The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality. – Susan Sontag

Documentaries – Engaging Real Life

"BolexH16". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

“BolexH16”. Licensed under public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Documentaries are finding increasing favor with audiences. Some pundits think it’s because cable television introduced the art form to a mass audience. We think the reason is much simpler. Documentaries don’t follow formulas. The audience never knows when the story will take a dramatic turn because these films are about real life, about seeing the world from someone else’s perspective. Documentaries are the only adventures you can have without getting up from your chair. Experience the sights and sounds of exotic places, learn about a way of life unimaginable to most of us, discover the unthinkable, unknowable, and unpredictable as it unfolds before your eyes.

At Chris Jones & Associates, we no longer shoot 16mm film, however we continue to create documentaries about people and buildings, adventures and companies, poverty and technology.

The structure of a documentary matches the story being told. Some unfold through interviews and others by making the camera a fly on the wall. At Chris Jones & Associates, we enjoy the thrill of searching for what is enlightening or transforming about the subject at hand. Whether we are distilling 100 years into ten minutes or telling a visually moving story with still photos, we strive to produce stories that engage audiences while educating and informing them.

We create award-winning programs whether it’s a short film designed for internal company use or a feature-length documentary intended for the general public.

Documentary projects in which we played a major role include:

  • 3M – 10 minute documentary approach to 3M’s environmental history
  • Ameriprise (IDS Financial Services) – 40 minute documentary celebrating the company’s centennial
  • Aviation Foundation of America – One hour documentary celebrating the birth of the commercial aviation industry
  • Hotel Pattee – 1/2 hour documentary celebrating the town of Perry Iowa, and the Hotel Pattee’s role in the town’s history
  • International Television Association – 1/2 hour documentary celebrating the birth of the video communication industry
  • Landmark Center – 1/2 hour documentary celebrating the building’s centennial
  • Lead Dog Productions Feature-length documentary titled “Poles Apart,” about Ann Bancroft’s first attempt to cross Antarctica
  • Lifetouch – 40 minute documentary celebrating the company’s 70th anniversary
  • Patterson Companies – History documentary for a CEO retirement
  • Minnesota Historical Society – History documentary and fund-raiser
  • Northwest Area Foundation – Documentary exploring the challenges of those living in Miner County, South Dakota

Documentary Approach to Video

Many corporate training, education, sales and marketing programs feature a documentary approach although they are not, strictly speaking, documentary programs. These are typically programs in which interviews with real people and supporting b-roll play a key role. We have created a number of these types of documentary style programs for training and other purposes.

Many of these programs are proprietary in nature, and so cannot be shared. However – here are a few which can be viewed through links:

  • Parenting Principles features an interview with a subject matter expert and a diverse set of parents. This was a Chris Jones & Associates production for Learning ZoneXpress.
  • Building Community features interviews with students which are interwoven with scripted vignettes and narration. Chris Jones served as the scriptwriter, interviewer and director on this project. This was a McCoy & Associates production for 360 Stay Safe.
  • Encouraging Moral Development in Children features structured role play to elicit documentary style comments from teenagers. This was a Chris Jones & Associates production for Learning ZoneXpress.

Contact Us for Audio Video Production Services

Chris Jones & Associates would be happy to provide you with a free initial consultation or proposal. Please either call us at (612) 272-0547 or contact us via email. We look forward to working with you.