how to analyse a documentary

how to analyse a documentary

How to analyse a documentary
The Corporation (Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, 2003)
The Line (Linda Midgett, 2012)

How to analyse a documentary
All of the ideas and writing must be your own, except when you cite the contributions of others (e.g., using the ideas or words of a published author). You may–and are encouraged to–use the Writing Center ( ).
Consider your reader (your audience) to be a smart person who has seen the film but is not an expert on it. You do not need to describe everything in the scene. Instead, say just enough about the scene so your reader knows which scene you are discussing. The rest of your paper should be analysis, not description. You should mention the title of the film in your opening paragraph so your reader knows which film you are discussing.

How to analyse a documentary
A minute later, another aerial follows a small plane over a field, in which we see rangers patrolling. The film title comes up, and then the opening sequence, including the music, ends. The film then moves into a new, second sequence.
After you’ve watched this sequence, ask yourself some questions, such as: • What is this film is about? • Where is this film is headed? • What are the top three-to-five bullet points that the filmmaker has used to grab my attention and immerse me in the film, making me want to watch?

  • through dialogue?
  • by the way they speak?
  • physical appearance? thoughts and feelings?
  • interaction – the way they act towards other characters?
  • Are they static characters who do not change?
  • Do they develop by the end of the story?
  • What type of characters are they?
  • What qualities stand out?
  • Are they stereotypes?
  • Are the characters believable?
  • Symbols – when something stands not only for itself ( a literal meaning), but also stands for something else (a figurative meaning) e.g. The feather in the film Forrest Gump symbolizes his destiny.
  • What images are used in the film? e.g. color, objects etc.
  • Can you find any symbols?

How to analyse a documentary
Some other questions to consider:
You do not need to use quotation marks for blocked-off dialogue, but for shorter quotations in the main text, quotation marks should be double quotes (“…”).


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