Trailer for documentary film about Google, “Don’t Be Evil, The Documentary.”
Production is underway for a documentary film about the business practices of Google. As you can tell from the title alone, and certainly from the teaser, this documentary is not going to be friendly toward Google. The producers tell me they plan to include Google’s side of the story but certainly the producer’s side is that Google sucks.
DOCUMENTARY FILMS WANT TO MAKE A POINT
Unlike standard journalism, documentary films rarely strive to be objective. (Okay, we could certainly argue that TV news these days is NOT trying to be objective but they are supposed to and by golly it sure irks me that they don’t.)
However, it is expected that docs take a stand and try to prove a point. Now it is my personal preference with the vast majority of subjects that documentaries try to be as objective and accurate as possible, but sometimes I think that is just me.
In this case, the producers are trying to show that Google has too much power over the lives and fortunes of business owners and that Google uses that power in an irresponsible, unethical way. The trailer features several business owners talking about how Google ruined their businesses unfairly. One compares Google’s business practices to extortion by the Mafia.
It will be interesting to see precisely how they handle Google’s side of the story. As someone with lots of experience in video storytelling, trust me when I say that even if the producers devote considerable screen time to Google PR reps, that does not mean Google will come out looking rosey.
Often the best way to destroy someone’s argument in a video documentary is to let them present it, then edit it together with so much contradictory material that the audience can only conclude that their side is BS.
This can be a delicate storytelling balance. I consider editorial decisions along this line to be one of the most critical responsibilities of the documentary filmmaker. I always wanted to be fair and find the truth and not fall for frauds, liars and manipulators.
When producing documentaries, it is often quite frustrating to deal with corporate PR types. You know virtually all of them will lie their buns off if that’s what it takes to keep earning a paycheck. Their motive, of course, is to attempt to stifle any investigative work on your part.
Back when I used to produce the occasional investigative piece, I considered the corporate PR type the bane of my existence but that is another post.
Keep in mind that to legally get any footage from the public location of any large corporation, you must have their permission. Don’t risk arrest by barging in with a video camera like some obnoxious cliche movie character.
As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am a huge fan of documentary films.
I am attracted to this one in particular because I myself have experienced both the love and the wrath of Google. Before the Panda/Penguin updates, this blog did great in the SERPS. That helped me grow a sizable online video consulting business which I was quite proud of.
Then without warning, KA-BOOM! My rankings and traffic went into the toilet and business completely dried up. It never recovered one iota even though I went through a Panda/Penguin recovery program. Fortunately, I managed to find a decent “real” job which I still have. I kept up the blog (sort of anyway) as a hobby because I enjoy it and those who do find manage to find it show great appreciation.
I certainly am not privy to all of the information the producers are collecting but I do know they are trying to gather evidence demonstrating that Google is not just overly powerful but also unethical in their behavior.
Personally, as disappointed as I was when Google effectively killed my business, I do understand and support their need to continually update their search engine algorithm. After I got over the initial shock, I told myself that was life in the fast lane. I knew there were never any guarantees in the online business world, so c’est la vie baby-cakes.
However, if Google is going beyond merely updating their search algorithm and truly engaging in unethical practices, then my attitude would be much harsher. They may be. I tend to not trust corporations but I remain open-minded. I look forward to watching the final documentary to see exactly what evidence they have gathered. The film is scheduled for release in late 2015.
If you have a Google tale you wish to share with the documentary show producers, or want to give monetary support, you can click here to go to their Indiegogo Page which includes contact information. Keep reading this post for a list of questions he is asking interviewees.
The primary producer of this video is Josh Bachynski.
His preference is to personally oversee each video interview in order to maintain professional quality. At the same time, he wants to use this platform to facilitate anyone who wishes to tell their story. So if you are able to video record your own interview, please contact him for guidelines and questions. (Reprinted below)
He requests folks to shoot themselves at least 1080p if not 4k.
Me: What prompted you to want to make this specific documentary?
Josh: I get weekly emails of businesses that are going under due to google’s retribution.
Me: Please give me a short synopsis of your video making career.
Josh: I am an industry marketer who has been making educational videos (read: industry rants) for years now. I am especially interested in Ethics as I have an MA and half a PhD in Ethics and Decision Theory. I am writing a book on “Basic Human Morality” called “The Zombies”
Me: Describe how you are funding this documentary.
Josh: Primarily, it is self-funded. 99% funded by my and my wife’s own personal funds – the final cost will be well (as in many times over) the yearly minimum wage. I do have a major TV, Film, commercial, Documentary producer from NYC involved. He prefers to remain nameless for fear of Google’s wrath.
Me: What are your basic production parameters? (Such as shooting in 4k or 1080p, getting some people to shoot themselves, etc.)
Josh: We are seeking Netflix and other major network distribution so we would prefer to film the interviewees ourselves to ensure they are high quality. That being said some people have a heart wrenching story and we wish them to be able to film themselves and get their story into us.
Nothing will change, unless people speak out about what Google is purposely doing to other businesses (nevermind entire business markets). And how they are usurping ever growing control of capitalism.
LIST OF QUESTIONS FROM THE PRODUCERS FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO TELL THEIR STORY ABOUT HOW GOOGLE HAS IMPACTED THEIR BUSINESS (Reprinted Verbatim)
Here is the list of questions I will be asking everyone. also please feel free to add your “tale of woe” afterwards as well 🙂
- Who are you / what is your business?
- How long have you been watching Google?
- Can you explain Google’s attitude towards websites for the last 4 years (ever since the advent of “panda”)?
- Have you or your associates suffered at the hands of these changes?
- Why does Google go after web spam so aggressively?
- Do you think they have gone too far in their punishments in some cases?
- Do you think Google does enough to help businesses get back in the main rankings? Back on the front page, where the vast majority of the traffic is?
- Can businesses get back in the main rankings by buying Google advertising, called Adwords? In your opinion, do you think it is fair/ethical?
- Google has recently started placing “factual” website content on their front page, like factoids, lyrics, weather. Etc. Google does not produce any content themselves. They get this all from other websites. Do you think this is fair? They are taking the information without permission, would you call this stealing?
- If the content is listed on their website, why would anyone click through to see where the facts came from? Would it happen that often?
- What is the Right to be Forgotten? Do you think it is fair? Should it be implemented worldwide?
- Some people have compared Google to the Yellow Pages. Do you think Google is functionally the yellow pages for the Internet? Do you think Google has a monopoly?
WE LOOK FORWARD TO WATCHING THE FINAL DOCUMENTARY. LONG LIVE THE DOCUMENTARY FILM!
If you’d like to get started learning how to create you very own documentary films, may I suggest you begin with my free course in basic video production? You can sign up for free from the right sidebar on any page.
Thanks for reading Video Production Tips. 🙂