Explain to students that writers often critically study the writing of others to learn more about their craft.
In preparation of making a plan for their films, the class studies “After the Fall: HIV Grows Up” alongside additional selected documentaries from a writer’s perspective while considering the questions below. Stopping after each film, the class focuses on the first question. Chart and discuss the characteristics of documentary films that students notice. You might want to refer to the list below.
1. What do we notice about documentaries in general?
2. Which documentaries do we think are especially good and why?
3. How might those who that are not as compelling be made more so?
4. How can we create documentaries as powerful and effective as those?
– Present compelling issues
– Inform the viewer of key, relevant facts
– Aim to leave a lasting impact
– Might use interviews
– Might set a scene
– Might use a narrator
– Might use voice-overs
– Might include people
– Might use text on screen
– Might use music or sound effects
– Might use visual effects (like black and white, fade, speed adjustment, vignette)
– May use transitions/editing to enhance the video
After building a list of characteristics, students will ‘Think-Pair-Share’ in response to Questions #2 and 3 above.
Consider keeping a class list of documentary features, noting specific techniques that are most effective.
Provide time for students to reflect on what features they felt were most effective and brainstorm ideas for their own documentary films.
Rock Your World is a program of Creative Visions
Rock Your World is a Program of Creative Visions, a 501(c) (3) organization that supports creative activists - individuals who use the power of media and arts to create positive change in the world.