The Importance of Storytelling Within Documentary Films
Documentary films have long been exploring hard topics and tackling social issues. Oftentimes, filmmakers are compelled to expose the facts, but they neglect the importance of storytelling in their movies. Storytelling is an essential component of a hard-hitting documentary. It fosters a sense of connection with the audience, changes their opinions, and allows them to follow the characters on their journey.
If you have been uncertain about how storytelling should be worked into your documentary, you will be convinced by these reasons to prioritize it.
Connecting with the Audience
The most important reason why storytelling must be a priority in documentary films is that it is how your viewers will connect with the film. You may be tempted to make the core issue the central theme of the documentary, but it should also find a way to be relevant to your viewers.
A strong storytelling component in a documentary film makes it easier for your audience to follow you to a place where they otherwise wouldn’t be able to go. It connects them to the documentary film in a tangible way and engages them within the story. They are more likely to leave the viewing with a sense of having explored a topic fully, ready to work what they learned into their world.
When the audience is hooked on the story of the documentary film, they are more likely to change their opinion about the topic at hand. For example, a film about social injustice may prompt them to take more actions to stop systemic racism. A movie about climate change might encourage viewers to lessen their carbon footprint.
You can use the elements of good storytelling to convince your audience of your position, such as:
- Conflict or drama
- High stakes
The connection you forge with your audience through the narrative means of storytelling allows them to explore new ideas more readily. If you want people to take action regarding the issue you are portraying in the documentary, then you need to convince them that it is worthwhile by telling them a story they can connect to.
The Defined Character Arc
While many filmmakers believe that their only duty is to relay the facts, the truth is that viewers will watch the documentary with an eye for the characters. A character-driven film relays the arc of change that your subjects undergo throughout the film. They should not be the same person or in the same situation that they were at the beginning of the documentary.
This defined character arc makes it more likely that your audience will connect with the story you tell. The transformation of a character has long been a staple in fiction writing, but the same can also apply to documentary filmmaking. Create a movie with relevant characters that the audience can connect with, and you will have made a compelling documentary.
Developing Trust With Documentary Films
When your film tells a real story that encourages your audience to act, the connection you make with the audience slowly builds up their trust in you or your business. If you are a corporation making a documentary about your company, this storytelling component can lead to greater trust from your employees or your customers.
Either way, storytelling allows you to create a lasting relationship with your audience, in which they will be encouraged to take action to remain loyal customers or workers for the long haul.
Building a Personal Connection
Companies who want to use documentary filmmaking to impart wisdom to their customers need to have a keen eye for storytelling. One of the key ways that modern companies use videos to reach their clients is by building personal connections. This technique works across multiple industries and is one of the best reasons to consider the story you are telling as part of your documentary.
You may choose to tell the story of just one person or the company as a whole. Either way, you are facilitating a real connection that will last well beyond the credits at the end of the film.
Telling the Right Story in Documentary Films
A good documentary film should always tell a story, no matter what your end goal for the piece may be. If you need help creating a film that has a lasting story, then let Foundation Digital Media help you. We work with companies in the Washington, D.C., and Maryland areas to tell their stories in real and persuasive ways. Give us a call today to learn how we can help you craft a great story!