Course Descriptions


Advanced Documentary Field Production
This course is designed to teach the theoretical, aesthetic and technical principles of non-linear editing for documentary. Principally, students will be taught how to: digitize and organize source material, create basic effects and titles, develop sequences and organize and edit your raw materials into a polished final product. Throughout the semester we will screen various films for the expressed purpose of analyzing the editing techniques used by the filmmakers.

Advanced Post Production Techniques
A course primarily geared toward handling issues in regard to the completion and distribution of the creative thesis project.

Cinematography and Sound
In this class you will be introduced to the fundamental principles of visual storytelling techniques. Through hands-on technical workshops, screenings, lectures, projects and discussions, you will develop cinematography, lighting and sound design skills.

Documentary History
The purpose of this course is to acquaint students with the historical development of documentary film from its roots in 19th-century art forms to the present.  The course will examine various styles and techniques of documentary and will analyze the contribution of the documentary as a persuasive means of communication to achieve social and political goals.  In addition, it will provide an examination of how the “masters” did it and how their different aesthetic as well as personal and political philosophies shaped their vision and version of reality.

Documentary Law and Ethics
Students will explore the legal and ethical issues that can arise in the course of documentary filmmaking.  The discussion points in this class will evolve from the in-depth examination of a select group of films and their directors. The overriding focus of our conversations will be on the aspects of these films that illustrate the filmmaker’s struggle to capture and present reality, the various methods they employ to achieve this and the potential impact on all involved–filmmaker, subject and audience.

Documentary Pre-Production Planning
Familiarizing students with how to conceptualize and develop documentaries, this course is divided into four major components: The Idea, Funding, Planning Your Production and Writing and Presenting Your Proposal.

Entrepreneurship Education in Non-fiction Filmmaking
Recognizing that artists must be entrepreneurs in the current climate of decreased government and foundation funding for the arts, this course provides students with the foundation knowledge and tools to start their own creative venture and insights into and tools for teaching entrepreneurship

Fundamentals of Documentary Editing
This class is designed to compliment the storytelling skills students will be receiving in the research, cinematography and writing courses by focusing on the theoretical, aesthetic and technical principles of non-linear editing for documentary. Special emphasis will be placed on understanding and using rhythm, pacing, point-of-view, screen direction, matching cuts, sound design and graphics to craft compelling stories.

Imagination Project
The Imagination Project pairs documentary film program graduate  students with undergraduates from multiple disciplines to produce short digital films, e-books and other forms of transmedia on a single project with a liberal arts and humanities focus.  For example, students in this course produced a series of short films and digital study guides on artists of the Holocaust in cooperation with Yad Vashem, the world’s premier Holocaust museum.

Pedagogy and Curriculum
Provides an understanding of pedagogical practices and major theories of curriculum and provide a foundation for students interested in pursuing careers in academe.

Producing, Directing and Writing Documentary
Students will learn the fundamentals of producing, directing, and writing for documentary as well as the major business and aesthetic dimensions of documentary production. Particular attention will be paid to the principles of documentary writing.

Post Production Techniques
This class teaches advanced technical, theoretical, aesthetic, and ethical principles of the post-production process. Lectures and class discussions will focus on developing continuity, building sequences, refining dramatic structure, selecting narrators, and incorporating music and sound effects in order to produce a clear, dramatic documentary.

Research Methods in Documentary
This course provides an understanding of the research process that precedes the production of a documentary film and the skills students need to construct an effective research strategy. We will also explore how to refine these strategies to meet the specific demands of various documentary genres.

Teaching Practicum
Students work closely with DFP faculty during the teaching of a course.  Students participate in the design and development of course material and observe classroom and organizational aspects of teaching in an apprenticeship role.

Writing for Documentary
The course is designed to familiarize students with the nature and purpose of documentary as well as the fundamentals of documentary writing, for example, drama, structure, story development and style.