Assignment: Identify and compare the main conventions of two documentaries and explain what affect that have on the presentation of the subject matter of the programme. Task: Analyse Michael Moore’s treatment of his subject matter within the documentaries ‘Bowling for Columbine’ and ‘Fahrenheit 911’ “A documentary may be as a film or television or radio programme that provides factual information about a subject. Typically, a documentary is a journalistic record of events presented on screen. ”
The main conventions of documentaries tend to be that the documentary has voice-over commentary; the main focus is on the issues rather than relationships between characters, they also build up the setting so the viewer can build up a context. Documentaries do not leave on cliff hangers, they usually end with a conclusion or final interpretation to provoke thought on the issue and make the audience become more educated and informed of the subject. “Documentaries often strive to capture a sense of realism, ‘programmes reflect and report on the real through the use of recorded images and sounds of actuality’.
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” The four main camera techniques used to capture images for documentaries are: i ‘Fly on the wall’ camera work – designed to appear as if the camera crew was not present ? ‘Verite’ camera work – continuously hand held shot. Used to simulate the viewer experiencing the person looking and moving around within the documentary. Investigative journalists commonly use this technique. i?? ‘Secret Recording’ – hidden cameras used to capture evidence and truths i ‘Video Diary’ style. Documentaries are a popular form of information entertainment.
Documentaries are not expensive to screen, for there is no need for actors, screenwriters, expensive sets or large production crews. Audience fatigue is one other reason; traditional programme styles have been on our screens for so long, audiences seek something different. Editing can cause a bias to a subject matter; therefore the objectivity of a documentary may be lost. An example of this is Michael Moore’s apparent dislike of George Bush’s “administration and his particular disgruntlement at the US for its invasion of Iraq. ” Winston says ‘The line between documentary and fiction is tenuous.
Both are create by edititing and selection. Both, willingly, or unwillingly, embody a viewpoint. ‘ MICHAEL MOORE Born: 23/04/1954 Birth Place: Flint, Michigan Michael Moore, America’s most populist commentator. Moore has a passion to throw himself into major issues, in hope to enervate public opinion. He ‘believes in the common man’s stand against the State. ‘ Michael was born in Flint, where his first political views arose and grew. A General Motors car plant employed his father and Grandfather, unfortunately the plant relocated to Mexico where because of cheaper labour therefore many men lost their jobs.
This was the first of many issues that gave Moore the enthusiasm to get involved with presenting major issues to enervate the opinion of the public. Moore’s passion to present and “reveal corporate injustice and misdemeanour to the public began when he was an Eagle Scout and made a slide show exposing all the business that polluted Flint. ” When Moore was eighteen he won a place on the Flint School board which made him one of the youngest citizens in the US to hold public office. Moore became an editor, after becoming a journalist, of the Flint Voice, which expanded to be known as the Michigan Voice.
The writer, outspoken, then graduated to become editor of Mother Jones, a more liberal political journal in 1986. However frequent arguments with the publishers made this partnership brief. Moore ufilms and a TV program ‘COPS’sed his settlement money, from Mother Jones, as the base for ‘Roger ; Me’ a documentary film, describing how General Motors had a major part in the collapse, of Flint. Moore was determined to show his documentary to the public, to do so he had to sell his house and hold bingo nights to fund his documentary. It was however one of the most financially successful documentaries ever made.
Moore attempted television but did not succeed to get his ratings up. In 1996 he wrote ‘Downsize’ which was a bestseller, political commentary. Since, Moore has continued writing and making successful documentaries. ‘Bowling for Columbine’ (2002) which won a Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Moore is a “very public critic of George W Bush, his administration and a loud opponent of the US invasion of Iraq. ” I think Bowling for Columbine was very eye opening. Before I watched the documentary I had no idea of how much of a problem the United States had with Gun control.
Some scenes were very disturbing and touched me. But I think it was needed and Moore has done a very good job at producing both Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11. Moore has the ability to persuade his viewers by deceiving them. He uses his skills to convince the viewers that some things happened, which usually hadn’t. I can clearly see and emphasize with Moore’s views of the president of United States, but I have an open mind and can also see it from the view of the president. After all, there are lots of hard and tough decisions to make in life, we are all human.
It can’t be easy running the whole of the United States! Bowling for Columbine ‘Are we a nation of gun nuts or are we just nuts? ‘ Bowling for Columbine was written, produced and directed by Michael Moore in 2002 and received an Academy Award. The main issues in Bowling for Columbine explored America’s predilection for gun violence, the behavior and disturbances within people and youths of today and the effects of America’s high gun culture. In ‘Bowling for Columbine’ Moore’s main priorities was to inform the public of the extremely high violence ratings which America holds.