Workshop: Documentary Storytelling

Workshop July 20, 2012 10:00 AM

Creating a strong and consistent narrative when shooting a documentary is key not only to its potential success, but in conveying the story that it seeks to tell. Often, however, there is a gap between film theory and execution that ignores the close and important relationship between storytelling and documentary.

This one day workshop in documentary storytelling seeks to bridge this gap. It aims to teach filmmakers and editors the ways in which a strong and coherent story can be told through the power of documentary. This will not only elevate the standard of a documentary but also increase the impact of its message. Following the workshop, you can expect to:

  • Recognize the elements that will make your film even stronger
  • Waste less time filming scenes that aren’t necessary
  • Be better prepared to follow the unexpected
  • Be better equipped to make a creative, engaging documentary film.

The workshop will look at how stories are shaped in short and feature documentaries for both cinema and TV. Clips from documentaries will be shown, and participants will be encouraged to actively engage. Participants will be given a recommended documentary viewing list before the workshop, so that they are familiar with the documentaries referenced in the workshop.

10am – 11.30am
What is a story? What drives a documentary? Types of story.

11.30am – 11.45am

11.45am – 1.00pm
How a story begins in the mind of the film maker – tapping into your creative instinct, and extracting the story.
Choosing the right approach.
Creative arrangement: structure

1.00pm – 2.00 pm

2.00 pm – 3.30pm
How to use story to write a treatment and a pitch (and get commissioned).

3.30pm – 3.45pm

3.45pm – 5.00pm
Shooting with the story in mind.
Editing – saving a documentary that was shot with no story in mind.

Run by filmmaker, director and lecturer, Yolanda Barker. She has lectured in Documentary Film at the University of East London and co-created a module to include documentary storytelling in the syllabus. Outside of teaching Yolanda is a self-editing documentary film director with over seven years of industry experience.