The Documentary Handbook: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Documentary Handbook

1st Edition

By Peter Lee-Wright


432 pages

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Paperback: 9780415434027
pub: 2009-12-02
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'The Documentary Handbook is mandatory reading for those who want a critical understanding of the place of factual formats in today’s exploding television and media industry, as well as expert guidance in complex craft skills in order to fully participate. The practical advice and wisdom here is second to none.' – Tony Steyger, Principal Lecturer, Southampton Solent University, UK

The Documentary Handbook is a critical introduction to the documentary film, its theory and changing practices. The book charts the evolution of documentary from screen art to core television genre, its metamorphosis into many different types of factual TV programme and its current emergence in forms of new media. It analyses those pathways and the transformation of means of production through economic, technical and editorial changes.

The Documentary Handbook explains the documentary process, skills and job specifications for everyone from industry entrants to senior personnel, and shows how the industrial evolution of television has relocated the powers and principles of decision-making. Through the use of professional Expert Briefings it gives practical pointers about programme-making, from research, developing and pitching programme ideas to their production and delivery through a fast-evolving multi-platform universe.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Talk to the Camera 1. Reportage 2. 'Lecture' Series 3. Vox Populi Part 2: Observe the People 4. Real Life 5. Docu-soap and Moc-doc 6. Ambulance Chasers 7. Undercover Expose 8. Freak Shows Part 3: Change the Mind 9. Education 10. Propaganda 11. Polemic 12. Liberation Part 4: Entertainment for All 13. Formats and Reality TV 14. Lifestyle and Makeover 15. Performance 16. Drama-doc 17. Art and Anarchy Part 5: Watch the Figures 18. Biopics 19. Wildlife and Environment 20. Landmarks 21. Box Office Conclusion Bibliography Filmography Index

About the Author/Editor

Peter Lee-Wright is a documentary film-maker with 30 years’ experience working for the BBC and Channel 4. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Media & Communications at Goldsmiths College, University of London. His most recent writing – critical overviews of sports documentary and trade union documentary – was published in Routledge’s Encyclopedia of the Documentary Film (2005).

About the Series

Media Practice

The Media Practice handbooks are comprehensive resource books for students of media and journalism, and for anyone planning a career as a media professional. Each handbook combines a clear introduction to understanding how the media work with practical information about the structure, processes and skills involved in working in today’s media industries, providing not only a guide on ‘how to do it’ but also a critical reflection on contemporary media practice.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / General
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / Direction & Production
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies