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Directing the Documentary, 5th Edition by Michael Rabiger

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Chapter 19Form, Control, and Style

This chapter may be heavy going unless you’ve had experience in other narrative art forms. If it seems foreign, skip to the table of prompts at the end and use them for your next film. Once you’ve made one or two films, you’ll recognize the path you’ve been on, and ideas about form and style will begin to complement your own thinking.

Form

Flaherty was original enough to single-handedly invent the genre of documentary because he saw that documentary needs narrative compression and storytelling techniques to engage its audience. This is disturbing to the ethnographer, or any purist for whom manipulation is suspect. But our experiences and meanings pursued through documentary won’t get across unless you can make ...

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