David MacDougall
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The percentage of disaster
in The art of the observer
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Most documentary films must be approached with careful planning, since the potential for disaster is very great. The challenge is therefore to keep the percentage of disaster to a minimum. In some ways this approach is a salvage process, for a film is ultimately the outcome of what one hoped to do, what one discovered along the way and what one was actually able to film. Typically there are two main sorts of disaster. The first results from a failure of intelligence or bad luck and the unpredictability of events. The second results from breakdowns in filming technology, perhaps the most vulnerable point in the filmmaking process. With the detachment of hindsight, the author describes the various filmmaking disasters he has experienced and, as an encouragement to others in similar circumstances, how they were overcome.

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The art of the observer

A personal view of documentary

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