The style model I found to help me write my coursework was the transcript of a documentary bout the legendary cocaine smuggler Pablo Escobar. I wanted to do a TV documentary about Al Capone, and after reading this transcript, I decided this was the style I wanted to write my own transcript for a documentary in. This transcript is trying to inform and entertain its audience. It gives information and facts about Pablo Escobar, describing what he did and various other facts about his life informing its listeners about him. It is also to entertain as it made purely for the entertainment of the audience and may be of interest to them.
The language in the transcript is not particularly complex or hard to read. Some parts are quite colloquial “… head and shoulders above”. The informal language makes the documentary easier and more enjoyable to listen too, complex language could have made it less enjoyable as listeners would have to pay more attention to what was being said. Though the sentences are long in places, the language makes longer syntaxes easy and enjoyable to listen to because they were simple and did not contain any unexplained terminology.
This documentary tells Escobar’s story from the beginning, using many different facts about him, “Escobar was expelled from school… ” This makes the whole documentary more detailed and interesting as well as providing the background story to Escobar’s life. The ideas and information are being aimed at age groups 18 and older. Its content about drugs and the length of the programme may lead to it becoming tedious to younger audiences. This text was a transcript for a TV or radio documentary that I found on the Internet.
I think that if it were a TV documentary it would appear on Channel 4 at around 9 o’clock or later. Channel 4 is renown for screening controversial programmes and this documentary, with its theme of cocaine, would not be seen on either the BBC or ITV. It would not be shown before the watershed as it contains violence and illegal substances. The structure of the piece was that different people including a narrator, Escobar’s relative and a senate investigator broke up speech. They break up the story and make it more interesting as they give their own accounts and opinions.
This makes it more interesting to watch and listen to. The narrator acts as a neutral bridge between the differentiating opinions. The piece also starts with a dramatic introduction “they still come to the cemetery… they believe he was the innocent victim of police brutality… the pray for him and his mother”. This draws viewers into the story and captures their imagination. Therefore it starts by saying how the situation is now, in the present, then continues by explaining the story from the beginning.
The vocabulary used within the transcript is sometimes jargon “cartel… ales… narcotics” but each is explained making it easier for the audience to follow. Some parts of the story are told slower and in more detail. These parts often contain a lot of information that is important to the story and so by going over them many times, the audience can understand their importance. In the text many words are proper nouns “Colonel Jaime Ramirez… Lara Bonilla… ” These show how the programme has detailed information and uses the proper nouns to prove that they have names to back up the information that they are telling viewers.
Concrete nouns also provide a better image of the incidents described and once again prove the detailed authentic information being told. There are adjectives used in certain parts to create the imagery the narrator desires and emphasise some points “huge laboratory… dense jungle… numerous trips”. Pronouns like “I” emphasise the personal elements of the accounts from the speakers who had an opinion on the subject and were personally involved. The neutral narrator does not use many pronouns, and the only one he does use is ‘he’ when talking about Escobar.
The text has possibly been modified so that the correct tone is used to keep the text interesting and exciting. The script is spoken so most is natural speech from different people, however the narrators speech has been manipulated and written to emphasise the drama within the story “In Columbia, children don’t brag about the car their parents drive but the number of bodyguards”. This gives an example of the dangerous situation in Columbia and emphasises how different life is to American or British life.
The syntax of the script contains mainly complex sentences that are broken up by commas. The commas act as a ‘breathing space’ as the transcript is spoken then recorded. As it is spoken, the speech also contains short, compound sentences. The narrator’s sentences contain the most of these and they are used to build up tension in the speech. These types of sentences are used specifically as the narrator’s speech has been manipulated to emphasise items and link in to the next person’s speech.
There is little use of onomatopoeia within this style model as the tone is more serious and mature. However the use of rhetorical questions “If you had a quarter million bucks in your pocket wouldn’t you be smiling too? ” it invites the audience to see things from the criminals point of view. Most of the speech is natural and not scripted so that there is few rhetorical devices that are purposely used. The only speaker who would possibly use rhetorical devices is the narrator as his script is not natural, but is scripted.
Some cultural uses of language are used though “bucks”. This is because the speech is un-edited and the speaker uses this language in everyday speech. The colloquial words and phrases give the piece an authenticity and make it more natural and believable. Conjunctions within the speech are often not recognised and instead are used as a new sentenced, “… public. And I think that… ” This is because it is spoken and therefore grammar plays a less significant part in the speech as it is not noticed and instead adds authenticity and character to the speaker.
The texts is split up between the different speakers and more complex parts of Escobar’s life are covered by two or three different people and the narrator also plays a part in explanations. The same person does not speak large amounts; instead they are broken down and edited into smaller passages. If what they are talking about is important, it is just the narrator who divides up their speech. If what they are saying is more general, then a different speaker will break it up. This conversational style makes the programme flow more and is more interesting to watch, not becoming to boring or dull.
As my piece is just a transcript, the graphology is not very important. However, it is printed in plain font and is defined by the title of the speaker in bold and what they say is on a separate line underneath. This means the whole script is not confusing and it is easy to see what order it goes in. The overall effect of all these features is a smooth running, interesting and riveting documentary. All the speakers are authentic and their pronunciations and colloquialisms are not changed in any way.
The narrator explains the story in between pieces of speech. The narrator acts as a bridge and this makes sure the audience keeps up with the story. The array of different personalities of varying importance to the story keeps the audience interested and is always throwing a new angle on the whole story. The brother of Pablo Escobar has a differentiating opinion from the widow of Colonel Ramirez, killed by Escobar. The text achieves exactly what it sets out to achieve- it produces an interesting, accurate and entertaining piece about Pablo Escobar.
The layout helps in that it breaks up the dialogue between the different people so that the audience does not become overwhelmed or saturated with one person’s opinion. The narrator is essential in acting as a neutral bridge between the audience and the speakers. By starting with a dramatic description of what has become of Escobar, the audience is immediately drawn into the story and wants to continue listening to see what takes place. Also, the beginning shows that some people regard the infamous criminal as a hero, this also encourages the viewer to continue watching to see what it is Escobar has done to achieve this status.