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CT&D #79. Documentary Production: Feasibility

Original Proposal – Reworded Summary (week 3):

I have decided to select my second of three ideas I had posted previously in producing a documentary for the student’s abstract on social media (to film businesspeople in a boardroom). Given the issue that the thesis focuses on is social media not being properly utilized by businesses/organizations for statistical purposes, it is important to show businesspeople and those unaffiliated with how similar or different every approach is in formulating a decision behind utilizing or not utilizing the tool. Thus, the market I’m targeting in positioning my idea is directly where the thought process originates, evolves and is ultimately executed.

Filming the behaviors and actions of what goes on within a company or business is not too commonplace; however, this unconventional format will allow for the answering of questions raised by the thesis (i.e. What stigma or why is there such associated with social media that makes it the target of “superficial” and “tokenistic” use?) by examining the (revealing) behaviors the lead to a business determining its decision. Equally important would be making the documentary engaging and to shed light on the decision-makers to give viewers a different angle or perspective (or to elicit a reaction from the audience; maybe this “feedback” will convince companies to reconsider their treatment of neglecting social media use). The student in his thesis claims that “specific information is being kept away from the public.” Why not challenge this statement and film the response this?

Looking at my thesis proposal, I very strongly feel that it is a solid concept that can be realistically executed without compromising the vision of the student’s abstract. Despite worries of the focus on the social media issue itself being lost in favor of showing the business practices in contrast to one another, I do reiterate that my goals are to demonstrate why and how social media isn’t being used properly by concentrating on both these aspects altogether.

The addition of confessionals (or interviews) are meant to corroborate or give evidence to the decisions made on part of businesses concerning social media use. Ultimately, one (of many) end-goals is to galvanize viewers into being open minded about using the tool as demonstrated by a company that does indeed use it (or maybe one that decides to should a boardroom conversation show flexibility on changing their marketing strategy). Showing this thought process is key to allowing the student’s issue to be looked at in-depth and impacting/changing the stances of the industries that have neglected to use social media for their benefit. Feasibility-wise, I definitely have the skills and knowledge to produce such a documentary. I proudly will say that I have spent time refining my level of video-editing while studying for master’s degree because even prior, I was familiar with the practice and some of the key functions needed to perform.

Newer skills such as lighting, camera-work and sound design are also in my arsenal, all of which I have the confidence to handle at this point in my studies. Concerning my knowledge in the area of social media (which is a lot), I will have an easy time knowing exactly what I would be looking for upon filming these boardroom meetings as far as the professional uses for them, arguments against and so forth. In addition, my sense of how productions like these are constructed as a viewer of documentaries and reality TV (competitions) is somewhat unparalleled; I do not only observe the format, I digest it. I read up and listen to podcasts that cover the “behind the scenes” stuff. I’m no expert but I’m very well informed about the production processes.

One topic I think that I would benefit from in making this documentary stand out is speech logic or the art of debating. I say this because part of the intent to make this documentary is to sway minds and argue a case for why social media is useful for companies to adopt for their marketing purposes. As decision-makers sometimes cannot argue rationally and/or commit fallacies in shutting down an idea, it would be crucial to know and highlight the differences between a good arguer for or even against social media vs. a bad arguer outright. Knowing this dichotomy will also help me structure the viewpoints more distinctively to the viewing audience. Lastly, based from what I remember in my research, the length of time to develop and produce this thesis is highly dependent on who I’m working with and the barriers that may arise from such.

Getting permission to film the usually private workplace meeting will pose as a challenge. More so, having these people “confess” their thoughts will be difficult on their end because I neither want to end up with a heavily guarded answer nor do I want offensive comment that could be perceived as such. Nonetheless, if I could film 4 or 5 different boardrooms (all discussing social media use) and meticulously construct the interviews, a project like this may as well take 2 to 3 months to produce. This includes pre-production setup and story-editing in post. I even liken this to how long it could take to produce my own individual thesis with a somewhat similar setup.

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