Understanding Supersize Me(2004) which is a social experiment
Understanding world problems through visual expression is the underlying talent of a Documentary Filmmaker. As a documentary filmmaker, you are a storyteller. It is your job to take the audience on a journey of facts and awareness. Morgan Spurlock has become one of the well known documentary filmmakers who primarily focuses on political conversations and social experiments all the while dipping his toes into content solely for entertainment. He is known for his first and hit documentary film Supersize Me(2004) which is a social experiment where he only consumes McDonalds for an entire month. Nine years later he came out with a documentary called One Direction: This is Us(2013) where he follows the band on their 2012-2013 world tour and mixes live concert footage with behind-the-scenes interviews and foolery. This paper will explore the techniques of Morgan Spurlock and how effective his abilities are in creating conversations and the media responses as well as how different these two documentaries are compared to each other. Morgan Valentine Spurlock was born on November 7, 1970 and is an American documentary filmmaker, television producer, screenwriter, and political activist. He is best known for the documentary film Supersize Me, which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. His other significant films include Where in the World Is Osama bin Laden? (2008), POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011), and Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope (2011). Before his directorial debut with Supersize Me he was a playwright, winning awards for his play The Phoenix at both the New York International Fringe Festival in 1999 and the Route 66 American Playwriting Competition in 2000. Even before his success as an award winning director he was gaining attention from his playwrights. Morgan Spurlocks’ film Super Size Me is a piece of work that intends to arouse a conversation about fast food and how it is contributing to the obesity epidemic. Some of the techniques used to persuade in this film provide useful information to take into consideration. For example, he would provide statistics and animated graphs and visuals to demonstrate his point. Although, entertaining for the viewers to watch it also reveals information about the fast food industry and it’s effects on the physical and mental health. This documentary originated from a previous lawsuit in which two young girls blamed their obesity on eating food from McDonald’s. The main focus was to bring awareness to the viewers about how corporate responsibility, regarding the food Americans eat, can makes us overweight. Spurlock carries out his experiment in his documentary to attempt to provoke a dialogue about the issue. He first shows shocking facts about McDonald’s and their consumers and then he uses his experiment to support those facts. This experiment shows that McDonald’s food is dangerous to his and everyone’s health. The general public can argue that common sense will tell you that if you ate only McDonald’s everyday for 30 days, weight gain and health issues are inevitable. But before jumping into this experiment Spurlock consulted many doctors and nutritionists who tracked his record throughout the process and they didn’t expect the amount of severity the damage would actually cause. “I expect to see an increase in your triglycerides, because that can be affected. You’re at 87 now and I think that will change. And I think that’s the only thing that will change. . . out of everything. There might be some minor variations. But the body is extremely adaptable, and the kidneys will handle any extra salt that you’re taking in and your liver will be able to metabolize additional fats.” said Dr. Seigel but instead he gained around 24.5 lbs., his liver turned to fat, and his cholesterol shot up to 230. His body fat percentage went from 11 to 18%, risk of coronary heart disease nearly doubled making himself twice as likely to have heart failure. He was depressed and sex life was non-existent.