Learn How to Make a Documentary Film
Documentary filmmaking is a strategic craft that requires compelling cinematography, expert interviewing skills, and a strong non-fiction narrative. In NYFA’s online documentary film classes for teens, students aged 14-17 learn these core elements under the live supervision and guidance of experienced industry professionals. We currently offer three workshops that are designed to be standalone programs that may be taken individually. Many students choose to take all three workshops and gain a full spectrum of skills.
In these innovative workshops, students learn the techniques to create films, unique videos for social media channels, as well as content for the web, providing hands-on training and experience in visual storytelling and content creation.
Smartphone Cinematography Workshop
The fundamental elements of cinematography, such as exposure, lenses, focus, and movement, can be applied to any camera. In our Smartphone Cinematography Workshop, students are introduced to the principles of photography as applied to the moving image. Using their phones, loaded with Filmic Pro, and a selfie stick, students are able to learn all that is necessary to begin to shoot documentaries from anywhere in the world. The program will also explore the fundamentals of documentary camera work, strategies specific to shooting with a smartphone and of shooting an interview on a computer screen.
The Interview Workshop
To conduct a successful interview, an interviewer must build rapport with a subject while asking interesting and productive questions. In this documentary filmmaking class, students learn how to conduct interviews in person and via Zoom, exploring aesthetic concerns including eye-lines and composition, as well as how to connect with subjects and keep them engaged. In addition to learning how to interview, the skills acquired in this workshop prepare students for presentations, public speaking, and creative collaboration.
Nonfiction Storytelling Workshop
The foundation of any documentary film is a cohesive, intriguing, non-fiction narrative. In the Nonfiction Storytelling Workshop, students explore the basic elements of dramatic narrative, learning to apply them to real life stories by constructing and telling a story from their own lives. The storytelling techniques from this workshop help students create compelling documentary skills, and are easily transferrable to other forms of long-form writing.
Each documentary filmmaking workshop is a total of six hours, offered over four consecutive Saturdays. Students are not required to complete one workshop to attend the next, and may choose to complete one, two or all of the workshops. To learn more about class times and tuition, visit our workshop program details page.