I was sitting on the plane back from Australia a little while back and in searching through the in-flight entertainment, a documentary caught my eye: Roger Federer, with the tagline, “Follow the Great Swiss champion from racket-throwing tennis brat to the perfectly composed world number one”. With excitement, I hoped this documentary would uncover some of the reasons why Federer shifted in his temperament so significantly. Sadly, it was just another documentary – retracing the history of his winnings, with nice interviews and great archive material. In fact, they never once mentioned his former temperament!
I really believe that if documentaries want to be taken seriously, they need to be able to uncover the depth and dynamics behind a concept, event or person, and as such move from being glorified history lessons into storymentaries that profile the stories of success, failure, performance and history that expose the magic behind the topic. Federder mentioned at one point, how after winning his first major, he suddenly found winning easier – that his focus, attention and performance levels suddenly got better … he reached a new level in the zone. The documentary did not explore this any further, BUT if it was a storymentary it would have!
Oh, I’m quite aware that “storymentary” is a poor reference word. Any other suggestions are welcome.