It's Theory, and Yet Somehow It's Accessible
"Kill the Documentary as We Know It" by Jill Godmilow.
1. Don't produce "real" time and space: your audience is in a movie theatre, in comfortable chairs.
2. Don't produce the surface of things: have a real subject and a real analysis -- or at least an intelligent proposition – that is larger than the subject of the film. If you forget to think about this before starting to shoot, find it in the editing room, and then put it in the film, somehow.
3. Don’t produce freak shows of the oppressed, the different, the criminal, the primitive. Please don't use your compassion as an excuse for social pornography. Leave the poor freaks alone.
4. Don’t produce awe for the rich, the famous, the talented, the highly successful: they are always everywhere and we feel bad enough about ourselves already. The chance to envy, or hate them, in the cinema doesn't help anybody.
5. Don’t make films that celebrate "the old ways" and mourn their loss. Haven’t you yourself enjoyed change? How are the "old ways" people different from you?
6. Keep an eye on your own middle-class bias, and on your audience's: don’t make a film that feeds it. Remember that you are producing human consciousness in people who are very susceptible to suggestion... and alone in the dark.
7. Don't address an audience of "rational animals": we have not yet evolved beyond the primitive urges of hatred, violence, and exploitation of the poor and the weak.
8. Try not to exploit your social actors: just being seen in your film is not enough compensation for the use of their bodies, voices and experience.
9. Whatever you do, don't make "history". If you can't help yourself, try to remember that you’re just telling a story -- and at the very least, find a way to acknowledge your authorship.
10. Watch that music: what's it doing? who is it conning?
11. Leave your parents out of this.