Lesson 2: Making Films-Producing Documentaries

Lesson 2

Take Action - Making Films-Producing Documentaries

Studying Documentaries
as a Writer Would


After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify various persuasive techniques in documentaries

Students build on their understanding of documentaries by focusing specifically on the persuasive techniques that are used in this genre.
Guiding Questions:
  • How is persuasion used in documentaries?
  • What makes a documentary compelling?
Recommended Time:
90 minutes

Lessons design:
In small groups, students watch the same films as they did in the prior lesson, though this time with a much more specific focus on the techniques used to persuade the audience.

As they view the films, students ask themselves:

1. Where do I see examples of persuasion?

2. How is sound used as a persuasive technique?
  • Students track responses to these questions.

  • The class reconvenes to discuss and chart responses.
  • Some things worth noting:

    1. Persuasion can be visually created through:
    • – Powerful images – video, photographs, artwork
    • – Expressions on people’s faces
    • – Use of color vs. black and white
    • – Use of celebrities
    • – Use of regular people
    • – Clear calls to action
 2. Persuasion can be created through sound via:
    • – Play on words
    • – Repetition
    • – Humor
    • – Imperative commands
    • – Music to create tone
    • – Lyrics that add to meaning and/or tone
    • – Tone of actor/narrator’s voices
    • – Silence
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.
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