Documentary Script Writing

Documentary scripts have been questionable for tangibility. How do you create a script for something that was unscripted? How do you create a formal documentary script? Are there any examples of doc scripts and if so where the heck are they? Researching documentary scripts has been a mythical journey and realizing there really is close to nothing, no help, and ultimately decided that this search was mind-boggling. Why? Script writing is for a special kind of talented people – and apparently script writing for documentaries is even more of a rare talent to find. Screenwriters need to figure out and organize the events, interviews, research, voiceovers and etc. to carry the story along as it’s presented. This kind of structure is a difficult thing to accomplish. But, we are very thankful to a select amount of sites for documentary script writing notes that are shared and presented to you here..

1. “You must work backwards.”

NY Film Academy – How to Write a Doc Script


2. “Constantly changing technology offers [filmmakers] limitless possibilities in developing media-based presentations for the documentary category.”

The Documentary


3. “In real life, experiences become meaningful with reflection in time. In reel life, they are meaningful the moment they happen. A well-written film script is an instrument through which you can create emotion and epiphany at will.”

How to Write a Doc Script – Monograph


4. “Even if you don’t know what your interviewees will say or what footage you might shoot, writing a script predicting what you want your final film to look like is a great way to stay organized.”

Documentary Video Production – Library


5. “This template for writing a 2-column documentary film/video script comes with sample exercises so you can practice before using the template by itself.” Note: this is from 1989, but still has some great tips!

Chicagomediaworks Doc Script Template


6. “Depending on the subject and the style of the filming, a script for a documentary or non-fiction film may take a number of forms and be of varying degrees of detail.”

JR Martin Media  Doc Script Writing


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If you have notes, tips, reviews, or interested in speaking for a class/seminar about how to write documentary scripts, please email us at