Hello, Everyone, this is Wojtek from Warsaw, Poland.
I am planning to organise an expedition to Cameroon which will be an exploration and research undertaking. I would like to capture the expedition on camera but rather than creating yet another more or less boring (or, perhaps, more or less interesting) video footage that one shows to one's family and friends, I would like to make a "professional" recording that could be shown on some TV or Internet channels.
It is not my intention to create award-winning documentaries tackling serious social, political or humanitarian issues, neither do I aspire to ever shoot such films, especially given that my passions and interests lie elsewhere (i.e. I am interested in different areas of knowledge and emotions, mainly in travel, reserach, and discovery). What I do intend to create is an account of my trip, my relations, conversations and interactions with the locals when interviewing them in relation to my research (and also outside of such interviews), and a trip diary, and, of course - if the object of my quest and research is found indeed - of that object itself. However, I would like it to be as engaging to the potential audience as possible, so even though the subject matter may be less "serious" (but who knows?), and more of the adventure/entertainment type, I would still like it to be as "professional" as possible.
In that connection I have a few questions, and I am sure many more will come in time.
1) As I am a complete beginner, entirely unfamiliar with the topic, and as the expedition - if it does take off - is going to take place in about a year's time, would it be better to film myself, or to hire a filming crew? In both cases, what costs (and I do not just mean the money) would I need to take into account?
2) If, in a situation described above, it is indeed better to hire a film crew, how does one even begin going about it? Where to look for such people, who to contact, what do I need to consider (I am based in Poland, but I believe that certain processes and procedures are universal)?
3) In any case, where and how to look for financing such a project (I mean the filming and subsequent editing etc. rather than the expedition itself, although if I do apply for some grants, sposorships or donations, I may as well include in my submission the amount needed to pay the crew (or to hire the equipment))? How to start doing this? Are there any programs? Is there any listing?
4) I have heard from a number of sources that what is very important when producing a documentary is a carefully outlined plan, or script, before even beginning shooting. However, the environment I am intending to go to changes dynamically and the nature of the expedition is such that we may go to God knows what location, meet all sorts of people, and we won't know our interpreters, guides or porters until we actually arrive; we do not even know where exactly we will arrive (where the "base camp" will be) because that depends largely on information we will only collect at best a few weeks in advance, at worst on the spot. With such changing circumstances, with such dynamic and unpredictable scenario and unfurling of events, how is it possible to even sketch or draft any sensible script? I would very much like to find out your views upon this matter (I've heard from one traveller, who has also made some documentary which was aired on Polish TV, that he didn't bother too much with a script, and instead kept shooting, and shooting, and shooting, and then created the film by carefully editing a selection of thousands of shoots, can this be a solution?).
As I said, I may have some more questions possibly, but the above four are of the most immediate concern to me.
Would you be able to help me? Any assistance, advice, information, resources, contacts etc. will be greatly appreciated. Meanwhile, let me wish you every success and all the best in 2017.