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Documentary for the Small Screen by Paul Kriwaczek

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Chapter 14

Research

Research is the foundation for all non-fiction film-making. The word sounds serious, scientific, impressive even, though possibly a little dull. It has strong academic associations. But research for a television documentary is no academic exercise; it is practical, sometimes exciting and often fun. For many film-makers the research is the most enjoyable stage of the documentary production exercise—the time for finding things out.

To do so, the researcher brings to bear on the problems an armoury of techniques many of which are more closely related to the world of the private detective than to that of the university library. In some ways research is easier than detective work. Informants are usually far more willing to give ...

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