1.1. Identifying the best approach for the project

What kind of project?

There are many different options available to you as a film maker setting out on a project. However, each project begins with a message or story that the film maker is attempting to communicate to an audience. You may be anything from an artist
trying to make a piece of film art to an employee of a company trying to promote the business of that company . The first step, therefore, is to identify why you are making the film and to whom you intend to show it. This should be always in mind
as you make decisions about your film project.


Today, with the Internet and smart phones, film makers can reach more people than ever before and in a greater variety of ways. It is a good idea, therefore, to shoot your film in a format that allows you to distribute it in any way you decide. We will
be looking at an omni-media  approach - shooting the audio and video of our film in a format that ensures it will work on any platform, whether online, in a cinema, on television or on a smartphone. This means that we’ll be shooting high definition
digital video with high quality digital audio. We’ll be editing our project on computers using non-linear editing  software.

Documentary or Drama

The first decision we have to make, then, is whether to shoot a documentary or a drama. There are different types of documentaries and dramas but, in general, a documentary is a real life story told by interviewing people and showing actual
events. Dramas are, generally, stories acted out by actors. They may be based on true events or they may be stories that come totally from the imagination of the writer. With a documentary, the film maker records people telling their story and
then takes all the material he or she has gathered and edits it into a film with an overall narrative. In drama, the film maker is working from a script so he or she knows what the overall story will be before the cameras roll on the first scene.

Documentaries are usually

1. Non fictional
2. Told by ordinary people who are involved in or knowledgeable about the story
3. Illustrated by images of actual events, scenes or people that are relevant to the story
4.Shaped mainly at the editing stage
5. Inexpensive, as they most often involve paying only for equipment and crew

Dramas are usually

1. Fictional
2. Played out by actors
3. Illustrated by contrived images, scenes and people
4. Shaped at the script writing stage
5. Expensive as they involve paying for actors, sets, costumes as well as equipment and crew

Remember - the important thing to keep in mind is the message you are trying to get across and the audience you are trying to get it to.

Ask yourself;

1. Are they an audience who want to hear real people talking of real life events? 
2. Are they an audience who will get the message better if it is hidden in a drama that will entertain them? 
3. Do I have the budget to make a drama that is good enough to entertain my audience?
4. Is the subject matter too sensitive for people to talk about in a documentary and, if so, could it be told by actors in a drama instead with the same result of getting the message across to my audience?

Each project is unique so it is up to the film maker to weigh up the options and make a decision. In this film course we will look at making a short drama. Most of the skills and information you learn for this will apply to documentary making also.
Interviewing subjects requires similar skills as those used when working with actors.

A phrase coined by the author, Declan Cassidy, to describe the use of ALL media possibilities rather
than just several media possibiliies as implied by the common phrase “multimedia”. 

non-linear editing:
When movies were shot on a rolls of film the movie would be edited by cutting the pieces of film that were
wanted and sticking them back together in a long line - hence the word “linear” - of film which was then rolled up again, ready to be played on a movie projector. With modern digital editing the movie is edited on a
computer. Pieces of film are represented as images on the computer screen and can be moved around in a very flexible, non-linear manner.

Written Assignment
1. Choose a filming project to undertake for this course.
2. Decide on whether you will make a drama or a documentary.
3. Write down what project you have chosen, what format you have decided upon and why you have reached those decisions.