786613861962, 031308453X
  • OCLC ocn879549619


  • The past few years have featured such blockbusters as Super-Size Me, Fahrenheit 9/11, Sicko, March of the Penguins, and An Inconvenient Truth. And as news articles proclaim a new era in the history of documentary films, more and more new directors are making their first film a nonfiction one. But in addition to posing all of the usual challenges inherent to more standard filmmaking, documentaries also present unique problems that need to be understood from the outset. Where does the idea come from? How do you raise the money? How much money do you need? What visual style is best suited to the


  • Description based upon print version of record.
  • Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • English


  • Title; Copyright; Contents; Foreword; Acknowledgments; Introduction; Part One: Development; 1. The Idea; Where Do Documentary Ideas Come From?; What Makes a Good Idea for a Documentary?; Is the Idea Fundable?; What Are Funders Looking For?; Is It a Worthy Subject?; Is the Subject Important?; Has It Been Done Before?; Is It a Good Story?; Are There Strong, Interesting Characters?; Is There Conflict?; How Good Is Your Access?; Are There Strong Visual Elements to Tell the Story?; Case Study: The Times of Harvey Milk; Conclusion; 2. Research and Evaluate Your Subject
  • Read Everything, Talk to Everyone (within Reason)Rights and Licenses; Case Studies; Researching a Historical Film: Paragraph 175; Researching an Archival Film: The Celluloid Closet; Researching Storytellers; Archival Research; Researching an Observational Film: Crime & Punishment; Researching an Essay Film: Where Are We?; Using Research to Determine the Form: Common Threads; Conclusion; 3. Make Your Case: From Story to Proposal; Define the Story; Find the Story Arc; Write Your Film; Define the Storytelling Elements; Storytelling Tools; ""Objective"" Elements; ""Subjective"" Elements
  • ""Directorial"" ElementsNarration; On-Screen Text; Reenactments; Music; The Proposal; Case Study: Paragraph 175; Case Study: Where Are We?; Outreach/Distribution Plan; Conclusion; 4. The Treatment; Case Study: Common Threads; Case Study: The Celluloid Closet; Case Study: Paragraph 175; Case Study: Taking HOWL from Documentary Treatment to Nonfiction Feature Screenplay; Conclusion; 5. Development Materials: The Budget and Sample Reel; Production Schedule; Case Study: Filming Common Threads; Budget; Budget Notes; Create a Sample Reel; Work with What You Have, Play to Your Strengths
  • Case Study: The Sample Reel as a Creative Tool for The Celluloid ClosetConclusion; Part Two: Preproduction; 6. Financing; Development Funding versus Production Funding; Foundations; Broadcast Partners; Sales; Presales; Coproductions; International Opportunities; Pitch Markets; Individual Donors; Targeted Fundraising Campaigns; Fundraising Events; Cocktail Parties; Individual Supporters; Individual Contributions; Investors; Conclusion; 7. Casting the Nonfiction Film; Casting Criteria; How Do They Fit In?; Can They Tell a Good Story?; Casting Historians and Other Experts; Screen Presence
  • PreinterviewsCase Studies; Casting an Interview-Driven Documentary: Common Threads; Casting a Vérité Documentary: Crime & Punishment; Pitfalls and Obstacles; Reluctant Storytellers: Paragraph 175; Celebrity Storytellers: The Celluloid Closet; Casting Actors for a Nonfiction Movie: HOWL; Casting Tools; Conclusion; 8. Legal Headaches: Releases, Rights, and Licenses; Personal Releases; Story Rights; Book and Magazine Rights; Music Rights; Footage and Photo Rights; Fair Use; Errors and Omissions Insurance; Case Study: Licensing Clips for The Celluloid Closet; Conclusion; Part Three: Production
  • 9. Assemble a Team
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