How to Make a Documentary for Beginners

The beauty of the documentary is in its flexibility.

Because a documentary could be anything.

A documentary could be a series of original interviews mixed with visual reenactments - ala Errol Morris's "The Thin Blue Line" (1988).

A documentary could be a remix of archival footage juxtaposed with voice overs - ala Adam Curtis's "The Century of the Self" (2002).

A documentary could be an immersion into the filmmaker's process making the film itself - ala Nick Broomfield's "Kurt & Courtney" (1998).

Or anything else as yet unimagined.

The plasticity of the documentary makes it infinitely exciting. 

But at times it can feel daunting making one: with so many choices, so many movies to live up to, so many different opinions on the Internet, so many excuses not to start...

Luckily, there's an "easy mode" for beginning filmmakers:

cinéma vérité.

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