Martin Dohrn’s background as a traditional Blue-chip filmmaker is evident in the structure and style of storytelling in My Garden of a Thousand Bees. The individual bees and other insects featured in the documentary are anthropomorphized as characters with needs and wants. The dramatic story arc of the documentary is set up in a way that gets the audience invested in whether one particular bee would be able to successfully mate, build a nest or protect themselves and their eggs from predators. This creates multiple protagonists – in this case one from each species – and their respective antagonists. This structure gets the audience rooting for one character over another and gets them engaged by the dramatic tension that exists within this given ecosystem. This is a classic storytelling in nature documentary, which allows audiences to stay interested in scientific topics that may ostensibly seem not connected to their daily lives. That being said, the impact campaign that was built by HHMI Tangled Bank Studios does a great job of explaining the relevance of the film to the fight against climate change and wildlife extinction. The film is indeed relevant to the survivability of life on this planet but the dramatic arc of the story gets that message across without being explicitly didactic.
Another central storyline in the film is Dohrn’s innovativeness in figuring out the mechanics of filming extremely small organisms that move at very high speeds. A significant portion of the film is dedicated to explaining the technology behind macro cinematography. This part of the film ties in with Dohrn’s story as a wildlife filmmaker, making him a relatable narrator. My Garden of a Thousand Bees is a performative documentary that uses Gohrn’s story arc as a tool to engage the audience emotionally. Anyone who had lived through early 2020 would understand the predicament of not being able to go to work or partake in one’s regular activities.