Documentary Production and Practice

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
June 17, 2019 - June 28, 20196/17 - 6/28M-F 3:30P-6:20POpenStephen Crocker

Course Description

Everyone has a story to tell and, with increasingly accessible modes of production and distribution, the means to share, but what is the best way to tell it? How does one craft compelling narrative best suited to a chosen medium or platform?

This class will help students harness their passion for digital communication in the service of thoughtful documentary practice, while gaining exposure to technical skills and a wide range of non-fiction narrative approaches. Learning will culminate in the creation of an original work of non-fiction narrative in a time-based medium.

This class is a hybrid of documentary study and documentary production.

In the first days of the course, students will be introduced to screenings of classic and contemporary non-fiction narrative, and will examine modes of storytelling, as well as problems of the practice, and tease out approaches they find most compelling. At the same time, we will engage in technical demonstrations of digital video and audio capture, non-linear editing software and workflow, and thoughtful pre-production technique.

As the class progresses, students will take an active role in discussion, sharing inspiration and ideas of non-fiction storytelling. At the same time they will begin to engage in original storytelling through sound and image, building to a final project of their own creation. Working in small groups, students will engage in the full range of the production experience, from pre-production planning and storyboarding to recording original footage and through the final edit.

Students will come away from this course with an introduction to a range of approaches in non-fiction narrative media, and a working knowledge of the process behind original content creation. Skills explored will include media production (recording audio and video, lighting technique, sourcing media from archives, interview technique) and post-production (non-linear video and audio editing, graphic effects), as well as inquiry into the possibilities of non-fiction storytelling in new media platforms.

Prerequisites: This course will be demanding. Students will be expected to start the course ready to start the creative process immediately, even if their technical abilities are initially limited.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEMS0929
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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