As creatives it’s very easy for us to get lost in the excitement of an idea. We can, usually, see or hear clearly the idea that we have. Putting all those ideas together in an actionable plan? That’s the hard part.
Poetic Documentary Research
This past week I continued to prepare for this documentary by refining the rough idea I have. I had a meeting with my professor who suggested that I take the week and do some research on different poetic documentaries to learn more about their structure, purpose, and how to make a successful one.
So I had a little binge party!
I watched a few poetic documentaries, and a few with poetic elements that blended with other styles:
- Watchtower of Turkey
- Watchtower of Morocco
- We Belong Here
- The Tracks
- The Trail of Happiness
- Into The Woods
As I watched these listed films, and more that I didn’t list, I started to really notice the importance of rhythm. The Watchtower series had a lot of fast paced transitions that were broken up with slow motion or more relaxed views. Koyaanisqatsi, on the other hand, was more of a slow-burn that was well accompanied by Philip Glass’ minimalist score.
The indie-youtube poetic’s played around a lot with blending the poetic style with others, especially We Belong Here. That one was mostly participatory but would blend into poetic while the poets were sharing their poetry throughout the film.
In all films there was a strong rhythm in the edit. Rhythm for poetic style is what helps make it “poetic.” In spoken poetry it’s not just the message of the piece but the rhythm of the voice, the cadence of the performer, to help emphasize and bring meaning to the words.
In the poetic documentary there’s usually little narration. Some of the poetic films I watched, and what I’m planning for Are You Listening, add poetic narration to help guide the viewer. Apart from that, I noticed:
The best poetic documentaries I watched were able to balance these three to work together in telling a story.
So with a better understanding of the poetic style in mind it was time to begin creating a plan. I have a good idea of the types of visuals I need to capture, the storyline, and some key hit-points I want to create. But it’s still a very rough idea, just unconnected flashes of images and sound.
So to start, before I even began planning the full scenes I needed to film, I needed to learn more about the gear I was going to use.
- Sony FX3
- Godox light kit
- Edelkrone slider
- Atomos Ninja V
- DJI Mini 3 Drone
And along with that I needed to decide on file formats, codecs, and post production workflow so that when filming comes along I can get the technical nonsense out of the way as much as possible and focus on getting the look I want.
From here, this next week, I’ll be finalizing the story, planning a storyboard and shot list, and preparing for the first filming day on Saturday!