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Documentary Conventions

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by

Lee Crabtree

on 23 June 2011

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Transcript of Documentary Conventions

Documentary Conventions Subject Ideas for the subject of documentaries can come from everywhere. As long as the topic is interesting enough, it doesn’t matter if the issues range from significant political debates to humorous individual observations. To interest the audience the subject you chose needs to be approached in an original and intriguing way to be a success. Premise The key is to think small. Instead of trying to cover an issue in its entirety, try and focus on an intriguing / original specific aspect that will feed into the bigger idea. Darlington Nightlife Observe the perspective of a particular bar Teenagers and Fast Food Life of a kebab Breaking into the music scene Setting up a band experiment Cyber Bullying Fake account trap Exposition This normally can be condensed to single sentence that sets out the documentary maker’s main line of argument. By the resolution of the documentary, this exposition will be fully realised by the audience. The exposition can sometimes change after the production process, due to new evidence or ideas being discovered during research, filming and editing. Narrative Documentaries like films usually follow a standard three phase narrative structure. Beginning, middle and end. Beginning Orientate the audience Introduction to the central question Dramatic footage / conflicting view points Middle Compelling conflicts Examines the issue utilising the opinions of the people Complications that may challenge the exposition End Exposition reaffirmed Actions and solutions suggested to the audience Audio Conventions Voice Over Narration Helps guide the audience through the narrative Used to expand on the ideas presented on the action and visuals Supports the progression of the exposition Interviews Framed to either side Looking just off camera Interviewer normally edited out Suitable location and backdrop Vox Pops Sounds bites of audiences response to a set question Sequence of short, snappy answers Recorded in mass with only the best responses being selected Visual Conventions Cutaways Break up interviews and action Help reinforce meanings and ideas Animated Graphics Provide additional information, statistics, and emphases problems Archive Footage Provide historical evidence, substitution for unobtainable footage
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