Thursday, August 20, 2009

See a 'broken narrative' structure unfold

Watch this Frontline video and see what Jacqui called a "broken narrative" structure as it works in a video documentary.

The first few minutes put you in the middle of the most important part of the narrative, the moment when something big is going to happen. Then the story shifts from narrative to exposition -- of characters, of the conflict, of the how-we-got-here background -- and back to narrative. It's fascinating to watch how well-constructed it is.

And what I always think about when I watch this is: Through deep reporting and excellent visual storytelling skills, Frontline has turned a story about pieces of paper and computer screens and people in meetings into an edge-of-your-seat drama. And it's all true.