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Sheila Curran Bernard

Articles by Sheila Curran Bernard

Collaborating on Documentaries

Our reader David Moepeng (from Botswana, Africa) asks: I am an upcoming documentary producer - currently working on a history documentary. [I've] identified someone very good [who] has knowledge of the issue I am covering to help write the script. We have agreed to work together and he is demanding a percentage of the rights to [the] proceeds of the documentary. I n... (read more)

4 Ways Documentary Filmmaking Can Capture Real-Life Drama

Documentary filmmakers, no less than dramatic screenwriters, strive to tell strong, often character-driven stories that have a beginning, middle and end, with something at stake, rising tension, and a narrative arc that keeps viewers actively engaged. Unlike dramatists, however, nonfiction filmmakers can't invent characters and plot points, but must instead find the... (read more)

Creative License vs. Creative Arrangement

A teacher of screenwriting emailed me recently because he'd been asked to write a documentary. He didn't know where to start, and was trying to locate some completed scripts to study. While these might prove useful, I knew they wouldn't adequately convey the work ahead, or reveal important differences in the scripting process. How does one write a documentary?

... (read more)