Film & Theater studies

Short Form Documentary

The article is about editing short form documentaries. This involves bringing together short pieces and coming up with a compelling series of video portals, which are distributed over the internet. The contemporary society is characterized by difficulties in attracting people’s attention, stiff media competition and a number of distractions everywhere. That is why the short form documentary is gaining popularity since it is brief and takes less time. “The simplified video formats such as YouTube and Webisode are important in conveying information without needing much time and concentration” (Solis & Welch 48). This article provides the guidelines on how to make these pieces such that they serve the intended purpose of capturing attention and relaying the information. This includes defining the content and the targeted audience, so that one is able to meet their needs.

The first step according to this article is determining the objective, which the piece is aimed at achieving. There has to be a specified point, which should have the potential of attracting the viewers’ attention. To illustrate what a point is, the article gives an example of an imaginary weight control consultant known as Thinimax. The point here is given as “Hey Fatty, is your couch sagging and your love life lagging? Thinimax can get you buff and boned!” (Solis & Welch 48). This statement will definitely capture anyone’s attention. It can take different formats, as long as if fulfills its purpose, which is creating an emotion. This is given as an example of a point in the commercial scenario. The other scenarios are given as introducing an idea or explaining a biographical concept.

When creating the short form documentary, the editor should simplify the information as much as possible so that even the youngest viewer is able to understand it. Use of simple language is the best way of capturing attention. The complicated ideas should be broken down into the main themes of the piece. This requires the editor to come up with a roadmap, which includes the specific information that is supposed to reach the viewer, the order of conveying this information, and the way in which it can be compressed into less number of points. The road map is supposed to be straightforward, easy to relate the successive points, accurate and relevant. The main objective should be to communicate the message and not just to present the ideas in an attractive or technical format.

One of the outstanding characteristics of short form documentaries is that they do not take more than 10 minutes. “They cost less to produce and are highly reliant on commentaries since everything should be communicated promptly” (Solis & Welch 49). This has won the favor of online film editors as being a successful innovation and a fundamental technological tool. This form of communication media is what most journalists are using to earn a living, since print form of journalism is losing popularity. The advertising income has shifted to online resources such as Google, since they are cheaper and accessible by a wide range of people. The print media journalists have therefore been forced to provide online versions of their articles in video format such as the short form documentary.

Short form documentary has an independent influence, which gives it the ability to provide access to technical broadcasting skills. “Its simplicity makes it possible for any person to be able to produce though the quality might differ from that of an expert filmmaker” (Solis & Welch 49). Some people actually believe that short form documentary is just a tactic that the film industry used as a response to recession. Others term it as a form of film compromise and a great absurdity. Despite all these negative perceptions, “short form documentary is slowly taking over the filming industry, because of its convenience in advertising and passing on information” (Solis & Welch 49).

Works Cited:

Solis, Michelle and Welch, Edward. Student filmmakers: Educational resource for film and video makers. 5.2 (2010): 48-49. Print.


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