Filmmaking courses for scientists help overcome linear narratives

As more scientists-as-filmmakers and other non-professional science filmmakers are emerging, the diversity in narrative structures and documentary modes has dropped significantly as can be seen for instance in the Fast Forward Science video selection 2019 (see our article here). Since the linear narrative of »Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion« (IMRAD) is predominant when communicating scientific work, scientists tend to apply this same narrative structure due to force of habit when making a video.
 
The same is true for the documentary modes poetic, expository, observational, participatory, reflexive and performative. Without training the expository mode which is closest to scientific narratives is chosen most often.
 
Two recent papers by Samer Angelone, Ramón C. Soriguer and Ana Melendo looked at whether filmmaking courses for scientist had any impact on the chosen narrative structure and the documentary mode for videos made by scientists. The answer is ‘yes’ in both cases, no matter what type of filmmaking course was attended as long as it entailed a lecture in narrative structures and documentary modes.
 
After the filmmaking course the documentary mode chosen for videos by the scientists shifted significantly. The expository mode fell by almost half, and surprisingly the poetic mode gained more than 70%.
 
For the narrative structure the authors write: »The filmmaking courses also dramatically increased the number of types of narratives that participants would consider using. Filmmaking courses for scientists help scientists-as-filmmakers make a clean break from linear narrative structures in favor of other more varied structures.«
 
The lead author of the studies, Samer Angelone, has affiliations with the University of Córdoba in Spain and the University of Zurich in Switzerland, and is the festival director of the Global Science Film Festival. (sg)
 
Original sources:
Samer Angelone, Ramón C. Soriguer & Ana Melendo (2019):
»Filmmaking courses for scientists help promote richer alternatives to chronological narratives«, Studies in Higher Education, April 15, 2019
 
Samer Angelone, Ramón C. Soriguer & Ana Melendo (2019):
»Modes of documentary films produced by the future generation of ‘scientists-as-filmmakers’«, International Journal of Science Education, Part B, August 24, 2019
 

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