Pendekatan Essai dan Naratif dalam Dokumenter
Pendekatan Essai dan Naratif dalam Dokumenter

There are two approaches that can be used in making documentaries, namely essay and narrative approaches. The essay and narrative approach in documentary has its own characteristics.

Essai and Narrative Approach in Documentary by Fachruddin (2012: 320):

Essai approach that focuses chronologically or thematically so that the meaning conveyed is easy to understand and interesting presentation. Meanwhile, the narrative approach uses conventional construction, namely three rounds of speech (beginning, middle, end).

Because it uses voice over only from the narrator, this kind of approach is only interesting when used to produce short documentary works. It could be no more than 30 minutes. Moreover, the audience may feel exhausted listening to the narrator's detailed explanations continuously.


The narrative approach is located here

In contrast to the essai approach, the narrative approach emphasizes three plays-like re-enactments. The narrative approach reinforces the human interest element and fosters empathy for the audience. The downside of this approach is that not all audiences have the same interpretation of the hidden message behind the reality shown.

Dynamics created so documentaries don't seem boring
Dynamics created so documentaries don't seem boring

According to Ayawaila, the dynamics of creativity can be fully poured to be able to lead the audience to keep an eye on the content of the film (, accessed on May 12, 2017).


Typical narrative approach

Generally, each content in the film requires a point of view, to explain from which side and who speaks in the film. Therefore, there is a need for a kind of character or character that will tell the content and message of the film, in a documentary is usually termed with a common thread of speech (the character that binds the whole story).

The characters used (documentary subjects) are also the main characters that bind the story as well as trigger emotions. His presence in the documentary explains the causal relationship. In addition, with the presence of documentary subjects, the audience is brought to the reality of the perspective of the documentary subject so that it has a new view of the topic discussed in the documentary.

By combining these two approaches, the author is able to place the subject in two positions at once, namely as a party that tells itself (in frame) and makes his voice as part of the narrator to tell the reality (out frame).

Also read:

This paper is part of the final thesis entitled "Application of The Combination of Essai and Narrative Approach in Documentary Scriptwriting 'Behind the Speed of the Iron Wheel'" by M. Brahmantya N. P..


Ayawaila, Gerzon R. 2008. Documentary: From Idea To Production. Written in Jakarta: FFTV-IKJ Press.

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