Monday, 2 February 2015

Documentary Research

A documentary is a broad term to describe something non-fiction, that in some way documents reality. This is expanding constantly and the topics that people can create documentaries on in only limited by their imagination. There are hundreds of documentaries being created every year, both at a professional level and amateur, showing how easy it is to make one. The reasoning behind creating documentaries varies from film maker to film maker, sometimes they could feel a certain story is not being covered by the media effectively enough, so they decide to do it themselves to try and get the image across. This is seen in the documentary 'The Act of Killing' Alternatively, a film maker could want to create a documentary about a personal experience, an example of this is 'Touching the Void', a documentary about the events of someones life.

An example of a more well known documentary film maker is David Attenborough, his main works being:
  • Natural History
  • National Wildlife
  • The Genius of Britain
  • Natural World
He captures all of the small details about each of his subjects as he's passionate about what he does and thats creating documentaries for viewers that want to learn more about certain topics. It is clear that he focuses on mainly the nature side of the world, with a huge amount of documentaries on varied topics within nature.

This is an example David Attenborough filming in the Amazon Rainforest for one of his series'. 

Another example of documentary film maker is Louis Theroux, different from Attenborough in a way that he is more comedic, and offers a much more controversial look at it. Examples of topics he takes on are:
  • American Subcultures
  • British Celebrities Life
  • Criminal Gangs (Neo - Nazis in America and ultra-Zionists in Israel)

Here is an example of him in the process of filming L.A Stories documentary.

Michael Moore is one of the most controversial and popular documentary filmmaker today, he has numerous topics that he has discussed, his most successful one being fahrenheit 9/11, a documentary on the 9/11 terrorist strike, and its links with George W Bush. It has received numerous awards and is the top grossing documentary of all time. Some other of his works include:

  • Bowling for Columbine
  • Slacker Uprising
  • Sicko

This is Michael Moore in the process of filming his huge hit "Bowling for Columbine"

Documentaries always vary in terms of the effect they have on society, it always depends on the content of which is being broadcasted, in some cases it brings out conspiracies to do with huge organisations, which naturally would have a very negative impact on society. However things that are going to inform the audience, like David Attenborough's documentaries, then the outcome is in fact very positive, and actually makes people have an interest in that subject, rather than to dislike the subject. It always varies and depends on who is making the documentary, and what it is about in general.

When looking at this research it is clear that our documentary should be a true to life representation of what were trying to convey. From looking at numerous different styles and themes of documentaries it is clear that they all appear to be using real life footage, rather than set ups, although you can never tell what is truly real and what isn't. So within my documentary I will ensure that I won't be directing the two subjects as if it were a film, instead I will be telling them what they're doing and leave them to it. Lots of documentaries I have done research on are actually rather controversial, examples being almost all of Michael Moore's and Louis Theroux works, my idea doesn't have much of a controversial theme, so I will stay away from making comments that could possibly come across slanderous towards the two academies. When looking at David Attenborough's documentaries it is obvious that he relies heavily on voice overs to present his information to the audience, I feel that this will be a much better suited way of portraying the information we want to tell the audience, rather than having me on screen talking about what is happening.

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