The 3 “E’s” Of Documentaries

It’s probably not a stretch to say most people associate documentaries with public broadcast television and while educational, they may sometimes fail to captivate audiences. Although derived from the Latin root, docere, meaning to teach, documentaries can entertain viewers as well as enlighten and educate them depending on how the filmmaker chooses to portray his or her story.

1. Educational

Snippets of a topic on the news may pique people’s curiosities, but not satisfy their desire to learn more. Filmmakers in tune with popular interest can produce a documentary that delves deeper into the subject illuminating facts not universally known or understood. For example, most people know the Civil War in America took place in the 19th century between states in the North and State. A documentary can educate people on events leading up to the first battle, strategies used by each side in the conflict, and reasons for ending the war.

2. Enlightening

Words and phrases often find their way into mainstream America without their meaning crossing generational or cultural lines. For instance, the word “bae” has seen common usage with teens and twenty-somethings, but the remaining population may not have a clue it refers to one’s significant other. Another example was when the phrase and action “pay it forward” came into use. Insightful documentaries, such as the one sponsored by jason hanold associates, help people understand this unique movement and the emotions behind it.

3. Entertaining

The first documentary was a simple production depicting everyday life. As film equipment became less expensive, the genre began to grow as more people had access to the equipment. This then resulted in more documentaries being produced that went beyond basic stories depicting familiar topics. To attract audiences, filmmakers realized documentaries had to maintain their realism, but also had to incorporate entertaining elements already successfully used in other film genres. Recognizing film’s informational power, but only if people’s attention could be hooked, writers and directors have gone beyond talking heads and shoulders or plain narration in their productions. As a result, documentaries have grown in popularity and are recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Based on reality, and in line with the modern definition as a factual and authentic record, documentaries do contain primary evidence and sources of information. But, as the old adage “the devil is in the details” goes, presentation is the final factor in what viewers will come away with after watching a film of the genre. It’s to a documentary’s advantage to be creatively entertaining, otherwise people won’t tune in or simply won’t attend at all. Therefore, images, details, and facts are selected with the intent to capture viewers interest and promote a positive reception.