Really important guidelines for this essay:
-This essay must include a case study. It requires you to engage in depth with either one filmmaker or 2 or 3 films to compare or a common theme/subject across one or two TV series. Please be sure that you don’t choose too many films or programmes as your essay will lose depth and/or become too descriptive.
-The writer can either choose one of the set titles below or come up with their own title (needs to be relevant to the set titles).
The best advice is to think small. If the writer take on too much, they will be in danger of not achieving any depth and producing only vague generalisations. Find a question/theme that interests you and ensure that you will be able to access the material that enables you to answer it. Even if the focus seems narrow or very specific to you at the start, you can open up the case study to incorporate the wider issues (e.g. historical background, theoretical framework, implications of findings). The more sharply focused the project, the more in-depth study you will be able to produce.
The question or hypothesis:
– A good title captures the issue/ problem/ hypothesis/ question you are dealing with. Titles often have two parts – a general first part which might indicate the broad topic area, followed by a colon and a phrase which suggests the issue or problem to be investigated.
-Why is your question worth asking? What exactly does it mean? What issues does it raise? What is your initial response? How does your thinking change as your proceed with the research? And what kinds of assumptions are you making that need to be critically examined?
All the above is extremely important and needs to be considered when writing the essay.
Okay, the suggested essay titles are:
1. ‘Documentary has uses. My argument is we do not succeed in defining the genre by its outward duties, but rather by its inward obligations. It is not what can be done with the world but what cannot be done with the character.’ Joao Morreira Salles, ‘The difficulty with documentary’ p. 243.
Discuss Salles’ comment on documentary ethics through a comparison of two documentary film-makers’ work.
2. How far was the US school of ‘Direct Cinema’ guilty of a naïve assumption that they could directly reflect social reality?
3. ‘Discussion of realism slips between being about a specific convention, defined by its conventional practices, and being about realism as an approach to the world. Hence the term ‘realistic’ becomes evaluative rather than simply descriptive, designating the relationship between construct and referent as “correct”.’
Caughie, John (1981) ‘Terms of realism’ in Christine Gledhill (ed) Film and Media Studies in Higher Education London: British Film
Discuss in relation to at least two examples of either documentary or reality television (or one of each).
4. ‘Interviews are a form of hierarchical discourse deriving from an unequal distribution of power’ (Nichols, 1991: 47) Contrast how far different interviewing methods can contribute to meaning in the work of at least two film/programme makers.
5. The ‘performative documentary uses performance within a non-fiction context to draw attention to the impossibilities of authentic documentary representation. The performative element within the framework of non-fiction is thereby an alienating, distancing device, not one which promotes identification and a straightforward response to a subject’ (Bruzzi, Stella 2013 ‘The Performing Film-maker and the Acting Subject’ in Brian Winston The Documentary Film Book London: BFI) Discuss this quote in relation to at least two documentaries.
6. ‘Unlike earlier kinds of documentary, Reality TV is not a form that
attempts to mould the future by intervening explicitly in the world of its viewers’.
Bignell, Jonathan (2005) Big Brother: Reality TV in the twenty-first century, London: Palgrave, p.32
What do you think Bignell is referring to and how far is this true?
7. In what respects can some reality TV be said to offer insights, experiences or knowledge that cannot be offered by more traditional documentary forms?
8. Explore the ways in which at least two feminist documentary makers have attempted to avoid ‘speaking for’ other women and evaluate the pros and cons of their methods.
9. To what extent have digital methods of production and/or distribution succeeded in democratizing and transforming factual production?
(Don’t forget you could always pick one and change it a little or come up with a whole different one that is similar, just please let me know before proceeding with the essay and wait until i respond to see if its good or not.)
Really important guidelines for this essay: