Directing The Documentary
Introducing students to the craft of documentary filmmaking, Directing the Documentary prepares students to create their own films and provides the venue for screening and work-shopping their projects throughout the course. Instructors challenge and collaborate with students to find the most effective and expressive visual means to tell their stories. Class participation, consistent work, and collaborative workshopping are emphasized.
Editing is one of the skills most fundamental to documentary filmmaking. Ultimately, documentaries are almost always truly made in the edit. This course focuses on students’ basic mastery of industry-standard editing software, as well as basic editing techniques and theory. In this course, students learn to understand not only the how of editing but also the why. Classes consist of demonstrations, lectures, and hands-on practice.
Hands-on Camera, Lighting, and Sound
Digital camera and lighting classes are designed to help students master the many elements of cinematography, including the use of camera menus, white balance, shutter speed, focus, apertures, and frame rates. Through hands-on exercises, students explore the possibilities of digital cinematography. Camera technique, image control, framing, and composition are emphasized. Lighting class helps students learn to maximize available and natural light and to use 3-point lighting in controlled situations. Additionally, students learn the basic principles and use of microphones and recording techniques, as well as strategies for capturing high-quality sound in a variety of situations.
Production Workshop is designed to demystify the craft of documentary filmmaking. It functions as a sort of dry run in which students practice the skills they learn for each film before they go out to shoot it. Providing students an opportunity to experiment with their new technological and film language skills under the supervision of the instructor, the Production Workshop builds competence and confidence.
Documentary Storytelling and Writing
Documentaries have been so much more successful in recent years mostly because most documentary filmmakers now practice narrative non-fiction storytelling rather than simply trying to convey information. This course covers storytelling basics in a documentary context, as well as the role of writing as a storytelling and planning tool. Students explore the use of three-act storytelling, character, conflict, and story structure. Then, by using these elements as a guide, students learn to both find and express the underlying story in the reality they are exploring. Narration, pre-scripting, loglines, paper cuts, and story development are also studied.