Pawel Pawlikowski mentioned in his article, ‘Imagining Reality’, that “for [him] the point of making films is not to to convey objective information about the world, but to show it as I see it and to find a form which is relevant.” This confused me a little because it basically complicated my definition of documentary. To me, a documentary was a visual form where you shoot stuff as time goes by, compile it, and put it together for the whole world to see. But what Pawlikowski mentioned made it mean that a documentary is very similar to a film in the sense that you CHOOSE what you shoot and what you want to show. That conflicted with my idea of a documentary where you don’t choose anything, you just shoot and show all you have (at least try to). I get where he is coming from though, because in the end, there is a certain direction a documentary always takes and that usually comes from a vision of what the documentary is supposed to be and what the documentary filmmaker intended to present to the viewers.
I loved reading the bit where he explains the commercial aspect of documentary on TV, how TV needs documentaries to survive yet consequently TV is killing documentaries because of the effects of sensationalism. To elaborate, he notes that cameras are planted in areas that were considered “interesting” and just filming as events unfolded. How this kills documentaries is that there is no “heart” or “thought” put into it, in other words, it’s just an easy way to make a quick buck and get higher view ratings.
Curren Bernard’s pointers in ‘Documentary storytelling for film and videomakers’ was also a real treat to read.
He mentioned something along the lines of finding a story during the production or post-production of a documentary, when the filmmaker “alters the story’s focus or…its structure.” It’s true that your documentary won’t end up like what you had in mind because somewhere along the way, the docmentary’s “path” may diverge and you end up with something completely different. Kind of like life itself.
Accessibility for an area for the documentary is something I have a real gripe with because of past…unpleasant experiences. Normally, it’s the one restricting factor about documentaries (or anything that’s relatable) that I loathe. That’s why I found it intriguing when Bernard pointed out that lack of access may become part of the story. I still don’t get what this means though, how does it become part of the story exactly?