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Documentary for the Small Screen by Paul Kriwaczek

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Section A

Building the Story

A view of the real world

The stories documentaries tell are different from other stories because they deal in a view taken of the real world. There are two principal means to this end. Some film-makers approach the task like a sculptor exploring a block of marble to find the sculpture hidden within. They shoot a great deal of material, usually over a long period of time, following many threads, and cultivating a sensitive instinct for knowing which thread to follow at any time. An hour-long story is then hewn out of perhaps fifty or sixty hours of shot material. Such filming can produce studies of great depth of detail and intimacy, perhaps the closest there is to representing the fine-grained texture of the real ...

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