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Documentaries: Ingredients For A Perfect Recipe

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Documentaries- a reel reporting of real-time happenings- are the most underrated pieces of creativity in the entertainment industry. It is a filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition that continues to develop without clear boundaries. There is a genius involved in the subject, a genius involved in the making, and genius involved in its register of a compelling statement. Since non-fiction is oriented more towards education and record maintenance, documentaries get greater acclaim in the fields than they do from the entertainment industry.

Proper Narration is a Must

When documentaries are produced, they must have a magnetic pull in their narration. They are essentially ‘moving pictures’. So if they revolve around a single note without exploring backgrounds, consequences, and relevant themes they simply fail to get the audience hooked. The same principles that hold true for moviemaking as well. Dragged monologues, sermons, speeches, and lectures are effective campaigning methods. But, they do not entertain much from a chronological perspective. Whether biographical or based on true event /(s) documentaries ought to be told as a well- knitted tale. Stories are engaging, so using stories to get people to know the facts is obviously a brilliant masterstroke.

Choice of Subject has Great Value

Documentaries can be made out of a vast expanse of source materials. They could include the demolition derby, role-play in the US Army’s Iraq War simulation, or ministering to broken men in the North Dakota oilfield. What is significant is that the circumstances are meaningful, passionate, and gripping. Things would get desperately drab if the subjects are too quirky or taboo. Because when things go beyond human comprehension- they simply fail to get attention.

Jesse Moss a documentarian of Speedo, Full Battle Rattle, The Overnighters says: “Documentaries can very successfully dramatize interior life. But I am drawn to characters engaged in both external and internal struggles. This leads to my final point.”

The statement clearly negates the aspects of stillness, and single focus in documentaries.

It Should Get the Audience to Think and Feel

Documentaries must kindle some kind of emotional responses. It is good if people learn, but it is better to have them curious. Whether it’s following a young dancer battling pancreatic cancer or the decline of monarch butterflies in tallgrass prairies your viewers need to care about the subject of your film. If there is an issue or a conflict, the documentary must entail suggestions. If it is an optimistic or pessimistic event, viewers must respond with relatable situations. The film “Blackfish” certainly didn’t make viewers want to fall in love with Sea World but the film was successful because the viewers were angered by what they saw in the film. So here, ‘anger’ was the emotion that gelled together the documentarian’s motive with his audience’s response. The effect was hence achieved.

Cinematography is Equally Important

Even though it is not a blockbuster with splendid visuals, resolution, graphics, and video quality are paramount factors in the success of a documentary. Blurry sequences, getting things out of focus, filtered screening, lack of visual detailing, all get anchor loosened and the film simply fails to please. The soundtracks, background music, and sound effects can also make or break the mood. If the volumes or audio do not compliment what is going on, the film is bound to fail. The success of Man on the Wire befitted greatly from its extraordinary archive film footage.

Make Documentaries, Not Soap Opera

The key is to not make a ‘General Hospital’ out of the documentary. There must be no repetition or re-quotation of events regardless of how crucial they are. Documentaries are not feature films, they must be precise in their tone and must pace forward with a moderate speed rather than dragging around the same notes.

If the documentary keeps its viewers spellbound throughout its entire narration, it is undeniably a successful venture.

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