Today's lecture brought back missed memories from the Writing Media Texts days... it was great to have Christine back in the lecture theatre, and a treat to have her share her expertise in this field with all of us once more.
The primary topic for today's class was focus: we were forced to ask ourselves what we want to hone in out, topic-wise, so that our documentaries actually say something and now just show. To illustrate the case in point, we watched a bit of a documentary made last year about a Commercial Dominatrix - fascinating subject matter, but it didn't really hit the nail on the head with regards to storytelling. Thus, it didn't reach its full potential.
I think it's all too easy to get caught up in the 'drama vs doco' mindset and end up discarding elements that could enrich the genre you are working with. In the case of 'Dominate', the aforementioned doco, the group really neglected to shape the documentary with a beginning, middle and end. It might sound like basic narrative structuing here, but that's because it is - just because documentary is not fictional by definiton, does not mean that we can just do away with the basic premises that govern all forms of filmmaking.
I guess it was like a 'beware' to the rest of us - know your subject, know your focus. And most importantly, know your audience and what you want them to walk away feeling after seeing what you have to show to them...