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A documentary filmmaker sets forth “not simply to register events and circumstances, but to find the most moving examples of them” (Bluem, 1972:10). It is so because every documentary is dramatic. It adds an artistic dimension to journalistic and societal aims.
It aims at one or more of the following objectives or purposes:
One of the editions as captured by Owuamalam (2007) dealt with the fate of the textile industry in Nigeria. It showed how the industry has virtually collapsed with the decline in the number of textile factories, from more than 200 in the 1990s to less than 40 in 2006, how the workforce has reduced from more than 300,000 workers to less than 20,000 within the same period. It also showed how the cotton farms have been neglected and the yarn machines abandoned. It explains why the scarcity of finished Nigeria prints has led to the smuggling of textiles and fabrics, even now that the materials are currently banned for importation into the country. It brings the travails of the industry to the fore and advocates socio-economic actions that can return the industry to its prerions glorions moments of boom.
Other purposes of documentaries include
Importance of Documentaries
The documentary film is important and very crucial to broadcasters and media professionals for many reasons.
Firstly, it gives them a chance to use the broadcast media to explore the significant issues in their immediate environments, rather than expanding their resources on what may be frivolous and ephemeral.
Secondly, it provides opportunities for experimentation and the exercise of one’s ingenuity not often possible in such formula obsessed fields as drama and comedy.
Thirdly, it allows broadcasters the opportunity to re-experience creativity, outside the realm of typologies often associated with specific production formats. It allows the freedom to explore the various attributes of performance, as a communication strategy, designed specifically for the audiovisual medium.
Developing Ideas for Documentary Films
Ideas for the documentary film according to Nworgu (2010) can be generated through any of the following:
We experience sad, happy, bitter, sweet and memorable moments everyday both in our offices, homes, street or anywhere we find ourselves. These experiences can form the basis for a documentary programme.
A documentary idea could emanate from historical accounts about celebrities or celebrations. Most historical documentary is made up of partly fiction and factual things.
Bad or good feelings can form basis for a documentary idea.
a documentary script. Also, the political, economic and social standard can be used for a documentary programme
Research for the Documentary
The place of research in the documentary film, just like in any other aspect of mass communication cannot be over emphasized. Research provides the basic information needed to produce the documentary. Research for a documentary programme can be divided into three.
Pre-documentary project research, on – the – documentary project research and post – documentary research. Pre-documentary research is the first research carried out to ascertain basic information concerning the documentary. This is the general phase in which the subject is explored to establish the dimensions of the programme and define areas that need further investigation.
General reading is the main tool in this exploratory phase of the research. The second phase of the research is carried out when the documentary project has been embarked on. This is the stage in which the research seeks answer to specific questions that arise during the period of the general research. This may go on throughout the preparation of the programme. This is because the writer often discovers after he has started his/her script that he/she needs further information before he/she can continue writing the script. Interview is often carried out in this stage. The last phase of research is the post-documentary project research. It is done to ascertain how far the documentary project writer has farred in his/her work. Question on how far the purpose of the documentary has been achieved is also ascertained at this stage. What is the attitude of the viewers towards the documentary? Are there areas that need to be improved on in future productions and are there areas where the documentary derived its strengths form? These questions are very necessary if the person(s) behind the documentary would excel in this trade.
Research is therefore important in documentary programme production because of the following reasons:
Source:National Open University of Nigeria
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