Dancing Outlaw: Ethical Issues In Documentary Film

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There are a lot of things that need to be taken into consideration when making a documentary film. One common issue that arises with documentary filmmaking is ethical issues. When people go to see documentaries, they are usually looking to be informed on some kind of topic, but some filmmakers might not use the most ethical approach to achieve that goal. Documentaries can “stand for or represent the views of individuals, groups, and institutions” (Nichols, 45). This can lead to issues later, because if a filmmaker’s documentary shows a person in a different light then the way they see themselves, they are not going to be too happy. Though it may seem that be honesty and true to your subject is what most people would want to do, sometimes it’s not as clear to people what your intentions are. One example of this is Jacob Young’s documentary Dancing Outlaw. In this documentary, we are introduced to Jesco White and his family that live-in Boone County. Throughout the documentary we learn a lot of unsavory …show more content…
At one point in the interview that Young did, he talks about how there was a time that he and his sound guy felt that Jesco was not in the right state of mind and excused themselves. Documentary filmmakers must be careful with this, because depending on what the doc subject matter might be the filmmakers might have to deal with some sketchy people. It’s up to the filmmakers to know when they need to remove themselves from the situation. While getting a violent shot on camera might give your film that added effect, filmmakers should know that if things begin to turn south they should not intervene and remove themselves from the situation to make sure that no one in the crew gets hurt. If I were in a bad situation like this, I would do my best to get me and my crew to a safe space. As much as I love to get a good shot, I value my friends and crew members

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