As I write my draft for this week’s writing prompt, I wonder: what makes a documentary valuable? Is a documentary valuable when it’s able to shock, entertain, inform? Is it valuable when it has excellent cinematography? Do truth and facts really matter? Or is it all about selling a story to viewers?

If you’re like me, you’ve been noticing more and more documentaries and docuseries available via your favorite streaming services over the past few years. And you’ve been watching them too. Why? 

One reason: The algorithms of streaming services themselves have a lot to do with documentaries becoming more popular. They suggest docuseries like Conversations with a Killer:The Ted Bundy Tapes to viewers who enjoy shows with serial killers and murder mysteries, for example.  

A second reason: Documentarians are starting to adopt techniques from scripted movies, making the overall documentary-making process and final documentaries they produce more creative. 

But what does this all mean for the documentaries we’re consuming nowadays? 

Is truth being sacrificed in modern-day documentaries for a more creative and engaging story? So is truth being sacrificed for entertainment, in other words?

Or are documentaries becoming more valuable because they’re becoming more engaging? Ultimately, if a documentary isn’t engaging, people won’t pay attention to it.  

According to research shared on documentary.org by the International Documentary Association, most documentarians feel more optimistic about opportunities in their chosen field now compared to previous years. Most of them also describe themselves as social-issue advocate filmmakers and say “the impact on social issues” is what’s most meaningful to them about documentary work. 

Funding for and revenue from documentary work seems widely inconsistent too, which indicates to me that documentary work really is passion-project type work. Meaning, you don’t really get into making documentaries to make money and be rich. 

However, as documentaries and docuseries are starting to trend up, market researchers are analyzing data to try and provide recommendations for documentary filmmakers on how to make their work attractive to the market. 

Ultimately, the most important dialogue I want to have right now is: As documentaries and docuseries become more and more popular, will the entertainment value they offer begin to outweigh their informative and social value? 

What are your thoughts? What do you think makes a documentary valuable? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page to join this dialogue. 

SOURCES

Premium content subscribers: see tips for engaging in this dialogue about what makes a documentary valuable below. 


Are you working on a draft for this week’s writing prompt and want to chat about it or share it with us? Join our Facebook Group for Daily Drafts & Dialogues Writers, or join the Forum on this site.

And feel free to tag @kecreighton on social: FacebookTwitterInstagram, or Medium to chat about this week’s writing prompt too.

Commit to writing. For good. Today.

Subscribe here at no cost, to get notified when new Daily Drafts & Dialogues posts are published.

Keep scrolling to access Premium Daily Drafts & Dialogues content, to help inspire you to write today. And for good. Or to make a donation.

Write. For Good. Today. And Every Day After That.

Subscribe below to uncover the writing inspiration you need to write today. And for good.

Access this content when you subscribe today.

Commit to writing.

For Good.

For only $7.55 per month, you’ll get:

  • Access to all Daily Drafts & Dialogues premium content located at the bottom of daily posts. Daily Drafts & Dialogues premium content will motivate you to continue to hone your daily writing craft, for good. Premium content will include additional writing tips, writing techniques, writing tools, writing inspiration, writing exercises, and more.
  • Opportunities to enter drawings for giveaways for books, swag, and other stuff writers and socially aware individuals like you love.
  • Additional special offers and information about things that you’ll care about, as you’re writing for good.

15% of all subscriber fees go toward valuable literacy and social initiatives that subscribers get a chance to vote on.

One-Time
Monthly
Yearly

Make a one-time donation to support the Daily Drafts & Dialogues blog and writers who are writing for good.

Daily Drafts & Dialogues writers are committed to honing their craft daily, for good. And they’re committed to writing for good, to support valuable literacy and social initiatives. 

15% of all donations and subscriber fees go toward valuable literacy and social initiatives. Follow the blog at no cost, and @kecreighton on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Medium for additional information as it becomes available.

Make a monthly recurring donation to support the Daily Drafts & Dialogues blog and writers who are writing for good.

Daily Drafts & Dialogues writers are committed to honing their craft daily, for good. And they’re committed to writing for good, to support valuable literacy and social initiatives. 

15% of all donations and subscriber fees go toward valuable literacy and social initiatives. Follow the blog at no cost, and @kecreighton on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Medium for additional information as it becomes available.

Make a yearly recurring donation to support the Daily Drafts & Dialogues blog and writers who are writing for good.

Daily Drafts & Dialogues writers are committed to honing their craft daily, for good. And they’re committed to writing for good, to support valuable literacy and social initiatives. 

15% of all donations and subscriber fees go toward valuable literacy and social initiatives. Follow the blog at no cost, and @kecreighton on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Medium for additional information as it becomes available.

Choose an amount:

$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00
$5.00
$15.00
$100.00

Or enter a custom amount:

$

Thank you. Your contribution is appreciated!

Thank you. Your contribution is appreciated!

Thank you. Your contribution is appreciated!

DonateDonate monthlyDonate yearly