I just wanted to mention that I’ve found two excellent books on film narrative: Directing the Documentary by Michael Rabiger and Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of screenwriting by Robert McKee. Both books contains lots of insights and both combine the rigors of academic analysis with the practical knowledge of people who have worked in the industry. Also, I’m creating a new category for my documentary vid (Here’s also some practical links on filmmaking which I’ve been gathering). Here’s Rabiger on fiction vs. documentary filmmaking:
Getting the reader to notice a fragile and transient moment of significance is easily accomplished by a writer but is much harder to accomplish in documentary unless you are willing to use narration. This drives documentarians to play safe by resorting to sensational subjects. War, family violence, urban problems, eccentrics, deviants, demonstrations, revolts, and confrontations all promise something heightened. Less often do documentaries penetrate the heart of their subjects with the ease and precision we find regularly in literature. For the true feel of small-town life or for the authentic claustrophobia of a middle-class family, we look instinctively to fiction, not the documentary. This is not inevitable, but the documentarian wishing to buck the trend faces many difficulties, not least of which is raising money to budget a film about subjects considered minor.