The first portion of the program explores the fundamentals of documentary filmmaking. Lectures are combined with production labs to give students an overview of how to write treatments, design production schedules, scout subjects, conduct interviews, collect B-roll, record quality sound, and edit using Adobe Premiere.
Exercise films will be assigned throughout the course to give students the opportunity to practice their newly-acquired skills.
- Overview of various documentary genres
- Camera Functions
- Documentary Storytelling
- Screen Grammar
- Shooting with available light, 2 and 3-point lighting
- After Effects
- Introduction to Editing with Adobe Premiere
- Shooting with DSLR Cameras
Project: Biographical Film
This popular project integrates fundamental production skills and creates lasting bonds between fellow students.
Gaining Client Experience
The second month builds on foundations taught in the first month by diving deeper into narrative structure, research, writing, story development, and execution. Camera movement will be explored further and the students will get a crash course in the gear they will need as an independent filmmaker. Additionally, students will develop organizational skills for every detail of planning a shoot, from shot lists to location scouting.
- Narration vs. Cinema Verité
- Camera movement
- Gear choices for the independent filmmaker
- Screen grammar
- Story structure
- Treatment writing
- Planning a shoot
- Conducting a good interview
- Lighting/sound workshops
- Editing with Adobe Premiere
- Shooting a community-based film for a non-profit
- Delivering the perfect pitch
Project: Community Client Film
For the second project, students are partnered with deserving charities in need of film content, providing an authentic client experience.
The final month, we help students realize their passion projects by creating a 7-15 minute documentary film. Through extensive mentorship with industry professionals, students explore advanced shooting styles, lighting, and sound. The practical elements of making films will also be touched upon; students will learn to draft a successful grant, write a story proposal, develop a financial plan and budget, and examine options for marketing and distributing their films.
The final weeks of the course are dedicated to perfecting final projects.
- Visual storytelling; exploring shooting styles
- Advanced lighting/sound
- Drafting a successful grant, story proposal
- Advanced editing classes
- Financial plan/budget
- Designing an interactive strategy
- Create effective chapters and story sequences
- How to create an authorial vision
- Structure, form, and narrative thread
- Create story rhythms, pacing, and seamlessness
- Documentary story structure
- Professional editor’s strategy: first assembly, rough cut, fine cut