Updating an Interactive Documentary Production Class

Thanks to the stars and the dean’s graciousness, Interactive Documentary Production is running again this fall. While last fall the class ran entirely asynchronous online, this fall the class uses the flexible synchronous, or flexsync, format. The class meets twice a week, and some students attend in the classroom while others attend via Zoom. With…

Using Social Network Sites with Interactive Documentaries

Web-based interactive documentary designers have flexibility when it comes to defining their online boundaries. They can create a self-contained experience within a single website, or they can use social network sites to expand their documentary’s reach onto other platforms. This post details some possibilities, challenges, and considerations of incorporating social networking sites as part of…

Finding Stories in the Laundromat

Sometimes, I miss going to the laundromat. It provided a much-needed third space in an area that offers few of them. It also provided a place to think. Well, sometimes, anyway. Afternoon talk shows and sometimes the evening news played on the TV, and children often skidded around the washer and dryer banks, their screams…

11 Takeaways from a Documentary Editing Course

Docs in Progress, a Maryland-based documentary organization whom I have long admired, recently offered a Zoom-based class in documentary editing. Taught by H. Paul Moon, the class combined theory and practice through Adobe Premiere. Here are 11 takeaways from that intense and interesting class. Note that these tips avoid the specifics of Premiere but instead…

11 Lessons from Taking Two Documentary Production Courses

During 2020, I had the opportunity to take multiple online courses thanks nimble film organizations hustling to make their courses available and to Zoom. I took two courses related to documentary production: Short Documentary Production with Thalia Drori Ramirez through Film North and DIY Documentary Mobile with Kia Anne Geraths through Northwest Documentary. The following…

Reflections on Teaching an Interactive Documentary Production Course

This semester I had the privilege of teaching a course titled Interactive Documentary Production. This post reflects on this class and explores revisions for the future. The course consisted of three parts: traditional video production, serious game design, and interactive video. The course was taught exclusively online, and it encouraged students to use the equipment…

Some Reflections on a Recent Video Production

During the last two months, I completed a short film about a dying cat. I created the video as part of an online class titled “D.I.Y. Documentary Mobile,” taught by Kia Geraths through Northwest Documentary based in Portland, Oregon. This post reviews some of what I learned in the production process. The course’s primary goal…

11 Tips for Beginning Documentary Makers

Starting production on your first documentary can be an exciting — and scary — moment. On a couple occasions this summer I asked Twitter followers about their favorite or most memorable advice to new documentary makers. This post rounds up some of those responses. 1. START. Seriously, start. Do something, anything. Conduct some background research,…

Plans for an Interactive Documentary Production Class

This fall I have the amazing good fortune to teach a class in documentary. This one is titled Interactive Documentary Production, a class that I had developed and proposed almost two years ago. Due to budget and enrollment issues, the class was canceled last fall. But this fall it will be running, with 10 students…

Documentary Modes

Bill Nichols’ documentary modes offer one of the most useful — and most debated — ways to group documentaries. Nichols is a respected American documentary film theorist who developed these modes in several of his books, including Representing Reality: Issues and Concepts in Documentary and Introduction to Documentary, now in its third edition. This post…