Television shows and movies ooze with research - both on the part of the writer(s) and the actors. Though there are hosts who rely on their researchers, there are also those who exert effort to do their own research. This step helps them:
- get information that hired researchers missed,
- build a good rapport with the interviewee, and
- conduct a good interview in the process
For instance, Oprah Winfrey would have not achieved remarkable success as a news anchor and television show host had she eschewed doing her own research about certain topics and public figures. According to entrepreneur and lifestyle coach Paul C. Brunson, in his interview with emotional intelligence expert and author Justin Bariso (2017), "Oprah spends a disproportionate amount of her time gathering information from communities of people outside of her core (different age groups, social classes, ethnicities, education levels, careers, etc.) and then she shares that information within her community." This kind of effort shows the necessary role of research in helping others and in raising social consciousness.
For their part, some film and TV actors would take time to interview detectives, boxers, scientists, business owners, criminals, and teachers, among others. Others even go through immersion to make them understand the issues of their respective characters better, such as living in jail or in a drug rehabilitation center. Many would read literature, biographies, or journals to have a better view or context of the story.
In her 2017 article about Daniel Day-Lewis, Lynn Hirschberg described how the multi-awarded actor prepared for his role as dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock in Paul Thomas Anderson's film, Phantom Thread. She wrote:
"To become Woodcock, Day-Lewis, who is 60, watched archival footage of fashion shows from the 1940s and ’50s, studied the lives of designers, and most important, learned to sew. He consulted with Cassie Davies-Strodder, then curator of fashion and textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. And for many months he apprenticed under Marc Happel, who is head of the costume department at the New York City Ballet, watching intently and then helping to reconstruct the famous Marc Chagall costumes for a production of Firebird. At the end of the ballet season, Day-Lewis decided he needed to build a couture piece from scratch."
Many people within and outside the entertainment industry tend to belittle what actors do or acting itself. However, professional thespians like Daniel Day-Lewis exert a great deal of effort to make their characters believable. The dedication they give to studying their roles involves a tremendous amount of research.
A number of films, theater plays, broadcast dramas, and online videos present stories based on real-life events and problems. A serious writer or content producer sees how vital research is in substantiating the context of the featured stories to entertain and/or educate audiences in different media platforms.
As Terry Freedman opined in "The Importance of Research for ICT Teachers" (2011): "Research can shed light on issues we didn’t even know existed, and can raise questions we hadn’t realised even needed asking." Thus, almost all writers of imaginary tales and non-fictive accounts do research, for doing so helps them create a good story and/or achieve strong credibility.
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