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Identify and compare the main conventions of two documentaries and explain what affect that have on the presentation of the subject matter of the programme.

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OCR GCSE MEDIA STUDIES COURSEWORK ASSIGNMENT ONE: LANGUAGES AND CATEGORIES: DOCUMENTARY Assignment: Identify and compare the main conventions of two documentaries and explain what affect that have on the presentation of the subject matter of the programme. Task: Analyse Michael Moore's treatment of his subject matter within the documentaries 'Bowling for Columbine' and 'Fahrenheit 911' "A documentary may be as a film or television or radio programme that provides factual information about a subject. Typically, a documentary is a journalistic record of events presented on screen." The main conventions of documentaries tend to be that the documentary has voice-over commentary; the main focus is on the issues rather than relationships between characters, they also build up the setting so the viewer can build up a context. Documentaries do not leave on cliff hangers, they usually end with a conclusion or final interpretation to provoke thought on the issue and make the audience become more educated and informed of the subject. "Documentaries often strive to capture a sense of realism, 'programmes reflect and report on the real through the use of recorded images and sounds of actuality'." The four main camera techniques used to capture images for documentaries are: � 'Fly on the wall' camera work - designed to appear as if the camera crew was not present � 'Verite' camera work - continuously hand held shot. Used to simulate the viewer experiencing the person looking and moving around within the documentary. Investigative journalists commonly use this technique. � 'Secret Recording' - hidden cameras used to capture evidence and truths � 'Video Diary' style. Documentaries are a popular form of information entertainment. Documentaries are not expensive to screen, for there is no need for actors, screenwriters, expensive sets or large production crews. Audience fatigue is one other reason; traditional programme styles have been on our screens for so long, audiences seek something different. Editing can cause a bias to a subject matter; therefore the objectivity of a documentary may be lost. ...read more.


to turn around and hold someone at gunpoint? The scene is accompanied by non-diegetic music, it's upbeat and sets the viewers imagination into role. The opening credits are accompanied by black and white footage of youngsters bowling. This represents the effects on youths from a young age, the bowling to take place of the play of children from that of the effects of childhood games to shooting. The Columbine shootings. Later on in the documentary there is a link back to this, as one of the female students who went to Columbine High School said, one of the boys involved in the shootings use to bowl for Columbine. Which is where the title of the documentary may have come from. Throughout the whole of this documentary there is a continuous link to guns. There is a black and white television advertisement, from the 50/60s advertising 'real' guns. These were fake toy guns that looked and sounded real. I think Moore shows this to show how much children are involved in the 'tradition' of guns in America. Moore also uses home footage of himself and his history of gun use to present America's gun culture and to present himself. He won the NRA marksman award. He then introduces the fact that he grew up in the same State as Charlton Heston where hunting is extremely common. Moore includes a scene of himself at the Hairdressers, where he purchases bullets. His message is just how easily accessible guns and ammunition really are. The viewer would be shocked, particularly with our own Laws and figures as the United Kingdom. In another scene Chris Rock, a comedian, is on stage presenting his views in his own comical way. He talks of gun control and speaks about bullets costing more then there may be less violence. He suggests $5,000 for a bullet and says 'I would blow your head off... ...read more.


With the aid of editing Moore sets up the cozy smug look of the president's face after Fahrenheit 9/11, cutting to one of the victims grieving family members. Undoubtedly this brings over Moore's view of the Bush Administration, therefore hopefully ensuing in the audiences view, along with the American public. One of Moore's purposes for creating the documentaries. Michael Moore's main purposes for creating this documentary are to inform his audience of the issues that the mainstream media has missed/not included. Moore wanted to uncover, in his opinion, the fact that the current president of the United States had sent his fellow citizens into war. For reasons only known to him and close partnerships; having little to do with the excuse of an attempt to stop terrorism, capture Osama Bin Laden or prevent Saddam Hussein from using his "weapons of mass destruction". Moore uses a considerably large mount of editing; in fact editing creates most of his documentaries. Unfortunately, however fortunate for him, this creates a bias view, which is what the viewer sees. Moore continuously visually documents the weaknesses of the powerful. The main example is the president. Moore captures the president's sensitive side. Also Charlton Heston, as he walks away from the camera unable to answer Moore's request of "After that happened you came to Flint to hold a big rally and, you know, I just, did you feel it was being at all insensitive to the fact that this community had just gone through more tragedy?" Moore then continues, "You think you'd like to apologize to the people in Flint for coming and doing that at that time?" Moore takes full advantage of the fact that he knows about Heston, having known of the shootings, and the fact that Heston had pretended he did not. In conclusion, Moore has presented two documentaries, from his own point of view, to present his views and some truths. Creating his desired effect, to inform and explain his view. ...read more.

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