This Goes Up To 11…

Been meaning to post this for a while, and a discussion in class reminded me to do so…


It’s really important that you collect and view a number of sources as reference for your own product. It’s not a case of encouraging you to mindlessly ape what others have done, it’s about giving your research enough depth and breadth so you have options as you consider your scripts. It will also give you ideas for shots and editing when you start filming and then panicking as you get nearer your deadline. (Never underestimate the power of a good panic!)

To that end, here are a few documentaries and ‘mockumentaries’ that may prove useful/entertaining/thought-provoking. Some are available on Netflix or Amazon, others I have and will let you borrow if you think they’ll be useful. Happy researching!

First up is one of the most horrific films/documentaries I’ve ever seen: The Cove (2009). It’s an Oscar™ winning film about the annual killing of dolphins in Japan. It is not for the squeamish. It is also not immune from criticism for its portrayal of the Japanese whaling industry and the methods used to make the film. Here’s the trailer:

Another serious documentary worth watching is Michael Moore‘s Bowling for Columbine (2002). It addresses America’s infatuation with guns, and is notable for many things, not the least of which is that the oft reviled Marilyn Manson comes across as an articulate and intelligent commentator on the horrific shootings that he was partially accused of causing. Here’s the trailer:

The next one is short, and jaw-droppingly beautiful, but switch off the ‘awe factor’ section of your brain and switch on the ‘how and why did they film that’ bit (Hint: There’s a ‘making of’ video). Welcome to Danny MacAskill: The Ridge

And finally (for now… as it’s late… and I’ve got school tomorrow…)

The ultimate Rock music (spoof) documentary… it’s far too close to the truth, and it goes up to 11: This Is Spinal Tap!

Watch lots, and think “How did they do that?”, “Why did they do that?”, “Do I want to do that?”, and “How can I do that?”


Hacked Off

Here’s the Panorama documentary we started watching today…

I highly recommend you take time to watch it with your documentary heads on. Consider the use of archive footage, music, and my own personal favourite, the dramatic low key lighting in the interviews to make it appear more clandestine.

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The documents we will be working from on Monday and Tuesday are on THIS PAGE. You will not manage to read all of them, but you should be able to use an index to find the relevant sections when we start discussing what we should and/or can report. If you read nothing else, read the NUJ Code of Conduct!

I’m intending to have a fact finding research session leading to some discussions regarding the ethics and morals of some hypothetical news stories. Bring your thinking heads! 🙂

The next post will have all the docs you will need for your product! Set your timers,it should be along in about 15 minutes. Put the kettle on.