Posts tagged documentary campus

Doc. Campus Masterschool | Sheffield | Day #2: Trailers

Today we learned the art of fundraising trailers from the Documentary Doctor, Fernanda Rossi

The energy with which she delivered her lecture was infectious and with her son, Milo, as her willing assistant the day was enjoyable and incredibly productive.

She provided us with the practical tools to breaking down and rebuilding trailers, with the basics of the “Opening”, “Middle" and "End”, namely the “Cliffhanger”.

Whether topic driven or character driven, you should open with something that hits the gut of your audience; make them laugh or make them gasp. 

Then, show the audience some scenes from your story…show them, succinctly, the depth of the character or topic.

Then finish with the all important cliffhanger…leave them wanting more!!

The trailer should work in unity with the written proposal and the verbal pitch.  These three elements, the TRAILER, TREATMENT, and PITCH are the Holy Trinity that should always compliment each other.

To get ALL the tips on the how to make a successful fundraising trailer, then look no further than Fernanda’s book, Trailer Mechanics: How To Make Your Documentary Fundraising Trailer.

Documentary Campus Masterschool:  Day 5

How to: Write Treatments

How to: Titles, Tag-lines and the Elevator Pitch

with Mark Atkin

Following last night’s tour of Bovarian drinking culture today’s Masterclass started an hour later than usual.  There were some sleepy eyes and lots of water being consumed as Mark presented the importance of multi-platform content.

One of the many and really fun examples he showed was Italy, Love it or Leave it, which is also a Documentary Campus alumni project. 

With television becoming much more of an ambient medium these days it’s super important that we all think about the 2 screen format:  having something that your audience can engage with on their computers / laptops / tablets / mobile phones while they are watching your content on television.

The weather today has been beautiful and so for lunch we were taken to a Bavarian restaurant where we sat in the sunshine and enjoyed the beauty of the Bavarian scenery.  I stuck to my roots and ordered roast beef with roast potatoes.  You can take the girl out of Nottingham…

Feeling refreshed we went back to the class and were taught the principles of good treatment writing.  This is such an important part of the development process and something that can be really difficult to get right.  Open the treatment with what the film is about and then continue to convey what the film is really about and be sure to include your stylistic vision. Two pages seems to be the optimum length.

Our brains were tested right through to the very end as we were asked to pitch other people’s projects in the style of the “elevator pitch”.  This is just as important as the treatment, if not more so, as this is what you need to convince commissioning editors to meet with you again.

This has been such an incredible experience and everyone’s projects have progressed exponentially in just five days. 

Munich has been good to us.  With the next campus taking place in Sheffield in June it’s the turn of us Brits to host our European friends.