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…

11 Lessons from a Web Series Course

Thanks to a certain online video conferencing software that shall remain nameless, I was able to take a two-day course in developing web series through MyFilmNorth. The course was run by Matt Anderson, the genius behind behind the hilarious Theater People web series. A basic definition for a web series is a series distributed online….

Some News Links about Documentary

Here are some links to sites that cover documentary news and reviews. Documentary Magazine A regular magazine published by the International Documentary Association. DOX Magazine A quarterly magazine published through the European Documentary Network about the documentary community in Europe. Modern Times Review Based in Europe, smart and insightful commentary about documentary that starts from…

Some Documentary Organizations to Check Out

Here are some organizations dedicated to documentary makers and documentary communities. The D-Word Hands down, The D-Word is the most active and supportive documentary community available for documentary makers from newbies to professionals, and all enthusiasts in between. European Documentary Network The European Documentary Network supports documentary film and television makers through education and outreach,…

Some Links Related to Nonfiction Production

Here are some sites that focus on media production, with some emphasis on nonfiction. Learn Documentary Desktop Documentaries Documentary Cameras No Film School Filmmaker IQ