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Audience and Stereotypes

vikiwalden | Wednesday May 13, 2009

Categories: Other Topics, Documentaries, Audience / Stereotypes

There are two important things you must consider before producing a documentary: the audience and the subject.

The Subject

Representation basically means re-presenting something, you can not present something in the real. Cinema as a medium always represents what was happening in front of the camera when it was filming. Media representation is the depiction or manner of depiction of people, places and events through the media.

There are many issues with representation- has the person been represented fairly? There are often libel cases where people sue filmmakers - look at the recent Borat film for example. (Though this can also be a marketing ploy.)


Stereotypes are a subset of representation. A simplified or exaggerated representation taken to categorise a person or social group. Think about your ‘stereotypes’, what you do think when you think of a teenager, a mother, a pensioner? Do you think they are all like that.

Some directors choose to follow a harmonious path and stay within society’s stereotypes of a group, look at Nanook of the North overleaf.

Robert Flaherty - Nanook of the North (1921)

Others attempt to choose a radical path and use their documentary to destroy social stereotypes. Look at Michael Moore’s defensive representation of Marilyn Manson in Bowling for Columbine in contrast to the reputable Charlton Heston (or not so anymore!).

Michael Moore - Bowling for Columbine - Manson Interview (2002)


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