Understanding Documentary Film GenreAims and ObjectivesTo understand the Genre of DocumentaryTo recognise Documentary Film Making TechniquesTo apply understanding to London OlympicDocumentary 2012
What is Documentary? Based on your own experience of Documentary Film, how can we begin to define the genre? What do these images suggest about the power of Documentary Film?
Examples of DocumentariesBowling For Columbine (Oscar winner, 2003)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vq3Y1SdvUQQSicko (Oscar nominated, 2007)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BJyyyRYbSk ?Fahrenheit 9/11(Palme DOr, 2004)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zf2nCiBJLoThe Cove (Sundance Winner 2009)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KRD8e20fBoThe Bengali Detective (Sundance and Berlin competitions, 2011)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9VBrVNCUhAMan on Wirehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EIawNRm9NWMWeird Weekends - Demolition Derbyhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf35-ChvUBABiggie and Tupac Independent Research:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFHXjUMwmgk Directors Michael Moore, Nick Broomfield, Louis Theroux, Mark Thomas, Jon Pliger, Films Kathy Come Home Panorama Legalisaiton of Drugs LSD live on camera Living in the 70s Jamie Oliver Jamies School Diners
Different Types of Documentary Here are two types of Documentary. There are more but this is what we are working around.1. EXPOSITORY documentaries speak directly to the viewer, often in the form of an authoritative commentaryemploying voiceover or titles, proposing a strong argument and point of view. These films are rhetorical, and try topersuade the viewer. The (voice-of-God) commentary often sounds ‘objective’ and omniscient. Images are often notparamount; they exist to advance the argument. Historical documentaries in this mode deliver an unproblematicand ‘objective’ account and interpretation of past events.Examples: TV shows and films like A&E Biography; America’s Most Wanted; many science and naturedocumentaries; Ken Burns’ The Civil War (1990); Robert Hughes’ The Shock of the New (1980); John Berger’s WaysOf Seeing (1974). Also, Frank Capra’s wartime Why We Fight series; Pare Lorentz’s The Plow That Broke The Plains(1936). What examples would you add from your own experience? Has there been a time where youropinion has been changed?2. PARTICIPATORY documentaries believe that it is impossible for the act of filmmaking to not influence or alterthe events being filmed. What these films do is emulate the approach of the anthropologist: participant-observation.Not only is the filmmaker part of the film, we also get a sense of how situations in the film are affected or altered byher presenceExamples: Vertov’s The Man with a Movie Camera (1929); Rouch and Morin’s Chronicle of a Summer (1960); RossMcElwee’s Sherman’s March (1985); Nick Broomfield’s films. I suspect Michael Moore’s films would also belong here,although they have a strong ‘expository’ bent as well.What examples would you add from your ownexperience? Has there been a time when your opinion has changed?
Planning for Documentary Film MakingAims and ObjectivesTo consider issues around Olympics and how to communicate ideas to raise awarenessTo use a plan to structure arguments around issues using a wide range of sourcesTo develop key technical skills with imovie, editing for Documentary Film and learn how themedia shape opinion C Successful Outcomes H A Consideration the impact of the Olympics and some issues surrounding it N G Creation of working script through collaboration E Understanding of how to plan for Documentary O Evidence of understanding the three rules for Documentary making N E Expression of an opinion surrounding issues in debate or Documentary T Completion of Voiceover in Olympic Doc H I Creation of Storyboards N G Presentation of ideas through treatment
Breakdown of the Documentary Four Part StructureHere is a simple breakdown of the beat sheet of a Documentary Film. What Films have youseen that you could apply this structure to? Act 1: I feel passionate about it TODAYS TASK Act 2: Why Shoud I Care: Connect what you care about with what I care about Act 3: Whats the solution: What can you argue that you can do about it? Course of action that can solve the problem. MAXIMUM EFFORT IN SHOWING PEOPLE THE SOLUTION WOULD WORK Act 4: What would change, think about objections and how you can tackle it. Try to convert or show someone who would object the most that your solution is right.
Change One Thing: BriefOne thing I want to change about my brotherOne thing I want to change about myselfOne thing I want to change about the school rulesOne thing I want to change about life in IslingtonOne thing I want to change about whats on tvOne thing I want to change about our society, the world, the universe…
Rules for Constructing an Argument Through Documentary FilmHere are some important guidelines from Neil Crombie of Seneca Productions when planningfor Documentary. Use these when constructing your own arguments to change peoplesopinionRule 1:Competing with other media, dont assume the audience are interested. How are yougoing to engage them? Got to persuade people it is something they should care about?Chat them up! How are they going to be interested in you?What is meant by other media? And why is this important to understand?Rule 2:Think about what they are thinking, try to think how people will anticipate how they willrespond to what you are saying. What objections might they have, what ground work doyou need to do.Rule 3:Be passionate about what you are exploring, have an interest. Persuade other people itsworth getting involved.What techniques have we seen today that help persuading other people something isworth getting involved?
Different Ways of Creating Arguments and Changing Opinion Documentary TechniquesDocumentary Techniques (not exhaustive):Social experiments PARTICIPATORYInterviewsReconstructionArchive footageNarrationSatireObservational filming EXPOSITORYThinking outside the box... What technique suits the kind of documentary best?