My first question ‘How old are you?’ was not useful on its own, but rather in relation to the other responses given. As I primarily shared my survey link in my peer group, 93% of the respondents were under 30. Consequently, when analysing the rest of the results it is important to keep in mind that this is the opinion primarily of people under 30. However, this does not make my research any less useful as my previous secondary research showed that this would be my main demographic.
As a documentary is not really swayed towards one gender or tother, this question was largely just for me to get a broader understanding of who was answering my survey. If I were to make a rom-com, then the gender of the respondents may affect what I include in my film, however with a documentary I want to present the facts regardless of who is watching. Obviously it will be aimed at adults as opposed to children, but the content would be largely the same whether the viewer is 18 or 50, male or female.
For this I wanted to get a sense of the level of education that my audience may have. Not for patronising purposes, but to better understand what the audience would find interesting. Someone in education may be watching to learn and expand their knowledge, however someone in full time work may simply enjoy watching documentaries as a hobby.
With this question I was pleasantly surprised with the percentage of people that regularly watch documentaries. 79% of those that took my survey had watched a documentary within the past month. This gives me reassurance in my secondary research that the young adult age group is the primary audience for documentaries.
As a documentary, I am pleased that the respondents have chosen ‘informative’ as the most important documentary quality (55%). I was somewhat surprised that ‘controversial’ was the next most popular with 18%, however in the growing age of social media and access to views and opinions of anyone with an internet connection, it is understandable that a growing amount of audiences want these alternative viewpoints to be explored further.
The respondents ordered the importance of elements in a documentary:
I feel that including a narrator is important to a lot of viewers (7/10) as it allows for the information to be spoon fed to them without them having to read or interpret everything that is shown on screen. This is not a bad feature for a documentary to have as it is important in most documentaries that the audience is kept coherent with the information they are being given. The next two, interviews and statistics, scored quite similarly with 55% and 52% respectively. Having interviews with experts in the field that you are exploring is a very simple way of giving the documentary an authoritative feel as an expert would be deemed as a trustworthy source. Similarly, having statistics is another way of making the film formal and informative, however it is also helpful for the viewer to compare numbers and facts to build a broader understanding in their head.
I was not shocked by the answers to this question, with 85% of all respondents stating that they were not aware of the decline in frog populations. This is quite troubling, however it is beneficial for me as I wanted to create something that had not been explored in great detail yet, so with this being a fairly untouched subject there is a lot of room for me to gather the most important and interesting facts and compile them into an original piece of media.
- 21: Informative
- 11: Interesting
- 9: Boring
- 3: David Attenborough
- 3: Factual
- 2: Fascinating
- 2: Shocking
- 49: Other (including):
- Knowledge Packed
The fact that 21 people chose the word informative is really quite clear that people expect a documentary to deliver information. Other popular words such as interesting, factual and fascinating are all aspects that I aim to include in my film. One word that I do not intend to incorporate is ‘boring’ which was the third most used word. I wish to subvert this expectation and make an extraordinarily informative and engaging documentary. I found it interesting that someone answered ‘tree’ as I think it is quite evident that when people think of an environmental documentary, very often they automatically think about trees and the ocean and forget about some of the smaller but just as important elements of the eco-system, such as the frogs.
For this question, I had a few people ask me why I had not included an option saying ‘neither’. However, I did this as I felt that this would be an easy cop-out answer for many people to chose, despite the majority of documentary films being made by men. I carried out some primary research using Rotten Tomatoes’ Top 100 Documentary Movies and analysed 50 of them. From this I found that 31/50 (62%) had a primarily male screen presence, 7/50 (14%) had a primarily female screen presence, and 12/50 (24%) had an even mix of both. Consequently, I feel as though the respondents have answered quite in line with what I would have expected, as the 24% of documentaries with a mixed male/female presence would have been split, bringing the female option up to 26% and the male option up to 73%.