Trying to make this documentary project more interesting...

For a film school project, the assignment is for students to pair up and make a documentary on each other. I would do one on one student, and he/she, would do one on me.

However, I don't have a life that is much interesting to make a documentary out of, and neither does the other student perhaps. So I was wondering, is there anything we can do to spice this up? I actually wanted us to make a documentary on something external, like a real world issue or something possibly important, or more fascinating, but not sure if the school will let us do that of course.

I can find out, but is there anything we can do for this assignment to make it better and something that is actually worth talking about ourselves with?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
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Now you're in film school and you're already changing the teacher's assignment and back on indietalk asking how. :lol:
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
One of the few things I like about film school is a teacher who
challenges the students. Make a doc about a fellow student is
a challenge. About 70% of the students will not know how to
make their project interesting – they will not rise to the challenge.
About 20% will give it their best and learn something about
themselves as a filmmaker. It's the rare few who can take this
difficult challenge and make a great movie. Those are the filmmakers.

No one can answer your question, Ryan. We do not know the
person you are working with. However, I know I could make an
interesting documentary. Only knowing you from message boards
I could make an interesting documentary about you.

Why can't YOU think of anything? Why do you need others to give
you inspiration and ideas on how to make YOUR movie?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
That's another thing. If you are not up to the challenge of the professor, you need to ask yourself if you even want to be a filmmaker. Because a filmmaker would step up to the challenge and not try to change it or ask for ideas.

Get to it man! That's an order.
 
For a film school project
Arrrr faark. I thought we'd get to palm you off if you joined film school.

I actually wanted us to make a documentary on something external
Do that, but do your assignment first. Part of being a professional is having the ability to do the assigned work.

It's the rare few who can take this difficult challenge and make a great movie. Those are the filmmakers.
This is very much true. Excellent quote. In the spirit of Apple, I'm stealing it.

Only knowing you from message boards
I could make an interesting documentary about you.
There's a hole in my bucket...

a filmmaker would step up to the challenge and not try to change it or ask for ideas
I'm going to disagree. Great filmmakers often get and use ideas from their team. We all get stuck from time to time and it can help getting ideas to get you started.

is there anything we can do for this assignment to make it better
Sure is. As Rik said, you can step up to the plate and be a filmmaker.

Work out your plan. Put in the work. Don't be a lazy shit. No one is going to do your assignment work for you.

After you've done your hard work, if you still find yourself without a great plan THEN share it here or with members of your class/teacher. Get suggestions on how to improve it and make a decision. First you have to do the legwork.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I meant by asking for ideas on how to change it instead of just doing the original idea... but yeah.
 
For that, you're pretty much spot on. I originally took that part of your quote out and meant to change my reply, but it looks like I screwed that up. lol.

That being said, there's been a few times where a task was given and was changed due to suggestions. It can depend on the circumstance and the preferences of those involved, but in school, when you're being tested, it's best to stick to the assigned task.
 
Few things:

The beginning of film school is often the part you find the most difficult as have the most constraints. All you want to do is get the best camera the school has, take it out and shoot a movie. But you can't. You have little access to equipment and are often prescribed projects that seem quite difficult or boring.
Take them and do them and do your best at them. Those who can work within the constraints given and tell an incredible story will be able to tell an even greater story when the 'blinkers are off' (so to speak).

Secondly, filmmakers are storytellers. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that neither you or they have any story to tell. Find the story, and tell it in an interesting way.

Thirdly, not everybody is equally creative. That's fine. But you need to find where you fit in. The journey of film school is great for doing that, and through doing these assignments and learning what you will learn, you will hopefully figure out where it is you fit in.

You may end up a great Production Designer, or Composer, or Editor, or Screenwriter or Cinematographer or Producer. You don't have to be a Director. And not being a Director is okay.

If you do, desperately, want to be a Director, then find the story and tell it. Otherwise, maybe it's worth considering that there's another path on this journey. That doesn't excuse you from the assignment. Do it.
 
Yeah I don't know if I wanted to be a director since my original passions were acting and writing. I just found myself taking on the director role, to have more control of what products come out of me in the future.

As for the assignment itself, I just didn't think that doing a project on a student was a good idea, as oppose to doing a project on an issue. Issues can be more powerful than the average joe's life, so I thought that would be better.

As for the assignment itself, I suppose for a documentary on me, I can talk about my abused childhood, and some of the things there. Perhaps there is a story to tell there. It's not something I like talking about, especially for a classroom full of students to see, but since I can't think of a better story, I might go with that one.
 

sfoster

Staff Member
Moderator
Yeah I don't know if I wanted to be a director since my original passions were acting and writing. I just found myself taking on the director role, to have more control of what products come out of me in the future.

So you've spent the last 6 years asking questions about directing and it's not your interest.

Funny.

As for the assignment itself, I just didn't think that doing a project on a student was a good idea, as oppose to doing a project on an issue. Issues can be more powerful than the average joe's life, so I thought that would be better.

I think the exact opposite. Stories are about characters.


As for the assignment itself, I suppose for a documentary on me, I can talk about my abused childhood, and some of the things there. Perhaps there is a story to tell there. It's not something I like talking about, especially for a classroom full of students to see, but since I can't think of a better story, I might go with that one.

So the only thing interesting about you as a person is a childhood experience from 20 years ago
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Yeah I don't know if I wanted to be a director since my original passions were acting and writing. I just found myself taking on the director role, to have more control of what products come out of me in the future.

You punked us all all for 6 years, I knew it.
 
It wasn't my intention to punk at all. I was told on here before, that in order to get a movie made, I would have to take on multiple jobs, and directing is one of those jobs as well. So what's wrong with learning that job?

I do have an interest though, otherwise I would not be studying it as much as I do. Of course I have an interest in directing as well, just not sure if it's the number one role I am interested in.

I think the exact opposite. Stories are about characters.

Not all documentaries are about characters though. A lot of my favorite documentaries, such as the ones by Michael Moore for example, are about issues, more than the characters. In his documentaries, there are people, but there is no one main character, and instead he concentrates on a whole issue in itself as the main focus point. That's what I mean when I say a lot of documentary stories being about issues.

But we'll just make it about one another then. Thanks for the input, everyone :).
 
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Michael Moore's documentaries are about Michael Moore exploring an issue together with supporting characters that give the issue a human face and a story. He adds some statistics in it.
But it is still about characters. Characters trapped or empowered by 'the system' they live in.
(I hope they will teach you symiotics. Maybe that will help you to analyse beyound the obvious surface.)

After 6 years in here you just haven't discovered that there is a story in anyone.

A fellow student:
- what is your dream?
- what is your fear?
- where do you come from? (not just location)
- any regrets in your life?
- what would you be doing if not persuing filmmaking?
- any hobbies?

Did you even ask these questions to your subject before doubting the assignment?
You tend to jump into conclusions before exploring the subject. You just expect reality to obviously present you a pret-a-porter movie you can pick up and present as something great.
Reality is different: you need to dig beyond the obvious and explore to get a real documentary.
 
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I'm very confused here.

Yeah I don't know if I wanted to be a director since my original passions were acting and writing. I just found myself taking on the director role, to have more control of what products come out of me in the future.

You're passionate about writing and yet can't muster up the creativity to develop one aspect of yourself as a person and make it interesting?

You have 6,506 posts on Indietalk. Clearly you have something to say. Maybe that's your documentary? "I've asked 6500 questions on the internet and here's what I've learned."
 
Maybe that's your documentary? "I've asked 6500 questions on the internet and here's what I've learned."
At least we should entertain ourselves.

What's the best title you can come up with for h44's 6500 question doco?

I'll start off with:
"Yes, but..."
"Follow my foolproof plan and you too can make 2 shorts in only 6 years."
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Here's the plan, since you asked for ideas. Follow the assignment, come back and show us if you want, in the post, don't ask how to fix anything, just be proud of your first doc, we all know the first one won't be perfect, but you worry too much over things like "filmmaker reputation" and minute details. It's an assignment, and we will congratulate you on your accomplishment. Trust me, this will happen, unless you come back and ask how to fix this and that etc... it will just turn into another h44 thread here. You need to make films and move on, not dwell, in school. Treat them like homework assignments that are competed once you turn them in, until you get to bigger ones.
 
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