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Documentary Rough Cut
I have just finished a rough cut of my documentary "Caught in the Crossfire". The film examines the impact 50 years of cultural change has had on the church. Below is the link. The password is church (all lower case). I would appreciate any critiques. Please do not share the link outside this forum as it is a work in progress.asswo
I watched your piece from beginning to end and, as a Christian, I found that you presented some thought-provoking material.
Here's what I came away with:
This film lacks a logical flow. As I viewed it, I was never sure of the overall goal, the direction it was trying to take me or the individual points you were trying to make. I didn't always understand why the elements appeared when and where they did and what you wanted me to get from them.
Try outlining, scripting and/or storyboarding this project. What do you ultimately want the viewer to understand? What points will the viewer need to know and understand along the way in order to reach your goal? What order of presentation will work best? What parts of interviews and other elements do you have that support each point? How can you use voiceovers to bridge gaps between the elements and to help the audience stay focused?
Edit your piece to be as concise as possible. Soundbites and voiceovers need to stay on topic and make one point at a time.
Be sure that what we're hearing matches what we're seeing. If you use b-roll, use it effectively. It should show something that pertains to what is being said in a compelling way and during the time it is being said. Don't get into it too late or bail out in the middle of a thought. This pertains to graphics as well. Be sure text matches the voiceover. It is nearly impossible to read one message, hear another and comprehend them both.
It is great to be creative and artistic as long as it works and helps the audience get what you have to say. In your open, I would suggest finding another way to have your interview interact with the sunrise footage that allows you to see both clearly. Secondly, via a soundbite or visually, convey the context (dawning of a new day) right away so that the audience can grasp what follows. I would also suggest reversing the process you used off the top by coming right up full on the sunrise, waiting a beat then starting the sound bite audio, then revealing and visually identifying the speaker.
You have some great information and the makings of something beneficial to churches and their leadership. If you implement these suggestions, I think you'll find that you'll be able to effectively take the audience where you want them to go.
I also salute you for having the bravery and humility to submit your project to public scrutiny. It's a bit like asking others if your baby is cute.
Thank you so much for your input. What is interesting to me is some pick up on the logical flow, but some do not. At this point I am not sure why. I meant it to be very simple, but haven't succeeded in that regard.
It is a story within a story. A local church experiences the traditional attractional model of ministry doesn't work today as it did in the 50's. The cultural changes in society have moved from church friendly to church indifferent. The congregation realizes it must move from a strategy of attraction where we try to get people to come in to hear the word to one where we take the word to them. Rather than the worship service being the center of proclaiming the gospel, Missional communities live out the gospel, while blessing their cities.
I maybe wrong, but i believe that thread runs through the doc, but perhaps it is too implicit and needs to be more explicit. Some really get it and some don't. I need to spend time thinking about why that is.
Now you're talking!
I think, in your response, you've hit upon the real central idea for this film. Rather than the "impact of 50 years of cultural change," you've boiled it down to "The congregation realizes it must move from a strategy of attraction where we try to get people to come in to hear the word to one where we take the word to them."
State that clearly near the top of the piece and you've caught MY interest. THEN, tell me how the congregation came to that conclusion and what they did to implement their new plan. A nice caveat would be to hear in a paragraph or two what it took for a congregation member to commit to and carry out this idea on a personal level. The cherry on top would be to hear from folks who have been positively impacted in the community because of this new approach.
Concentrate on these points and you won't need the rest of it and you'll maintain interest throughout.
In other words, you have plenty of good material so, by rearranging it, cutting the fat (example: no need to spend much time explaining the past) and perhaps adding a bit more in the area of "results", you get your point across nicely.
I hope I'm not being too hard on you. I do have quite a bit of experience in the area of feature reporting in a commercial news environment so my intent is to help rather than criticize.