We were required to create a documentary of our choice.
We learnt the different types of documentaries such as
Expository and Observational.
We also watched previous documentaries to understand
why each of these are different.
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and
conventions of real media products?
I decided to make my documentary about an inspirational
character named Levi and about the how he has changed
his life around from bad to good.
I decided to use observational for my documentary because
I wanted to observe Levi’s life. I didn’t use expository
because I wasn’t trying to get an argument across.
Using forms and conventions
There are quite a few features for observational
documentaries such as fly on the wall, portable
cameras and interviews. I did not use fly on the wall in
this section however if I was creating the full
documentary I would have. I used portable cameras
because it allowed me to follow Levi around and
observe him. Again I used interviews in my
documentary because it allowed Levi to get his story
across, as well as Denise (his youth worker)
Developing forms and conventions
Developing forms and conventions is when you take something which is usually found
in documentaries and develop it further. My aim was to make my documentary
I used picture montages in the documentary with Levi speaking over it so that it
showed emotion in the audience. I think that by doing this is created a really good
effect. I also think that that it was a good way to make the audience feel closer to
I created the documentary based on the truth so that it was believable. However I
didn’t really develop anything else in the documentary and kept it like what you would
see in a normal observational documentary.
Challenging forms and conventions
One convention I challenged in my documentary was add
interview into it. I did this so that the audience could get an idea
of Levi’s background from him and also someone else. I think
that this was a good idea because my aim was to make my
documentary believable and by doing this the audience would
believe that it is the truth.
I didn’t challenge any other conventions because I wanted it to
be an accurate representation of the truth and so I used mainly
observational documentary conventions.
‘Everybody who makes film is putting their own truth on the screen’
I wanted this documentary to be the actual truth and not my side of the truth.
I decided to use observational for
my documentary because I wanted
to observe Levi’s life. I didn’t use
expository because I wasn’t trying
to get an argument across.
How did you use media technologies in the construction and research, planning and
I got an interview with Levi himself to give the audience his story. I then
decided that I would get an interview with someone who has known Levi for a
long time to get there thoughts on how his life was and how it is now.
I used some archive footage from prom to show past moments in Levi’s life.
I recorded Levi to use as a voice over so I could put it over the footage which
had no talking.
I used a camera to take photos of Levi. Aswell as taking new photos, I also
used photos which Levi already had from when he was younger.
I used Garage band to create the music for the documentary. I used iMovie to edit all of
the footage for the documentary and to add the music into it, and I used iDVD to create
the actual DVD.
My first step I took when I started to make the documentary was filming the footage.
The reason why I started with this is because it was the main part which I needed. I then
put the footage into iMovie and started to crop and edit the footage. After I had edited it
so that the footage ran through smoothly, I went on to Garageband to create music
which would be suitable for it. Then I added the music into iMovie and lined it up to
where I wanted it to be. I added transitions at the end of every clip so it separated each
clip from each other. Once I had finished creating the documentary, I exported it to iDVD,
created a suitable menu and then burned it onto a disc.
In my foundation portfolio, we had to create a film based on a thriller.
However in A2, we had to make a documentary. The reason why this is
different is because a thriller is a story which you can make up whereas a
documentary is meant to be based on real life events.
In my foundation portfolio, I used all new footage, I didn’t use audio
recording and I had to do less editing as we filmed it in quite big sections.
However when I was creating the documentary, I used both archive footage
and original footage, I used audio recording and I had to do more editing
because I created it with more sections.
How effective is the combination of your main product and ancillary texts?
I created a newspaper advert and a radio advert to promote Leave I
Alone. Before I created this I researched which channel I wanted the
documentary to be shown on and what a average advert would look
like on it. After I done this I started to create the advert using
Microsoft publisher. I created a first and second draft and then
created the final design. The aim of the advert was to give the
audience an idea about what the documentary is going to be about.
I created the radio advert using Garageband.
The radio advert links back to the documentary because I have used
actual voice recording from the documentary.
I think that the newspaper advert is quite effective because lots of
people actually read the newspaper. This will mean that when they
open it, they will actually see the advert in it. I think that it links back
to the documentary because it gives a brief idea of what it is going to
I used prison bars and handcuffs on the bad side to
give the intention that he could of ended up in
I used a photo which I found on Google to
put in the middle of the page. This was so
that when I added the good and bad, it
looks like its focusing around him
In this draft, I decided to put good
and bad on each side and add
objects which symbolises each
one. In my final draft I took this
I used the scales
of justice on the
good side to
show how he has
changed his life
I changed the whole layout
of the advert by adding a
transparent box down the
I took more high quality photos using a
camera. I think that it gave it a better look as
in the first draft, it was pixilated.
I kept the BBC
logo and the
time and day in
the bottom right
because I think it
is out of the way
I added a tagline into the
advert so that people has
a brief idea on what its
going to be about.
I kept the scales of justice in the advert
because I think that them alone gives
the audience the idea that he has
changed: I think it links in with the
I set out to create a short radio advert based on the
documentary. I had to include the day it was on and what
To create the radio avert I used Garageband. I created new
voice recordings and also used voice from the documentary.
I think that it was quite successful because it gives enough
information to tell you what it is about. It was also backed up
by footage from the documentary.
What have you learned from your audience feedback?
I showed my newspaper advert to five
different people to find out what they
thought about it. Four of these liked it
and one didn’t. I think that by asking
other people what they would improve, it
gave me the chance to actually change the
advert so it reached the expectations of
the five people.
I did a screening of my documentary to a
few people and they all said that they
really enjoyed it and it made them want to
watch the rest of the documentary. Some
of the people said that there were a few
to many photos at the end but the
documentary itself gave them enough
information about Levi.
The first quote which I decided related to my documentary was Bill Nichols ‘Each
change in documentary style and format has produced claims of a closer contact
of the truth’ The reason I think this quote links to mine is because I based mine
on a observational documentary rather than an expository documentary and i
think that i picked the right format to show the truth. I also think that i showed
the truth was the interviews I used. I had Levi’s story from him and then got
someone else to give their story on him. Observational documentaries get a
‘closer contact’ to the truth because you are filming as it actually happens.
The second quote I thought related to mine was Diana Tammes ‘Everybody who
makes film is putting their own truth on the screen’ Again i think this relates to
mine because everything I have put in my documentary is the truth and it is
backed up with the interviews. I also think that my documentary shows the
truth through the use of images and archive footage. These show the truth
because all of these are from the past. ‘Their own truth’ refers to the fact that
the filmmaker decides what to include. Some people may think that Levi is still a
bad person but I chose to only show the good bits about him.
The third quote I decided on was another from Bill Nichols. ‘There is a sense of
commitment or engagement with the immediate, intimate, and personal as it
occurs. This also affirms a sense of fidelity to what occurs that can pass on
events to use as if they have simply happened.’ I think that this is a good quote
to use because of the key words featured in it. One of the key words is
immediate. I think this relates to my documentary because all the footage that I
filmed was done straight away. Another key word used in the quote was
personal. I think this links to mine as I believe the documentary is quite personal
to Levi and goes into deep detail about his life.
I think that my documentary is successful. I think that I added
all of the right information to give the audience a idea of
what Levi use to be like and how he is now. I also think that
the audience would find it quite interesting.
I am happy with the documentary. I believe that I have
created a documentary which many people would like to see.
I have achieved what I set out to do because I wanted to tell
Levi’s story and my opening section manages to do that in an
engaging and entertaining way.