DFP: Production Personnel for the Documentary Film

This unit talks about Production Personnel for the Documentary Film and the problems encountered while doing the Documentary.

The production personnel refer to the people charged with the responsibilities of producing the film. Basically, two categories of artistic charge in the production process of every film. They are the technical (Below-theline) and non-technical (Above-the-line) artists or personnel. Non-technical or above the line personnel consists of those who create or enable the development of the plot as the basis for an artistic production. They are therefore conceptual artists. The artists in this category are the scriptwriter, the producer and the director. The director also belongs to the technical group, reasons for this willemerge as we give deailed explanation of the functions of each of these artists.

  • The Scriptwriter

The scriptwriter is the person who conceives the idea for the film production. The scriptwriter, guided by the objectives for the film production, writes the script that will guide the entire production process and gain the attention of his/her audiences.

  • The Producer

The producer is responsible for the business and financial aspects of the film. But in recent times, the producer is often responsible for the entire organization of the film including selecting the script, sourcing for fund for the production and choosing the director, crew and cast. From all indications, a producer is normally regarded as the owner of the production, be it feature, documentary or any other type of film production. He is responsible for everything about the production starting from day one to the final stage, (Kogah, 1999).

  • The director

The director as has been mentioned belongs to both technical and non-technical groups. As a non-technical artist, the director acts as a conceptual artist who creates movements in the production, assigns roles to performers and animates the script. As a technical artist, the director acts as the interpreter of the production idea, through plot and script interpretation.

  • In summary, the major functions of the above – the – line or non-technical artists include: production planning, performance supervision, production monitoring, product publicity and promotion as well as presentations (Owuamalam, 2007)
  • The technical crew members include the scenic designer, lighting and sound specialists, camera-men, make-up artists and wardrobe managers, talents and other production assistants. The scenic designer as the name implies is responsible for various scenes that will be used in the production while the job of the lighting and sound specialists is to provide appropriate equipment that will be used in the production like microphones, cameras and sound systems.
  • The camera – man liases with the light and sound specialist in the selection of cameras, and other gadgets that will help in the shooting of the film.
  • The job of the make-up artist and the wardrobe managers include making sure that the costumes of the talents depict the mood and characterization of the entire film. Talents refer to actors/actresses or the stars featured in the film. They are the ones who pass direct messages and covey the theme of the film to the audiences.

Problems Associated with Documentary Film Production.

The following are the problems experienced by the production personnel while executing the production of a documentary film. These problems, as captured by Nworgu (2010) pose as challengesthat may mar the entire production process if not handled effectively. They include:

  • Lighting Problems

In documentary shooting, especially for television, light is needed in the right proportion whether it is for outside studio shooting or for interior shooting. There is need to provide adequate lighting equipment. Power failure or irregular supply of electricity by government agency in charge of supply of electricity in Nigeria, should be anticipated. For this reason, provision should be made for a stand-by generator.

  • Personnel

Personnel in documentary as described in this unit under section 3.1 refer to the talents available for production. For every documentary production, the two categories of personnel are needed. Both below the-line and above-the-line artists are required for a successful shooting. Getting the right talent for a documentary has been a problem to many producers. Since documentary involves real life situations, it is necessary that real people are used in natural setting

  • Outside Services Problem

This problem may arise when the need to obtain certain services arises. There may be a need to obtain such services as editing, shooting, sound recording and track, projecting facilities etc

  • Costume

As a producer, there may be a need to obtain or design the necessary costume for the talents. Costumes are selected to match the mood or events or scenes involved in the documentary.

  • Library Materials

There are times when one may experience scarcity of books or tapes needed for the successful execution of the production. It is therefore advisable to include this when embarking on the pre-production research. The reference materials not found in this stage may be difficult to get at other times.

  • Shooting Schedule

This problem arises when the shooting script or outline is not made available before shooting is commenced. There may also be the problem of not acquiring appropriate shooting locations. Some actors/actresses may also come late to the locations of the shooting time-table is not strictly adhered to. There is therefore the need to make talents time conscious by giving them the shooting schedule on time and by adhering to the time-table.

Source:NATIONAL OPEN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA

ASSIGNMENT : Production Personnel for the Documentary Film Assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days

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