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VID 08 — Capturing Reality: An Introduction to Documentary Filmmaking

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 21—Nov 30
Time: 5:00—7:00 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Sep 23
Units: 2
Tuition: $540
Instructor(s): Kelsey Doyle
Limit: 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
Please Note: No class on November 23
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
5:00—7:00 pm (PT)
Sep 21—Nov 30
10 weeks
Refund Date
Sep 23
2 Units
Kelsey Doyle
Please Note: No class on November 23
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Documentary film is arguably the closest medium we have to capturing reality. Whether in the form of journalism, advocacy, or personal expression, documentary film examines not only how stories get told, but also how we might inspire new ways of telling them visually. This course will introduce students to the artistic and professional skills they need to become impactful documentary filmmakers. Students will be guided through all the stages of producing a successful documentary, along with tips and strategies on the essentials of filmmaking. Lighting, cameras, locations, subject, and character choices all come into play. Through watching and analyzing documentaries of various lengths, approaches, and shooting styles, as well as reading and writing about them, students will analyze the building blocks and visual demands of documentary, and develop and pitch their own story ideas. We will view and discuss such documentary films as Jennie Livingston’s Paris Is Burning, Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line, Laura Poitras’s Citizenfour, and Spike Lee’s David Byrne’s American Utopia. Students will also complete short production exercises that will explore various elements of documentary filmmaking, and will leave the course with a viable idea for a documentary film.

Students do not need camera and editing equipment or proficiency with film-editing software.

Documentary Filmmaker, Media Producer, Content Strategist

Kelsey Doyle creates documentary films for social impact. Her work has been published by Harvard, National Geographic, Oceanic Society, the National Science Foundation, and the UN. Doyle received an MA in news and documentary journalism from NYU.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Bill Nichols, Introduction to Documentary (newer edition is fine as well) (ISBN 0253214696)