Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is documentary?

I've been finishing up Documentary Storytelling. Reading the interviews. I will present another well-know creator this weekend.

I don't intend to make a feature non-fiction piece anytime soon. But, I think the importance of telling a story with an arc seems to be a common acceptace. I've read Robert McKee's Story and Bernard even mentions it in her book. I will have to reread sometime and understand the key message. I think it has something to do with starting a scene one way then ending it a totally different way. The use of acts and the aforementioned arc.

As I read Sheila Curran Bernard's book I marked passages. I'm going to revisit those marked and comment on them over the next little while. So here goes one... Bernard says, "At their best, documentaries should do more than help the viewer pass the time; they should think about what they know, how they know it, and what more they might want to learn." She also states that they should "confound our expectations"..."push[es] boundaries" and put us in worlds unknown.

I would agree. Just presenting an ordinary world won't engage anyone. However, as the videos of Morris has shown, there are extra-ordinary and yes absurd expectations found in ordinary people. You just have to let them ask the right questions and let them speak. From their as described in many interviews in Bernard's book, the videographer/director/whoever has to find the story and it appears if they look hard enough - it's there.

How do these concepts apply to shorter videos? Can a short 7-10 video have acts and arcs?

Ken burns interview... talking about the video and still photographs.

No comments: