The influence of the World Wide Web on documentary form, distribution, and audience relations : the cases of Sin by Silence and This is Not a Conspiracy Theory
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My dissertation focuses on the research question: How is the Internet facilitating changes in social documentary practice? More specifically, how are documentary makers rethinking documentary form, distribution, and audience relations? To shine light on this question, the dissertation examines the cases Sin by Silence and This is Not a Conspiracy Theory. To form the backdrop for understanding the case studies, the project examines the dominant discourses the trade press is using to explain what is changing in terms of form, distribution, and audience relations, providing a brief historical survey. The chapter focused on Sin by Silence uses a content analysis of social media to understand how the director used Facebook and Twitter accounts for a multitude of purposes. It argues that social media can be used to extend the narratives of films beyond the boundaries of the feature-length film and argues that the key idea of expansion can shed light on film form and audience relationships as well as the labor of the filmmaker. The case of This is Not a Conspiracy Theory demonstrates that participation and interaction can take place in the fields of distribution and funding as well as content generation, showing that an audience can be involved in a film from the very beginning throughout its life cycle. Both films demonstrate that a wide variety of media platforms can be used in the contemporary filmmaking landscape according to the requirements of the film project or energy and capabilities of the filmmakers. The rise of Internet culture and social media in particular has presented the opportunity for the audience to have a more active role in the pre-production, production, and post-production processes of filmmaking.