Documentary: Task 2 – Devise a Proposal for a Documentary Idea

Documentary project – Creating the idea

Project Aim:
To create a five-minute documentary on a subject of our choice, that is created to a professional standard – and follows the Sony competition rules and regulations.

My first ideas:
The first thing that I tried to determine was what would be a simple, yet effective, subject for a documentary. What subject would be easy for me to film in the time I set by my tutor?
Since I knew that my documentary was going to need to contain footage I film myself, as well as archive footage I would have the rights to, I thought perhaps a documentary about my hometown? (This idea seemed good, yet I couldn’t determine a goal for the documentary).
Then I thought how about my family? Showing the importance of family, which I have come recently to discover myself? This idea was a pleasant one, but when discussing with my tutor, Paul, who gave me the two most important questions to use in my project:
Why? (Why am I making this documentary?) and Who? (Who is this documentary for)
I found the flaw in my documentary. The first two ideas only answering one of those two questions. I found my mind unable to justify why my family would prove to be interesting, and how my family was any different to any other family. I then thought perhaps to do something I loved which was books. And maybe at book which mark an important part of my life. Once again this idea was going nowhere.
And for a final time I tried look for something else. I really wanted to do something interesting. A topic, or subject, that had not been done before – discovery something hidden, like the ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ documentary – which I consider a personal classic.
Though it seemed like wishful thinking – Fate was on my side.

My final idea:
It was at the beginning of November, and I was in my room chilling by listing to music on Youtube. I picked out a video – which I can’t remember for the life of me what it was – and a trailer advert came on.
It started off with the song ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ and Christmas. I began to watch believing it to be a cheerful film, and a comedy at that… I was wrong. It then began to get tense as two families got together at Christmas, they fell out with each other. Causing the young son to rip up his letter to Santa summoning an evil force.
I wanted to skip the trailer, which I did to then watch my chosen video. However every time I watched a video on YouTube the trailer kept coming on, so I watched it from start to finish. It sent a chill down my spine. After it finished, the trailer lingered in my head. So I looked up about it on the Internet – hoping to see a deeper explanation somewhere of what the film was about. Instead I discovered that Krampus was an ancient legend in German folklore. As I read up the legend, and what he does, I had a flashback to my primary school years where I was told the story in assembly of ‘Black Peter’ the helper of St Nick.
I felt that I had stumbled across something very interesting.
Krampus’s job was similar to St Nick’s (or Santa Clause as we known him in England) – except it was the opposite. Krampus punished the naughty children by leaving them a lump of coal, or whipping them, to pulling their hair out, to even taking them to his lair (in some versions he takes them to hell).
So I began to research even more, as I had found my documentary topic.
I discovered that Krampus had a celebration on the 5th December in Europe (the day before St Nickolas feast) called ‘Krampus Nacht’ (Krampus night) or ‘Krampuslauf’ (Krampus Run). Young men and boys dress up as Krampus going through town looking for naughty boys and girls. It seems to be a big tourist attraction as well as an annual tradition. It was pretty easy finding information on line.
Yet I knew that I couldn’t just go on Internet information alone for my documentary. I needed book references as well.
Surprisingly I only managed to find two book containing Krampus. One was ‘The book of Christmas’ from the ‘The Enchanted World’ series. He was called ‘Knecht Ruprecht’, the elvish companion of St Nickolas. And in my copy of ‘The Elemental Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft’ by Judika Illes, Krampus has nearly two pages worth of information.
I had all ready begun to record information in my notebook, and it just seem to keep on filling. And though I had my reason for creating this documentary, and whom it was for, I felt that I had no real plan yet. I knew what needed to be captured for the documentary, but there was no narrative structure.
Once again Paul helped me out. He told me of a plan that he uses which is simply a time line. As we discussed what could take place, I soon determined my opening, and next piece. Yet I couldn’t seem to come up with a conclusion.
I revisited my notes. And I knew that conclusion had to tie up the documentary. The narrative to documentary was that the opening said ‘hey, listen this is important’. The middle said ‘this is why it’s important’. And then the ending says ‘this is important, and now you know why’.
And when looking at my Krampus notes again – did I see my conclusion.
When you first glance at Krampus he is all horror, and gloom. And to an extent he is… but there is a shred of light to this Christmas bogeyman. He only punishes the naughty children. There is no mention of him touching the good children. Nor does he tempt them. And most importantly he appears to punish children accordingly, never over punishing them. To me is a typical anti-hero, and this is what I want to show in my documentary.
But I also want to express a more symbolic lesson to Krampus. To me he is about looking at who we are as a person, and if we are not being as nice as we can be. Then we need to confront those aspects, and take responsibility for it even if we don’t like the punishment.
And as I like to believe – ‘What is to be deserved, shall be received.’

My plan is for this documentary is to be a mixture between an Observational and Participatory (see Task one for the ‘the 6 modes of documentary style’). I will be presenting both what I have discovered, while trying to bring my own point across of Krampus being an ‘Anti-hero’ rather than a monster.

My genre aim is a mixture between Horror, Historical, and Fantasy. For the following reason:
Horror – Krampus is a Christmas bogeyman
Historical – looking at an actual legend of German folklore
Fantasy – a legend, a fairy tale to make children behave

My Audience will be older teens and adults, who have an interest in the macabre, and mysterious. As well as fans of the dark fantasy genre.

My intended aim is to explain who Krampus is, and what his job is. I feel that he is an interesting character – a force that is to be feared and respected.

This documentary will not require a tremendous budget. Since the footage I’ll be recording will be at college, and I’ll be working alone. And the footage for Krampus Night – which usually takes place in Europe, or some parts of america, will be used from YouTube. And with research the information is available through the internet, and book – all of which I will state in my blog, and whom the original owners are (For copyright research see task 3).
I feel that this documentary will be possible to take place, as the documentary is primarily made up of found footage. Leaving me more time to film my self interview shots.