Create the Story Structure
Generally speaking, I start with a story structure, not a script. Almost always my midway film. I wrote the script on location every day I'd come in at night. I'd write a little down refining when I got back home. Work on it over time. Have maybe a writer come into a polish, something like that. But generally speaking, to start with story structure, I want these few elements. I wanna have an introduction, a body and a conclusion. What do those look like? The introduction is the complexity of the island in the life, the history and nature. The body of this piece is going to be how they're interwoven. And no matter what we think about it, whether we want to preserve history or focus on wildlife, there always going to be interwoven together. And so we need to be able to tell that story and make people realize that both are equally a special, and then the end could be your conclusion. So I usually start with a very simple three act structure. It can grow all the way up to five will show an...
example of this. But midway edge of tomorrow, this is This is my structure in a sentence or two. Right Midway Jaguars A documentary film explores the rich history of the island in the vibrant natural world that is ex there to themes natural world in history. I know when I go there, those are the two things I'm going after natural world in history. I've already begun outline my shoot. The balance of National War Memorial and National Wildlife Refuge makes a story complex and interwoven. How did the to me? So when you think about, like the new generation of flyers, the birds and then the people who flew during World War Two, that's how you interweave it. But at the time, I didn't know that till I got out there and start to see it. But I knew I wanted that complex, interwoven story. And then history and future represent the island, and he can co exist. That's our conclusion. Very simple. Same thing with Rob Krar. You have these runners. It's fast bubble. The entire project was about the Grand Canyon. That's why we were there. That's why our crew was contacted to go out and tell the story for the Sierra Club. But it wasn't just about the Grand Canyon. I wanted a human story, so we had to figure out who's the human wise, the story compelling. And why will people care? And so I articulated that right from the get go, the documentary you may only ever really have an outline and ideas of how you want to film something story itself may not begin to take shape. Do you get to the location to get meeting people in seeing it for yourself? It's a documentary. It's a journalistic approach, having outline be open to change. A lot of documentaries also have a shooting script in an act structure, and I'll show you my act structure in a second, Um, but if you weren't shooting a documentary and a scripted show that the structure completely changes for most nature photographers, documentary spaces most likely avenue, as I just said. So, generally speaking, you know, act structures really do vary. I might have 1/5. Um, I may have something that's actually I may actually break out. Uh, this toe have a something here in the beginning. That's an introduction. A very brief introduction, maybe, is like a 32nd introduction and a 32nd wrap up or conclusion and then actually have well developed acts in the middle. It is is something that can fluctuate. I mean, generally my act structure. This is typically what I would follow for a larger show for something smaller. It probably like 2.5 minutes. I wouldn't go beyond three. I would probably spend 30 seconds introducing it. I spend the bulk of the piece actually digging into the topic. And I'd spend a little bit of time on the way out wrapping things up. Excuse me. Wrapping things up. So this is the structure that I built on this. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on it, but this is the next step for me is building out the act structure. And then this also starts to inform the shoot right in depth history. Okay, so we've got a historical component. We know we want to do some interviews. We can start planning that building a schedule turning point of war. We want the Japanese perspective. All I knew was I wanted the Japanese perspective on World War Two. I didn't know I was gonna get there. And ultimately, the way I got there was. There were some remnants and there was ah ah, War Memorial on the island that was incorporated throughout and talked about that. And then we weren't able to actually interview any people who were still there from Japan. But I was able to ask the other veterans about the Japanese perspective and get that make that part of it. But I had to begin here. I knew this was something I wanted, so I just banked it. Didn't get it to near the end of the shoot. 18 months later, 16 months later. Transition. How do you show that transition? How do you show the future? So building these acts really sets me up for figuring things out.