Five Different Ways to Get the Creative Juices Flowing

Many suggestions for encouraging creativity involve writing prompts. While writing can clear out the mental clutter, sometimes a different kind of activity is needed to ground you. The following post offers different ways to engage your creativity other than the written word. Legos Legos have become a major toy franchise, with co-branding, several movies, and…

How to Develop a Regular Writing Habit

The best way to avoid burnout and increase productivity is to develop a daily writing habit. Many people panic at this idea. Daily? As in every day? Every single day? Who has time for that? Well, you do. Everyone does. It’s not a matter of carving out three hours, skipping meals, or waking up at…

Why You Need Your Own Website

With so many social networking sites and so many people on those sites, you might think that forgoing your own website is a good idea. It’s not. Social networking sites are tools, while your website is a house. You wouldn’t trade your house for a box of tools. Here are seven reasons why you need…

A Memory Box and an Interactive Documentary: Now What?

In recent weeks both my colleague Amy Lauters and I have been blogging about turning a box of memories she received during her research on wives of farmers into an interactive documentary prototype. We both have perused the box’s contents and have made a loose inventory of what was inside. The general contents included the…

Some Observations on Web-Based Interactive Documentaries

In preparing for making an interactive documentary prototype, I have been exploring other interactive documentaries, specifically web-based ones. Web versions offer the most universal access and can require less programming than tablet or smart phone apps. The following post gathers my observations in learning more about the best practices of these experiences. Story A clear,…

Documentary Conventions

As a type of film or television develops, filmmakers and directors find certain techniques that become useful or effective in creating texts. These techniques get used again and again, and eventually they are associated with and are used to define certain types of texts. The techniques then become known as conventions. Documentary has its fair…

Definitions of Documentary

The word “documentary” defies easy definition. Here are some versions from various reference guides and textbooks: “Documentary concerns itself with representing the observable world, and to this end works with what [John] Grierson called the raw material of reality. The documentarian draws on past and present actuality — the world of social and historical experience…

The Four Fundamental Tendencies of Documentary

In “Toward a Poetics of Documentary,” Michael Renov outlines four tendencies of documentary. He places these tendencies within theories of poetics in order to show that they are products of historical, cultural, and technological contexts. As a result, these tendencies serve as a way to see how to widen the gap between the image and…

Who Defines a Documentary?

Documentary theorist Bill Nichols outlines four groups that define a documentary:  “An institutional framework” “A community of practitioners” “A corpus of texts” “A constituency of viewers” An Institutional Framework Institutional frameworks refer to anyone involved in the distribution and support of documentary. They can be divided into two sub-groups. 1. The first group includes those…

Rotha’s Documentary Traditions

In his book Documentary Film Paul Rotha indentifies four documentary traditions: The Naturalist (Romantic) Tradition This tradition draws on the observation of life being lived in its own natural environment. It involves the filmmaker learning about that life and its customs, much as an ethnographer does while in the field. But this tradition is more…