Fly-on-the-wall documentarists: a dying breed?



Kilborn R (1997) Fly-on-the-wall documentarists: a dying breed?. Continuum : Journal of Media and Cultural Studies, 11 (1), pp. 43-53.

First paragraph: Over the last three decades the term 'fly-on-the-wall' (hereafter FoW) has been used with increasing frequency to describe or promote those documentaries which claim to provide probing exposés of people, institutions and events. The particular expectation of a FoW account is that it will be based on meticulous observation and that the observer will remain an unobtrusive quasi-invisible presence during the recording process. The assumption here is that if the documentarist's presence goes virtually unnoticed by those whose actions and words are being recorded, then the resulting account will vibrate with the spontaneity of 'lived experience' -- especially if the sense of non-intervention is further enhanced by not introducing a potentially intrusive narrator figure.

Continuum : Journal of Media and Cultural Studies: Volume 11, Issue 1

Publication date31/12/1997
PublisherTaylor and Francis

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Professor Richard Kilborn

Professor Richard Kilborn

Honorary Professor, Communications, Media and Culture