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Documentary Storytelling, 2nd Edition by Sheila Curran Bernard

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11

Outlines, Treatments, and Scripts

The role of outlines, treatments, and even scripts in documentary storytelling varies from project to project, but their basic purpose is the same. They’re to help you and others see, on paper, the film as you imagine it at various points in production—while you’re raising funds, before you shoot, before or during your edit. Taking the time to express yourself coherently in print, thinking through what you’re doing, how you’re doing it, and why, can save you a lot of time, effort, and money.

There is no single way to work. The level of detail in these documents depends, to a large degree, on your schedule, budget, and reasons for writing them. For some filmmakers, it’s necessary to write out the story (usually ...

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