With our documentary, we decided we wanted to break conventions and
make something that is stand out, and unique.
Our first step in creating this was looking at documentaries that students in
past years had created.
We looked at small, individual parts of each of them, and looked at how they
We then discussed and decided how we would do that part.
We tried to do it as different as possible, not sticking to the conventions, and
generally making ours as unique as possible.
The first thing we looked at was the voice over.
With every student documentary we looked at, we saw a common pattern.
The voice overs would:
Generally be very minimal – they would have parts to introduce the
documentary, state a few facts and then tell us what the next part of the
They would all contain common phrases – “we went to the Soilhull Sixth
Form College”, “we talked to _________, an expert in ______”, “in this
documentary, we are going to look at….”
We decided that our voice over wasn‟t just going to narrate the documentary
and tell the audience a few facts and figures, but to push along the narrative
of the documentary, provided back „story‟ on things we did, as well as being
used to light comedic effect. The voice over would tell the story.
A lot of the things we filmed for the documentary were very obscure. They
weren‟t just filler shots, panning shots etc. They were actually incredible
bizarre. For example, we have a shot of someone taking a photograph on
their phone of a packet of crisps; a shot of someone looking at their phone,
looking at the sky, then shrugging.
These shots would only make sense with the voice over providing a narrative
to the shots, similar to how a TV programme wouldn‟t make sense without the
actors voice‟s audible.
Furthermore, we decided to stay away from common, cliché phrases that
were stated on the previous slide. Instead of finding substitutes for these
phrases, we simply didn‟t say them at all. Watching many professional
documentaries, they rarely state this sort of information, especially
documentaries whose style we drew inspiration from.
One thing we noticed with many documentaries is that they have a set
structure, made up of set sections. The sections would perhaps be in a
slightly different order, but the timeline of the 5 minutes would generally all be
We decided to not follow these conventions. Yes, our documentary has a
structure. A clear structure. A structure which can be easily noticeable and
can draw similarities from the structure of these documentaries that we
The conventions that we are challenging is simply the way these are
One example is the presentation of information. As our documentary is about
smartphones, we decided to present figures on the screens of smartphones.
Instead of listing things smartphones are used for, we showed them (albeit,
mocking them at the same time). Instead of simply showing voxpops, we
provided the viewer with a quick glimpse of the voxpops before hand, as well
as using a unorthodox voxpop for comedic effect.
Style is something which is very important in any form of art. A personal and
unique style will make your work standout.
We noticed that the documentaries created by past students were very
professional, very formal, very minimalistic (but in a good way!). They get
right down into the important stuff.
We decided for our documentary to take a different approach. Instead of this
very professional, very formal approach, we wanted to create something
which is light-hearted, funny, satirical, and just all round friendly. We didn‟t
negate the important stuff though. That‟s still there – it‟s just disguised behind
the satiricalness and the lightheartedness.