Monday, January 25, 2010

Is it a documentary?

I was reading a review of a new program called La La Land in which it appears a guy acts outrageously around other people who possibly don't know its a joke, and the results are filmed for our enjoyment; something like the movie Borat: "La La Land": Move over, Borat!

Now whether anyone acts normally around a video camera or not is something I’ll leave for another day, what caught my eye was this statement:

For Wootton to take one of the world's most odious and repugnant archetypes -- the self-important documentary filmmaker -- and then capture the insanity as we watch him force reality to fit his story arc?

I’m sorry, but "self-important documentary filmmakers" are one of the world’s most odious and repugnant archtetypes? Oh, what hell hath Michael Moore wrought?! Or has the work of documentary filmmakers been sullied by the multitudes of so-called reality TV shows?

It's time for documentary filmmakers to take back their good name before it forever loses it's meaning. Maybe the public has forgotten - or gotten confused - about what a documentary is. Let's start with how to tell if a program is a documentary:

  • It is not a documentary if there is scoring, judging or eliminations
  • It is not a documentary if there is a host
  • It is not a documentary if the word real appears in the title
  • It is not a documentary if the cameras follow the same people around for more than one season.

I'm sure there are other rules, but that makes for a start.

No comments: