Documentary Production Modality, Story, Identity.

[Updated Feb 2017] — For those intending to transcribe and conduct a paper edit of dialogues as part of their post process, see the section — interviews or narratives; page 8 of — Hodson, R. (1999). Analyzing documentary accounts. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications | describes a type of tacit knowledge discovery method popular with analysing accounts, narrated experiences called, ‘coding’. This text, though very much at the nexus of qualitative research and at the service of ethnography — might assist filmmakers assimilate a methodical process for focusing and isolating some subject, thematic or key terms; dissolved or embodied structures in the transcribed text that remain otherwise hidden?

Online Resources Available via the SAE Library

Sherman, S. (2015). Documenting Ourselves Film, Video, and Culture. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky.

Since Robert Flaherty’s landmark film Nanook of the North (1922) arguments have raged over whether or not film records of people and traditions can ever be “authentic.” And yet never before has a single volume combined documentary, ethnographic, and folkloristic filmmaking to explore this controversy.

What happens when we turn the camera on ourselves? This question has long plagued documentary filmmakers concerned with issues of reflexivity, subject participation, and self-consciousness. Documenting Ourselves includes interviews with filmmakers Les Blank, Pat Ferrero, Jorge Preloran, Bill Ferris, and others, who discuss the ways their own productions and subjects have influenced them. Sharon Sherman examines the history of documentary films and discusses current theiroeis and techniques of folklore and fieldwork.

But Sharon Sherman does not limit herself to the problems faced by filmmakers today. She examines the history of documentary films, tracing them from their origins as a means of capturing human motion through the emergence of various film styles. She also discusses current theories and techniques of folklore and fieldwork, concluding that advances in video technology have made the camcorder an essential tool that has the potential to redefine the nature of the documentary itself.

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Kochberg, S. (2002). Introduction to documentary production. London: Wallflower Press.

Introduction to Documentary Production

Introduction to Documentary Production is designed for students who are approaching documentary production for the first time. The book is written in an accessible style by media staff at the University of Portsmouth, UK, all of whom have backgrounds in media production or journalism. The book covers the making of documentaries from concept through production to post-production and includes close readings of documentary makers’ intent and target audiences.

Rosenthal, A. (2007). Writing, directing, and producing documentary films and videos. Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press

Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos

As Alan Rosenthal states in the preface to this new edition of his acclaimed resource for filmmakers, Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos is “a book about storytelling — how to tell great and moving stories about fascinating people, whether they be villains or heroes.”
 
In response to technological advances and the growth of the documentary hybrid in the past five years, Rosenthal reconsiders how one approaches documentary filmmaking in the twenty-first century. Simply and clearly, he explains how to tackle day-to-day problems, from initial concept through distribution. He demonstrates his ideas throughout the book with examples from key filmmakers’ work.
 
New aspects of this fourth edition include a vital new chapter titled “Making Your First Film,” and a considerable enlargement of the section for producers, “Staying Alive,” which includes an extensive discussion of financing, marketing, festivals, and distribution. This new edition offers a revised chapter on nonlinear editing, more examples of precise and exacting proposals, and the addition of a complex budget example with explanation of the budgeting process. Discussion of documentary hybrids, with suggestions for mastering changes and challenges, has also been expanded, while the “Family Films” chapter includes updated information that addresses rapid expansion in this genre.

(Source: www.amazon.com)

Nichols, B. (2010). Introduction to documentary. Bloomington, Ind. : Indiana University Press

Introduction to Documentary

This new edition of Bill Nichols’s bestselling text provides an up-to-date introduction to the most important issues in documentary history and criticism. Designed for students in any field that makes use of visual evidence and persuasive strategies, Introduction to Documentary identifies the distinguishing qualities of documentary and teaches the viewer how to read documentary film. Each chapter takes up a discrete question, from “How did documentary film-making get started?” to “Why are ethical issues central to documentary film-making?” Carefully revised to take account of new work and trends, this volume includes information on more than 100 documentaries released since the first edition, an expanded treatment of the six documentary modes, new still images, and a greatly expanded list of distributors.

(Source: www.amazon.com)

Tobias, M (1998). The search for reality : the art of documentary filmmaking. California : Michael Wiese Productions.

The Search for Reality

This ambitious book from author, producer and director Michael Tobias draws together the voices of 40 renowned documentary filmmakers from around the world.

These contributors shed unique light on contemporary culture and aesthetics, the filmmaker’s commitment to the documentary form, and the documentary production process from concept to marketplace. They also probe provocative questions: What is reality in a documentary? Can and should there be objectivity in a documentary? What is the role of social advocacy in a documentary? How do new production technologies affect a documentary’s message?

This is the first book that brings together an international roster of documentary filmmakers to speak about the very heart and soul of their art. It should prove to be an invaluable guide for both professionals and students, and will appeal to general filmgoers as well.

Walberg, M. (2008). Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press 2008

Documentary Time: Film and Phenomenology

Finding the theoretical space where cinema and philosophy meet, Malin Wahlberg’s sophisticated approach to the experience of documentary film aligns with attempts to reconsider the premises of existential phenomenology. The configuration of time is crucial in organizing the sensory affects of film in general but, as Wahlberg adroitly demonstrates, in nonfiction films the problem of managing time is writ large by the moving image’s interaction with social memory and historical figures.

Wahlberg discusses a thought-provoking corpus of classical and recent experiments in film and video (including Andy Warhol’s films) in which creative approaches to the time of the image and the potential archive memory of filmic representation illuminates meanings of temporality and time experience. She also offers a methodological account of film and brings Deleuze and Ricoeur into dialogue with Bazin and Mitry on the subject of cinema and phenomenology.

Drawing attention to the cultural significance of the images’ imprint as a trace of the past, Documentary Time brings to bear phenomenological inquiry on nonfiction film while at the same time reconsidering the existential dimensions of time that have always puzzled humans.

Malin Wahlberg is a research fellow in cinema studies at Stockholm University.

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