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A documentary outline according to Nworgu (2010) and Owuamalam (2007) could be described as the presentation of the documentary story in a straight forward simple story format without the technical jargons, like light and camera movements. The scriptwriter presents the dramatic element of the story in a coherent manner and usually in present tense. Documentary outline brings out all the unity of the whole story and also the main points. However, documentary outline is not the final working script but the scriptwriter’s script containing the storyline. It is like a proposal, which tell us what the documentary is all about. It is a simple presentation made to potential producer or sponsor. After the presentation of this script or outline, the producer or director now prepares a script for the production.
Production script, on the other hand, should then have technical jargons like instructions for lighting and camera movements. The director’s or producer’s script contains conceptualization, visualization and pictorization of the ideas for either radio or television document production. This means that the director adds life or images to the ideas presented in the outline by the script writer.
The functions of the outline given by Nworgu (2010) are as follows:
Question that Guide the Development of the Documentary Outline
Kogah (1999) maintains that the first step in creating an outline is to write down the ideas of the programme in a list without giving any particular thought to order or arrangement. The list should then be guided by the following questions:
The responses to these questions will guide the writer in setting down the outline. For instance, a documentary “Exodus from Africa” on CNN, shows the inexplicable desperation of African youths, in passing through avoidable difficulties, simply because they desire and seek euphoria of “paradise” in the western world, which in real terms may not be the case. The documentary shows political instability, joblessness and a craven quest for affluence, as the factors that have contributed to the mass exodus of African youths from their countries. It shows the harrowing experience which the youths pass through to achieve their desires, which in most cases come with death, misery and penury in squalor and sordid living conditions. The illegal immigrants most times are repatriated from the countries, where they arrived illegally. The documentary sought to ask the youths in particular, whether the risk involved is worth the trouble (Owuamalam, 2007).
From this short outline of what the documentary “Exodus from African” is all about, you can ascertain whether the three guiding questions in the development of a documentary outline have been answered. There are certain patterns that are followed while developing an outline. The writer, according to Kogah (1999 :45) may discover that his/her material fits into one of the following patterns of organization of an outline:
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