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Chapter Three. Editing Patterns > Documentary Patterns

Documentary Patterns

While most documentaries follow the basic rules of narrative editing, including cause and effect, chronological passage of time, and other familiar storytelling strategies, some of the editing patterns and techniques you'll see in documentaries differ quite a bit from those used in narrative or dramatic films.

For one thing, while most film projects begin with a script, often the “script” for a documentary is created after some (or all) of the footage is shot. Sometimes that script creation comes out of a collaboration between the editor and the director. To build the script, the two of you will need to sit down and go through the footage together before you start editing. Otherwise you may waste your time venturing down some path that is ultimately not going to be part of the film.


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