Compare the main codes and conventions of “Killing with Kindness” and the docusoap “Faking It”

I have chosen to study a stag hunting documentary “Killing with Kindness” and the docusoap “Faking It”. These two documentaries are very different from each other in some aspects but similar in others. This makes them fairly easy to compare.

One is a docusoap and the other is a classic nature/wildlife documentary. Although there are the main and obvious contrasts they both follow the guidelines a documentary should. They both tell a good story and this is vital when targeting wide audiences. Both documentaries are aiming to develop the audiences knowledge, Faking it aims to inform people of a certain character while killing with kindness aims to inform people of a situation. During both documentaries they reach a confrontation, which climaxes and resolves. In Faking It this is when there is a question over whether or not the main character can fake their way through the situation. In Killing With Kindness it is when both sides of the argument are questioned and the discussion becomes heated.

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Both documentaries present the subject they are centring their documentary on very differently. Stag hunting takes a formal approach and we can see this in the type of music and camera angles used to introduce the different points of view. Whereas Faking It takes a modern more up beat approach when introducing it’s main characters, again we see this in the music and camera angles used.

The codes are also very different. Only now are people realising that the dry and stuffy documentaries that used to dominate the documentary industry are out of fashion and the new funky, modern, entertaining documentaries are IN. The ideology of boring, stuffy and dull fits in with Killing with Kindness and the new funky ideology fit’s in with Faking It. This is the main reason have chosen to study them because we have the contrast of old and new.

Faking It is a docusoap that places one main character in a situation that is unusual. This character then has to fake their position in this situation whilst in front of a panel of judges their aim is to fool the judges.

At the beginning of Faking It we are introduced to Malcolm Woodcock, or Woody, as he prefers to be called. He is 30 years old and has a manicunian accent. Our first impressions of him are not good. He is wearing black clothes and is covered in piercings and tattoos and his hairstyle is completely out of the ordinary. The music used to introduce him is heavy metal this immediately gives us the impression he is a ruffian and time waster. As woody cycles to meet his challenge at Beaufort Polo club, we hear opera music playing in the background we also hear woody’s thoughts this suggested to me that woody now that he is in his new surroundings things are changing; his attitude, feelings, the type of person he is and the class of people he will be mixing with.

The makers of this program are trying to show us that woody doesn’t fit in and that he will look ridiculous when he meets his teachers for the first time. As faking it continues we see that the music changes when we see woody try different things. Like when he changes his image to fit in with the polo players the music is funky and has an up-beat tempo. When woody gets on a horse for the first time and attempts to ride it the music changes to a comical tune, which mocks his inability to ride a horse.

The narrator gives us a little background information on woody. The narrator is male and has a posh upper class tone to his voice, this tone fits in with the class of people who play polo and as the docusoap progresses you become more aware of this. The narrator seems to be an informative man but as I watched I felt he was trying to show us the bad points of both Woody and the polo players. The way in which he narrates is different from conventional documentaries because he gives his opinion this type of narrating gives us no room to make up our own minds and can make people feel pressured into making a decision. Throughout woody’s first match the narrator uses a condescending tone and the match is accompanied by a light-hearted non-digetic sound. This gives us the feeling that the match woody was playing in was not serious.

Later on in the program we are introduced to the people who will be teaching woody his polo skills. His aim is to play in a match of polo and fool the world-class judges. The music used to introduce the polo players is classical, this gives us the impression they are posh people with a lot of money. Both of the teachers are well spoken and this can be reflected back to the game of polo which is played mostly by people ho have excessive amounts of money and are posh.

Casper is the first of woody’s teachers; he is blonde, has a posh accent, dresses well and mixes with the royals. We can see the contrast in the shots used to introduce woody and Casper. Woody is introduced to us playing pool whereas Casper is introduced to us in the polo club. This gives us the contrast in class to look at and the ways the shots are taken shows are the difference in their social lives. This creates the feeling that woody is nothing when compared to Casper.

The text uses woody’s video diaries this gives a more personal relationship with woody but Casper does not have a video diary so we are given the impression that we are meant to take him much more seriously because of his social life and his position in the polo club.

During the Cartier International match Woody is introduced to a new class of people and invited to eat a �100 a head meal. A lady on his table announces in her posh accent that she’s never met a polo player with a posh accent before. The text has now become a battle of the classes a normal working class boy and the upper class polo players. This has now given us our gripping narrative.

There is a lot of intense pressure before the match and we get the feeling that woody is feeling nervous, worried and scared. We are made to feel like this through the tense music build up before the match and the use of extreme close ups of woody.

Killing with kindness is a documentary about stag hunting. Its purpose is to visit people living in the countryside and discuss their views for and against the sport.

The narrator for this documentary is very informative and looked at both sides of the argument. He was descriptive throughout and he was able to give us facts on the laws that are present and past. As the documentary progress he begins to make you feel guilty and pictures of stags in their natural surroundings appear and the non-digetic music is sad and depressing these back up the narrators points of view and you feel sympathy for the animals.

The title Killing with kindness immediately gets us involved with the documentary. It leaves the decision to us as to whether or not we choose to support the views of people for the sport and those against. The title faking it gives us a less serious view of the documentary and this can be reflected back into the type of documentary it is.

The people who are interviewed for their views on stag hunting do not look into the camera they look straight past to the interviewer. This makes the viewers feel as thought they are certain of their views and aren’t giving them to become a television star. This is less obtrusive for the viewer and the views are more suggestive rather than compulsory.

The text of this film is informative and wouldn’t appeal to a large audience like faking it would. This type of documentary would interest people who are of a specific class and age. However nowadays the debate for stag hunting has widened and maybe more people would be interested.

The camera angles of the stags up on the hill are used to close the documentary and sad music is played which could be seen persuasive. The people who have discussed their views are heard re-reading what they have said and this leaves us with the big final decision.

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