An analysis on the effects of a documentary to its viewers
It also helps to avoid the risk that most of what you shoot will be 'b-roll" or "wallpaper" - images that are vaguely related to the topic and are often used to "cover" a string of talking heads and narration.
Documentary film and social impact
Likewise, film campaigns are utilizing a broad array of strategies to engage audience members, including "action kits, screening programs, educational curriculums and classes, house parties, seminars, panels" that often turn into "ongoing 'legacy' programs that are updated and revised to continue beyond the film's domestic and international theatrical, DVD and television windows" Participant Media. And Bill Nichols writes that the definition of documentary may even expand beyond the film itself, defining it as a "filmmaking practice, a cinematic tradition, and mode of audience reception" These new tools are significantly changing evaluation, expanding what we can learn about the social impacts of film through triangulation of self-report data with measurement of actual behavior in virtual environments. Madaus, George, and Daniel Stufflebeam. Over fifteen years ago, noted film scholar Brian Winston commented that "the underlying assumption of most social documentaries—that they shall act as agents of reform and change—is almost never demonstrated" Jenkins, Henry. There will be some scenes and sequences that fall outside the chronology, either because they happen routinely skateboard practice, Sunday church, an annual holiday , or because they're filmed for the purpose of advancing the film's themes and ideas for example, Michael Moore opening a bank account in Bowling for Columbine. Winston, Brian. And funders increasingly expect tangible data about their return on investment. He instead stresses the importance of developing a more comprehensive model. Films are now typically released with websites, Facebook pages, twitter feeds, and web videos to increase both reach and impact. The emergence of new forms of media and technology are changing our conceptions of both documentary film and social action. Unlike dramatists, however, nonfiction filmmakers can't invent characters and plot points, but must instead find them in the raw material of real life. Which stories are being told, and why? Although such analysis may have previously been limited to box office numbers, critics' reviews, and theater exit surveys, the rise of new media provides both the ability to connect filmmakers, activists, and viewers in new ways and the data in which to study the process.
Grierson, John. Kevin Macdonald and Mark Cousins. Tell the story of the young man going to war and then look back at the story of his engagement. Where is the story going? The American University Center for Social Media concluded in a case study of three issue-based documentary film campaigns: Digital technologies do not replace, but are closely entwined with, longstanding on-the-ground activities of stakeholders and citizens working for social change.
In terms of documentary film, these two goals can be described as follows: Formative Evaluation: Informing the Process As programs broadly defined as an intentional set of activities with the aim of having some specific impactthe people who interact with them, and the cultures they are situated in are constantly changing, program development and evaluation is an ongoing learning cycle.
Measuring impact the importance of evaluation for documentary film campaigns
Like any form of communication, including journalism, documentary filmmaking involves choice-making on the part of the communicator, and is therefore unavoidably subjective, no matter how balanced or neutral the presentation. It became popular in the s as a way of understanding the impact of the Great Society programs and has continued to grow since that time Madaus and Stufflebeam. Nichols, Bill. For example, press coverage can assist in understanding and measuring the increase in awareness about an issue post-release. If your documentary is about the difficulty of getting into college and you're following a high school student named Sarah, for example, you could film her prom - it's certainly visual - but you'd get much more storytelling use out of a sequence in which she studies for and takes her SATs, waits by the mailbox for results, and then plans and carries out her resulting course of action. What is my story about - do the parts add up to something greater than the whole? There will be some scenes and sequences that fall outside the chronology, either because they happen routinely skateboard practice, Sunday church, an annual holiday , or because they're filmed for the purpose of advancing the film's themes and ideas for example, Michael Moore opening a bank account in Bowling for Columbine.
Social Movement. This can take the form of policy or legislative change, passed through film-based lobbying efforts, or shifts in public dialogue and behavior.
Care must be taken with the juxtaposition of words, sounds, and images, however: If you cut from someone saying, "Well, who was responsible for it?
Engagement "indicates a shift from simply being aware of an issue to acting on this awareness.
How to evaluate a documentary film
You might shoot a wedding or town meeting or a series of interviews, for example, but even if you edit the raw footage for length, what you create is not a documentary. Social Movement. Supported by. Ford Foundation, Sep. Attention to this process enables those involved to learn more about, not only what works, but how and why it works and even gain insights about how program outcomes may be affected by changes to resource availability, potential audiences, or infrastructure. You can start in the middle, go back to the beginning, catch up with your story and then move ahead to the end. However, several researchers across disciplines have noted that limited investigation has been conducted in this area. Individual impacts with an emphasis on activist groups include educating members, mobilizing for action, and raising group status; policy includes altering both agenda for and the substance of policy deliberations. Use shots and sequences to tell a story.
Barry Keith Grant and Jeannette Sloniowski. Likewise, film campaigns are utilizing a broad array of strategies to engage audience members, including "action kits, screening programs, educational curriculums and classes, house parties, seminars, panels" that often turn into "ongoing 'legacy' programs that are updated and revised to continue beyond the film's domestic and international theatrical, DVD and television windows" Participant Media.
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