The director uses music, or the lack of it, in conjunction to the time of day and the part of the story to subtlety tweak a viewer’s emotions. During the beginning of the documentary and later on, when Bill’s life looks difficult and the most unappetizing they employ the night time, copious amounts of grunts and swears, along with a distinct lack of music to emphasize that he’s delivering in a dangerous location or he’s in a less than joyful mood.
Further in, we get a feel that the establishment he delivers for is a hip and cool place by switching to daylight and giving us a bass laden jazz track in the background despite the paper plates all over the front of restaurant. It feels as if the director wants us to suddenly feel as if the job is “cool,” despite the previously articulated dangers.
Utilizing softer post-punk music and changing the shots to be at night again, the director make us feel empathetic towards Bill when he talks about needing to crash at a friend’s place and his being “house-less.”
At the end the director makes us feel happy for him through utilizing a switch back to daylight, a close up of his face, more inspirational music background, and the voice over in which he tells us that is what he wants to be doing and even fading into white(as opposed to black, the dichotomy of night and day) with the same music in a very gradual crescendo. The story tells Bill’s life, ups and downs, and does so with the ups and downs of the music and sunlight. I think it does a pretty good job at that. As for a call to action, I didn’t feel one at all throughout the entirety of the documentary.
Considering my group’s documentary, we could utilize these techniques to emphasize the good and the bad of our subject’s career. Perhaps we wouldn’t change so much in the way of the lighting, but we can certainly change the music based on where in the story we are and the mood we’re trying to set. If there is a really emotional scene, it would be best to shoot it in a darker place to cast a shadow over the mood, much like our subject’s feelings.