The Participant.

Introduction to Documentary

People were always looking for a hero to follow. And it does not matter if it is a romantic “antihero” created by Lord Byron or a savior from Marvel Comics. It should be someone who does something that other people usually will not do, or this hero would become a cause of unusual actions. The participatory mode in a documentary is a mode when a filmmaker is no longer an observer, but a direct participant. An author makes a story happen in a real life. The variety of forms which are included in the participatory mode allows a filmmaker to work with different themes and subjects. Creator’s possibilities are almost unlimited; starting from an essay and ending with a historical documentary, built on interviews and footage compilation.  The active position in a documentary behooves an author to be a distinctive person. Otherwise, a film is in a risk of being mediocre. 

Since the first time I have seen “The crocodile hunter” by Steve Irwin I felt the desire to create something as wonderful and amazing as he did. He was my television guru, my professional compass and simply the person I admired.  Steve Irwin was a phenomenon of a charismatic, emotional and desperate scientist, who was playing with death.  Millions of people were watching breathlessly “The crocodile hunter” and no one believed in that the accident could really happen.  For me he is the most outstanding filmmaker who did programs about wildlife.

No wonder why I would like to make a film in this mode. Of course, as I am not a zoologist I will not be able to shoot a documentary about animals. I am attracted by traveling around the World and I know that I can do my best to become at least 10% as interesting for people as Steve Irwin was. However, I am afraid that my personality is not bright enough to become a central figure in a film. That is why for now creating a documentary in the participatory mode is only a dream. Probably, once I will be confident and will accept a challenge.

Reflection on the Bill Nichol’s book “Introduction to Documentary” (2010).


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