Documentary Proposal

DOCUMENTARY PROPOSAL For this assignment, you will create a proposal for a hypothetical documentary. You must choose the topic and approach. This project is a practical way to demonstrate your knowledge of the course content from this semester. ASSIGNMENT DETAILS 1. Documentary Topic This can be any topic. It does not have to be practical. For example, if you wanted to make a documentary about yak herders in Tibet or a biographical documentary about a celebrity, those topics would not be easy to get access to. But you’re still free to pick those or any other feasible topic. On the other hand, if you’re an aspiring filmmaker who would like to use this as an actual plan for a future film, please feel free! 2. Documentary Thesis If your documentary is making an argument (ie, 13th or The Thin Blue Line), the thesis will be your documentary’s argument. If your documentary does not make overt arguments (ie, Baraka or Gimme Shelter), the thesis can what you hope this documentary will achieve. For both approaches to the thesis, you should also explain why you think the argument or goal of the documentary is important or significant. 3. Documentary Mode Pick one documentary mode for your project. (Many contemporary documentaries mix the modes, but I would like you to pick one dominant mode.) Justify in detail why you think this mode is the correct choice for your topic. This justification should specify what your mode will achieve that the others cannot. If you would strongly like to propose a mixed mode documentary, come talk to me and I’ll decide if an exception can be made. 4. Documentary Models Pick 3-4 documentaries that would be models, in some way, for your documentary. These models can offer any type of inspiration – the visual style of one documentary, the editing style of another, maybe something about one scene in a documentary, or one interview subject, or one shot, etc. Just as long as some detail, big or small, is giving you inspiration. These models do not necessarily have to be in the same mode as your documentary proposal, although 1 or 2 examples probably should be. 5. Documentary Details The details of a documentary will vary depending on topic and mode. Some will require newly shot footage; some will only need stock footage; some will focus on 1-2 social actors; some will require a multitude of social actors; etc. Please explain all the details of your documentary proposal: Who are the social actors? (if applicable) What kind of footage will be required? What style of voice over? Voice of god or more casual? Single or multiple narrators? (if applicable) What will the shooting locations be? (if applicable) What kind of crew do you think will be necessary? (if applicable) What type of visual style? (Nature photography? Formal studio interviews? Fly on the wall? Staged recreations?) (if applicable) What type of editing style? (Observational, Expository, and Poetic would all be edited differently, for example.) 6. Ethical Considerations What are the ethical considerations for your topic and mode? There were many ethical questions raised in class and in the textbook, so I would recommend going over those questions and seeing which ones might apply to your project.   PAPER FORMAT 4-5 pages in length Follow the same format as the previous written assignments (Times New Roman 12pt font, 1-inch paper margins, paper details in single space at the top, paper body double spaced) You do not need to write an introduction. This is more similar to a report than a research paper. You may simply begin with what your documentary topic will be. A paper will receive full points if it covers all of the issues listed in “Assignment Details” in a thorough and thoughtful manner, using specific examples to illustrate you choices.

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