Snowflake Method of Documentary Film

by jwolowic ~ January 20th, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized.

I wonder if this method can be adapted for assembling documentary film

Snowflake Method of Novel Writing

1. Write a one-sentence summary of your film. This is the thesis statement.

2. Expand the sentence to a paragraph describing the story major events and the ending. What is the narrative arc?

3. Now consider the main people you interviewed and write a one page summary for each, considering the following points:

  • A one-sentence summary of each person’s importance.
  • What does each person add to the thesis statement?
  • What do they add for the audience watching film?

4. Go back to the summary you wrote in 2 and expand each sentence into a paragraph. Describe each shot/scene of each person from your raw footage that best answers these questions.

5. Write a one page description for each person, which tells the thesis from their point of view. This will help you narrow down your film characters to just a few people.

6. See if the themes of their footage matches the footage of other characters.

7. Look for overlaps and unique critical moments

8. Using the expanded synopsis, make a list of every scene you would want to include

9. Using the scene list, see where each character would enter and exit the film.

10. Assemble your first cut.

11. Then the HARD part begins.  What do you cut out??

Ok, so it starts strong but the methods start to fade around number 7 and 8.  The key is to think about construction of the film as driven by characters (depending on how you want your film to be and what you are emphasizing).  For me it’s about connecting the audience to the people on screen so I think I’ll have to try this method on my next project.

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