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I Have Filmmaker's Block

Zach Goodwin2

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Decide on the style and format of the doc and then get those shots.

- Interviews, yes or no? Who to talk to? Where? What questions? How should it look?

- Voiceover, yes or no? If so, write the script for the VO and record it

Once you have the interviews and/or VO you can put a rough edit in place and then you'll know what B roll you need to illustrate the points being made. And if you know some of this in advance you can begin to capture the B roll now, in which case you should also think about what style you want to shoot it in.

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31 minutes ago, Zach Goodwin2 said:

I need to organize how I'll film the entire documentary I was given, but I am not so sure how, and it feels too complicated. I have everything that is needed, but I don't know how I'll film the thing. Do you all have any suggestions?

Do you sometimes feel that you record everything the same? That you choose the shoots always in the same way and that all your productions look similar? It's just what happens to me. What I feel the day "D".

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i think you have to explaind more about the project.
The first things you can do is watch good documentaries, watch some docs from chris marker, herzog and others documentalist.

other things you can do is to start filming sketch, get your camera to the locations to do a "camera block"(idk how it is on english but is basically just try shoots on the location).

do your homework and investigate, do preview interviews to the characters from your interview before you shot.


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What do you know about the western three act story structure?  What's you opinion on traditional story telling archetypes like protagonists and antagonist?  Do you appreciate character development, the heroes journey, conflict, resolution, redemption?

You don't need to follow these elements of standard narrative models, but I've found, for me, that it doesn't make sense to break or bend the rules until you understand them.

Put it this way, do you think it would be likely to make an impressive painting if all you access to a tube of titanium white?

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Let’s keep it simple. 
You have 60s.

So that’s 12 x 5s shots. No interviews - just 5s shots. You have to choose the 12 shots. It needs an introduction - so why not start at the town sign? 
What impression of your town do you want to convey? Is it peaceful and picturesque? Frantic? Modern or traditional architecture? Is the town best represented by day or night or both? 
It’s almost like sending 12 (moving) postcards.

If you make the film and I watch it, what do you want me to think?

Don’t try to shoot 12 perfect 5s shots in the field. Take extra and edit. But don’t take 30 mins of footage either as it’ll be too difficult to edit down. So do some forward planning - 12 “locations” (12 places to stick your tripod or stand or whatever).

The time for thinking is over. Get out and do it. And post it here for us all to see. 

And ENJOY IT (or why bother...)

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Hang on..  isn't the question about how to FILM the doc, not edit it?

If it's a case of FILMING it, then my suggestion is to:

  • work out what are the things that are important to include (history of the location, history of key people, people's opinions, where is the drama?)
  • include these key points in the interviews you do
  • work out how you're going to show these key points - are you interviewing the right people, will you get shots of certain locations, do you need historic materials or footage, etc
  • then work out what your constraints are, what is the most difficult aspect of the project?  Is it a person, a location, the weather, scheduled events like festivals, certain natural phenomena aligned with the seasons, etc
  • plan / schedule how to get your most difficult shots, and keep the easier ones as backups

For example, if you're shooting an inside and outside film then you might be limited by the weather, so you can film outside on days with the right weather and inside when the weather is bad, or at key locations when they're available and interviews with people who are flexible in the gaps, etc....

Remember that you don't have to shoot things in order, and to keep your mind open and utilise the unexpected when it occurs.

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Alright I planned out how to record this documentary:


Introduction of Dadeville,


1. Slideshow images of Francis L. Dade

2. Video of Lake Martin

3. Video of people in Dadeville town walking or people working

4. Video of people fishing or boating or swimming in Dadeville

5. Video of inside of car plant

6. Video of the outside of a nice home


Wickles Pickles,


7. Video of Wickles Pickles jar

8. Slideshow of the brothers who made the Wickles Pickles and picture of the factory of Wickles Pickles

9. Video of me eating a Wickles Pickle




10. Video of outside of Renfroes

11. Slideshow pictures of father and son who owned Renfroes

12. Slideshow pictures of locations of Renfroe's

13. Slideshow picture of Renfroe's as Dadeville Foodland

14. Video of inside of Renfroe's

15. Another video of inside of Renfroe's


Home Plate,


16. Video of outside of Home Plate

17. Video of inside of restaurant

18. Video of food in restaurant

19. Video of waitresses helping out

20. Video of cash register being used

21. Slideshow of people in store


Sigger's Barber shop,


22. Video of outside of barber shop

23. Video of inside of barber shop

24. Video of memorabilia

25. Video of me getting my hair cut and being told to have a "blessed day"

26. Video of me walking out of store


Floyd's Feed and Seed,


27. Video of outside of store

28. Videos of stock

29. Video of Inside of Store


Places nearby Floyd's Feed and Seed,


30. Videos of those places


PNC Bank,


31. Video of exterior of bank

32. Slideshow of history and previous locations

33. Video of drive thru and ATM machine

34. Video of people waving at camera


Other Stores,


35. Video of other stores mentioned on list

36. Video of palm trees outside Eagle Gas Station

37. Video of exterior of churches

38. Video of other places mentioned in paragraph




39. Video of Dadeville sign

40. Video of Dadeville forests

41. Slideshow of weather report during summer

42. Slideshow of weather report during winter

43. Video of Dadeville sign

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