Documentary Conventions & Positioning

As with all genres, documentary films have a set of generic conventions – a repertoire of elements.

Task 1

Based on your reading from last week & the documentary(s) you have watched, construct a mind map that shows what conventions, techniques etc an audience can expect from a documentary film.

Task 2

As with all genres documentary films have many different ‘types’ within the genre itself.

Modes of Documentary – read this document that highlights different types or modes of documentary. Are there any additional conventions that you could add to your initial mind map / list?

Task 3

As we are particularly interested in spectatorship it is interesting to look at how different conventions position the audience to gain a different response.

How are the audience positioned in relation to the ‘characters’/subject matter?

Are they: Present (subjective positioning) or Distant (objective positioning) or a combination of both? Use this document to note which conventions within documentary could make an audience feel involved with the subject matter (present) as opposed to those that may allow them to feel more objective. Then consider the documentary you watched last week and how you think the audience are positioned in that film.

Independent Study

Review and reflect on your definition of documentary film. Has your definition altered based on your discussions?

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