Documentary Production and Practice

« Return to Course Catalog

This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

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

Over the course of three weeks, this class will challenge students to harness their passion for digital communication in the service of thoughtful documentary practice. Students will build technical skills in production and post-production as they are exposed to 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 foundational texts and screenings of classic and contemporary non-fiction narrative. In discussion we will examine modes of storytelling, as well as problems of the practice, and define and interrogate approaches to filmmaking. Simultaneously, 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 examples 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 for their capstone project, students will engage in the full range of the production experience, from pre-production planning and storyboarding to recording original footage, through edit, critique and reiteration to the final presentation of a completed work.

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 individual and collaborative media production (recording audio and video, lighting technique, archival media exploration, 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 require extensive creative work outside of class hours--students are advised not to attempt a second course concurrently with this one.
Students will be expected to enter the course ready to start the creative process immediately, even if their technical abilities are initially limited. Ideally students will arrive with a concrete idea of the project they would like to pursue. Production experience or personal media equipment are not required, but students with their own filmmaking tools are welcome to use them.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEMS0929
  • Length: 3 weeks

Program Information

[email protected]

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 2021.

Visit Program Page Information Sessions Learn How to Apply
Back to Top