A mockumentary (a portmanteau of the words mock and documentary) is a type of film or television show in which fictional events are presented in documentary style to create a parody. These productions are often used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictional setting, or to parody the documentary form itself.
We have a lot to accomplish over the next week so let's work together to make everything work smoothly.
Today we are going to be discussing the genre of documentaries (you can use this worksheet to organize your notes). This handout will also help with your understanding.
Documentary filmmaking is a cinematic style dating back to the earliest days of film. While its most basic definition can be defined by Wikipedia as “a nonfictional motion picture intended to document some aspects of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record,” the style has become a catch-all for both a certain filmmaking style, as well as a noble cinematic pursuit of truth.
I have included the silent film classic documentary "Nanook of the North" (which was made before the term documentary was even coined). In 1989, this film was one of the first 25 films to be selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant"
As we look at the types of documentaries, here are some examples to help your understanding:
Poetic: Focus on experiences, images, and showing the audience the world through a different set of eyes. Abstract and loose with narrative, the poetic sub-genre can be very unconventional and experimental in form and content. The ultimate goal is to create a feeling rather than a truth.
Observational: These are exactly what they sound like -they aim to simply observe the world around them. The style is much less pointed than the expository approach.Observational documentaries attempt to give voice to all sides of an issue by offering audiences firsthand access to some of the subject’s most important (and often private) moments.
Reflective: These documentaries make no attempt to explore an ouside subject. Rather, they focus soley on themselves and the making of the film.
Peformative: These documentaries use a combination of styles to stress a subject experience and share the emotional response. They ofent connect and juxtapose personal accounts with larger or political issues. This has sometimes been refered to as the "Michael Moore style" as he often uses his own peronsl stories as a way to construct social truths. We will be watching Bowling for Columbine in class, and looking at this validity of this style of moving making. This is the assignment that goes with the viewing.
Documentary Addict is an AWESOME curated website for you to check out as we explore the craft of movie making.
It's finally here :) Aside from your Culminating Assignment (which you should be thinking about...), this should be your favourite project this semester. Your task over the next week is to choose any appropriate video from the 1980s and re-imagine and recreate it in your own vision. Just like the 1980s, the video is as important (if not more) than the music that is is representing.
A few sources to check out:
The Best 80s Music Videos (according to Billboard Magazine)
A Comprehensive List of 80s Videos
Searchable Lyrics Database
Assignment Sheet w/ Checklist
What does this have to do with film studies? A lot of very famous directors got their start making music videos. Who knows, maybe one day we'll all look back at your project and reminisce about where it all started!
Today we will start one of the larger components of the course,the art of film editing. We will be using a non-linear editor, Adobe Premiere, for the rest of the course, so it is imperative that you learn the fundamentals behind editing, and how to use the tools to create the vision that you have in your mind's eye.
We will be starting by looking at an overview of editing. We will be working our way through this PowerPoint (this version does not contain the video clips) and using this organizer to keep track of our notes. If you would like to a copy with the video clips, you will need to come see me with a USB key.
Make sure that your conversation video does not break the 180 Degree rule (we will talk more about this in class). This PowerPoint has other reminders that you should carefully consider as you move forward with the pre-production and production phases of your project.
As we move into basic editing, from home you might want to download and install the open source video editing program Lightworks, and the audio editing program, Audacity. As with most skills in life, you need to practice to get better! These are similar programs to the ones that we will be using in class.
You will start to learn how to use Adobe Premiere tomorrow, and can use it to edit your conversation video.
We are going to analyze the way the Coen brothers shoot conversation.
We are going to look at some basic aspects of cinematography. You will have to be organized and ON TASK for the next few days in order to make up for our short week (PD Day on Friday).
Today we are also going to take a brief look at composition and framing to help tell your story.