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Transcript of Documentary
A film that attempts to portray material without emphasizing or expressing things as perceived without distortion of personal feelings, insertion of fictional matter, or interpretation
Techniques Employed by Documentaries:
-- voice over
-- face to face interviews, camera and interview visible
-- camera hidden, interviewer hidden, asking questions
-- choice of interviewee (credentials, applicability to the subject, bias...)
-- graphics (charts, diagrams)
-- camera angles (panning out, close ups, long shots, medium shots, extreme close ups)
-- juxtaposing shots
-- archival footage (video, photographs, primary source material)
Deconstructing a Documentary
What is the subject of the documentary?
What is the purpose of the documentary?
Does it argue for a specific position?
Does it critique something or someone?
Who is the intended audience?
What message/kind of impact does it hope to achieve with its intended audience?
Does the film make specific choices about what material is to be included in the film? If so...
What did the filmmakers INCLUDE?
Were certain things emphasized?
What did the filmmakers EXCLUDE?
Were certain things de-emphasized?
Think about the footage of interviews/dialogue.
Does the documentary use SPONTANEOUS interviews?
What would be the purpose of using spontaneous footage?
Does the documentary use DIRECTLY SOLICITED interviews/commentary made by witnesses, experts, and other participants?
What kinds of experts/witness/participants were used? (Think age, occupation, credibility etc.)
How do the filmmakers USE the participants to get the film's message across? Why would the filmmakers use such people?
What would be the purpose of using directly solicited interviews?
Do you think the filmmakers ever staged a scene that was recorded? If so, which one(s)? To what purpose?
Does the documentary use any kinds of illustrative material (such as animation or still photographs, or dramatic re-constructions, or re-enactments) to get the point across? If so, which ones, and to what effect?
Does the filmmaker accompany any interviews/images/clips with specific background music for a specific effect? How and to what effect is it used?
How would you evaluate the overall effectiveness of this documentary film? Why?