TWO Documentaries That Influenced My Documentary Idea

Question: Name two documentary productions (and their directors) who have directly influenced your documentary idea this trimester. Explain how they have influenced you, is it their approach to the subject, interview style, story structure, or art direction etc.

My Documentary Idea – Carney Complex


My idea for my documentary is about Rhys’ life and his mother, who has an extremely rare disease called Carney Complex. The idea is to show his life and struggles that he has taking care of his mother.

1. Bill Cunningham New York (2010) – Richard Press

Coverage Style

The coverage of Bill Cunningham at his work. Constantly on his feet and constantly moving (Bill Cunningham, 2010)

As stated above, the coverage plan shows Bill Cunningham always on the move and on his feet. My subject matter Rhys, is also always on the move, taking care of his sick mother and his son. The reason why I chose to do a similar coverage for my subject matter is because I want to capture and show that his daily life is restless, and that he is always on the go. He rarely gets a break. But when he does, he is uncomfortable, pretty much like Richard Press’s coverage of Bill Cunningham. This style of coverage is perfect for capturing his daily, chaotic routine.

Interview Style

The interview coverage is showing each individual and their lifestyle at their own respective places (Bill Cunningham, 2010)

While it may seem to the naked eyes that it is just a standard interview coverage, people who are around Bill’s life has a more lavish, je ne sais quoi-esque framing that shows who they are, their lifestyles and what they do, in comparison to Bill’s contrasting work/living condition and lifestyle.

Rhys’ home. (Fedya, 2016)

Basically my idea for the interview is to also show the contrasting lifestyle that my subject matter Rhys is having, in comparison to his friends, relatives, etc through the interviews coverage. That way, this contrast would capture his chaotic life while sub-consciously condensed many information of the subject matter’s and the other interviewees lifestyles and living conditions.

2. That’s Not Funny (2014) – Mike Celestino

Politically Filtered Humour

Screenshot from the documentary (That’s Not Funny, 2014)

Initially my idea was just to only cover Rhys’ life and his struggles on taking care of his sick mother. As time went by, I began to notice that he kept of making jokes about his mother’s disease and condition. Whenever he gets the chance. In fact, he even made fun of his own mental health issues and his relationship issues.

I’ve been friends with Rhys for more than a year now, and at first I felt very uncomfortable whenever he does that. Till I watched “That’s Not Funny”. Mike Celestino, who is the director and also the narrator of the documentary slowly goes up the chain of comedy material, ranging from slapstick comedy to something as sensitive as picture above. He discussed about the comedians behind those humours, their usages and the conflicts that they have caused by it. After watching it and as times goes by, I slowly starting to realise that the reason why Rhys is joking and making fun of his life, is because that is his own way of coping with it.

Instead of just simply documenting his chaotic and restless life, I chose to also add how he uses humour to deal with it.


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