Digital Documentary Storytelling: Development and Process


This course, which explores the art of documentary storytelling, is a gateway into media productio and is ideal for first-time video producers looking to adapt  conference topics developed in other disciplines to the video medium. Synthesizing theory and practice, the class introduces the palette of documentary production styles and approaches illustrated in the works of leading documentary directors: Errol Morris, Werner Herzog, Nick Broomfield, Jennifer Fox, the Maysles brothers, Barbara Kopple, Spike Lee, Sam Pollard, Jonathan Demme, and the Newsreel Collective. Each student is encouraged to experience theory as a means of discovering his or her own creative voice. The course is designed to work both as seminar and practicum. In weekly sessions, students consider stylistic, ideological, ethical, and political implications of documentary content and examine the relationship between documentary films and social change. Technical labs in shooting and editing are provided in order to strengthen technical production and editing skillsets. Students learn to develop, research, write treatments, produce, direct, and edit; it’s an opportunity to create the short documentary they’ve always imagined: personal autobiographical profiles, road movies, social issue productions, anecdotal portrayals, and city symphonies.