Documentary Storytelling

So I am reading a book called Documentary Storytelling by Sheila Curran Bernard.

It is really a great and easy read – haven’t finished the book, but I am enjoying it so far.

I know this might not be a ground-breaking statement… but I am really drawing a lot of connections between storytelling/creative writing in general and good documentary film-making, flow, and cinematography.

I personally haven’t heard an association between the two, but I bet a good novelist would also make a good film-maker.

Interesting though – the novelist has no images to rely on – his art is words.  He relies on the imagination of his readers to craft together the pictures in their mind based on their own experiences, biases, and perceptions.  Meanwhile the film-maker’s art is images.  The viewer follows along and creates the words and connections in his head from an usually incomplete storyline, based on the information and images that the film-maker has chosen to show and the manner in which she/he frames them.

But they are largely interchangeable.  A novel may be fiction, but even if a documentary is based on a true event it must make a story out of this event.

I certainly believe in the power of classic stories and storylines – the building up of suspense, a problem to be solved, a heroin in the making, the underdog rising to the top, the jilted love story, all complemented by strong, developed characters.

But I am becoming increasingly curious to experiment with non-traditional storylines… the possibilities are entirely endless.

Published by Allison M.

Technical and Scientific Writer, Editor, and Translator

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