An Immersive Documentary filmmaking Experience
Taught by a team of award-winning documentary filmmakers, this unique hands-on workshop will teach you the practical skills you need to tell great nonfiction stories. If you’ve always wanted to make a documentary and didn’t know where to start, or if you’ve made a documentary and want to take your craft to the next level, this class is for you.
This interactive class focuses on three core skills for making great documentaries: how to film compelling interviews, how to capture dynamic real-life scenes, and how to shoot effective b-roll footage while making the most of your budget. You’ll master these skills through daily exercises, teaming up with your classmates to interview one another and shooting vérité scenes in Brooklyn’s lively Gowanus neighborhood which your teachers will review every day.
Other classes demonstrate everything on high-end gear you may never see again, but we emphasize shooting techniques that will get you great shots with even the most basic camera. And most importantly, we show you how to get the footage you’ll actually need in the edit room.
We'll also cover other key topics, like recognizing which story ideas are worth pursuing (and which are likely to lead to a dead end), licensing archival footage and music, and finding an outlet for your work.
Documentary Filmmaking Intensive isn’t just a camera workshop. Our goal is to teach you to be a top-notch storyteller.
Past Teachers and Guest Speakers
Editor and co-writer, Inside Job, 2011 Academy Award winner for Best Documentary; editor, writer, and senior producer of Showtime’s Emmy-award-winning documentary series "Years of Living Dangerously"; editor and co-producer of The Recruiter (HBO), which won a Columbia duPont award for excellence in broadcast journalism in 2010.
Supervising Editor of Op-Docs, the New York Times' Oscar-nominated series of short documentaries by independent filmmakers. Previously he was an Emmy-winning film and television editor, covering topics as diverse as deforestation, synthetic biology, Colombian gangs, Bolivian lithium mining, and Iranian money laundering. He is also the author of the book “Visit Sunny Chernobyl,” about the year he spent exploring the world's most polluted places.
Betsy Kagen is a narrative and documentary film editor. Her most recent credits include Who We Are Now, which premiered at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival (starring Julianne Nicholson, Emma Roberts, Jimmy Smits, and Zachary Quinto); The King (directed by Eugene Jarecki), which premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival; My Art (starring Laurie Simmons, Robert Clohessy, John Rothman, Blair Brown, Parker Posey, and Lena Dunham), which premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival; and All This Panic, a documentary which premiered at the 2016 Tribeca film festival.
Post-production supervisor on Inside Job (Academy Award for Best Documentary 2011) and producer on Hot Coffee (Sundance 2011, HBO). His editing credits include Welcome to the Dollhouse (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival), Happiness (International Critic’s Award, Cannes Film Festival) and Storytelling (Cannes Film Festival), all for director Todd Solondz.
A New Zealand-born independent filmmaker based in New York. Her Emmy-nominated documentary A Matter of Taste: Serving up Paul Liebrandt won a James Beard Award. The film screened at numerous festivals, including SXSW, Tribeca, and Full Frame, and aired on HBO, BBC’s Storyville and Arte France. Her most recent documentary Old Dog screened at many festivals and is currently available on Amazon Prime. Before directing her own work, Sally served as a script supervisor on numerous independent features, commercials and Comedy Central's Emmy nominated "Chapelle's Show."
What You Will Learn
Documentary story structure: identifying a viable story with interesting subjects and characters; getting the story on camera in the most effective way; feedback on and help shaping your specific story ideas
Capturing great sound: the importance of good audio; how to use mics and set-ups to achieve excellent sound
Interview techniques and strategies: preparing for and shooting a formal interview; ways to ask questions that elicit the most compelling answers from your subject; making your subjects feel comfortable; placing subjects in the most ideal environment for sound
Shooting vérité footage (live action footage of real-life events): how to use and move the camera while you're shooting in order to make your scene as interesting as possible AND provide the best material for your editor; becoming comfortable capturing your subjects on film without being imposing
Sourcing external materials: Using archival footage; fair use material; licensing and finding music
Shooting b-roll (supplemental footage which will help bring your film to life) : lighting and composition of b-roll footage; seeking out and shooting b-roll that will be most useful to your editor
Documentary editing overview: Learn fundamental editing techniques for documentaries through real-time live editing
Budget and legal topics: Overview of fundraising and grant-making; making the most of your budget; getting signed releases
How to get your film seen: Overview of film festivals and other venues, buyers and platforms for documentaries - as well as creative ideas for getting your film into the world. Class may include a special guest on this topic
Who Should Attend?
This class is perfect for everyone from beginners and first-time filmmakers looking to get started, to experienced producers, directors, and video journalists who want to take their skills to the next level by picking up tips from award-winning documentarians.
Prerequisites & Preparation
All equipment and materials are provided. No experience is necessary.
July 15 - 19
Oct 26-27 & Nov 2-3
Monday - Friday
Saturday & Sunday
(over two weekends)