Bowling together : The making of a documentary Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kw52jd461

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  • In an attempt to better understand documentary theory and production, I created Bowling Together; a documentary recounting the experiences of one bowling team and looking at the relationship between participation in bowling leagues and civil society. This thesis provided me a first-hand experience at producing a documentary, allowing me to draw conclusions about civil society, documentary theory and documentary production. The idea of the community strength within civic associations is well documented by many researchers looking at the idea of civil society. However, a potential connection between league participation and the family unit could be seen within Bowling Together through the experiences of one team as most participants were introduced to bowling through family members and many felt the act of bowling together in leagues helped strengthen their family bonds. The connections felt by these individuals reveal a potential connection that could be explored in later research. While documentaries may serve many different purposes, they all attempt to make an argument from the evidence they collect. Within Bowling Together the argument revolves around the connection between family and participation in bowling leagues. The focus of documentary films on arguments differs from most other film productions because the documentary filmmaker uses evidentiary editing, focusing on the evidence to create an argument instead of continuity editing which works to create an aesthetically pleasing product that flows well visually. The fact that each documentary makes an argument about something can be coupled with the idea that no documentary can be truly objective. The process of creating a documentary includes many decisions such as what to film, how to film it, and how to structure the argument, and each decision represents a subjective choice. A documentary cannot be measured in terms of objectivity, but levels of subjectivity. Finally, creating a documentary requires an abundance of preparation in order to adjust for problems that may arise during the production. The documentary filmmaker has little control over many factors of production and even less control on the subject and in order to create a documentary, I had to accept this lack of control and work with what I had. What happens in front of a camera represents what happened and a documentary filmmaker cannot change it, only work with what they have.
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