Documentary films can help propel a cause, business, or nonprofit organization, and their success is proven by the genre’s growing online popularity. Thanks to streaming services like Netflix, movie watchers are becoming more intrigued with this type of filmmaking and spend increasing hours online watching films that follow this style. With video content becoming the primary medium from which consumers gain information, consider these 5 documentary storytelling ideas and tips to help you launch your organization’s cause.
- Pick the right story and stick with it.
Where documentary films often struggle the most is with the overall story idea. Too often, documentary films try to communicate too much information about an organization or cause, instead of focusing on a single story that captures the unique nature of the brand. If you want your film to successfully communicate your brand’s purpose or function, find the story that both interests the target audience and captures your brand’s identity.
One mistake filmmakers often make is choosing to portray the “Day in the Life” of a person, group, or organization, without finding an actual story to tell along the way. “Day in the Life” style films can give a good insight into the heart of an organization, but if the film doesn’t tell a story or portray that day in an interesting way, viewers will quickly become uninterested.
- Once you have the idea, define it.
A story is only effective if it’s well organized and defined. Once you find the story you believe is worth telling about your organization, sit down with your team and/or the filmmakers and hammer out the details. What is the story’s log line? This short description of your story should outline the who, what, and why of your story: who is doing the action, what are they doing, and why are they doing it? Once you clearly define these pieces of information, you’ll be one step closer to shooting a documentary video that clearly tells an important story of your organization.
- Use the camera to help tell the story.
Once you and your team decide the details of the story, it’s time to choose how you want it to be told. Whether it’s through interviews, sequences, visuals, graphics, narration, music, or a combination, choosing the right elements can help correctly convey your story to your audience. We recommend sitting down with the filmmakers and working together to decide which elements fit best at certain points of the story. Maybe
- Do your research.
Before filming begins, make sure everyone in the cast, crew, and anyone behind the scenes is on the same page. Make sure you have guaranteed permits to film in your chosen locations and that all of your cast and crew members are updated on the shooting schedule. Once you have everything in place, you can begin doing research for the film by pre-interviewing your sources, capturing B-roll footage in relevant locations, and gathering information about your story from sources like news articles, TV reports, and photographs, to name a few. This extra information will help you shape your story and give it life.
These four tips should help you and your team prepare for your upcoming documentary film shoot. At Windward Productions, we’re dedicated to telling organization’s stories in unique and compelling ways, and we want to help you do the same. For more information on our documentary filmmaking services, click here. And to contact us for pricing, filmmaking details, or more information, give us a call today!