Make a short documentary in four weeks!

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This class will be held in a live, Online format using the Zoom Platform.
Class meets Jun 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22 & 26 on Wednesdays 7:30-9:30pm & Saturdays 10:30am-12:30pm ET.
Plus weekly one-on-one time with instructor Tom Donohue by appointment.

Produce, shoot, and edit your own documentary in a month under the guidance of an award-winning broadcast filmmaker and with the support of a virtual community of filmmakers. All you need is a video camera and Adobe Premiere Pro editing software installed on your computer. Through a series of live, online classes and on-location production assignments, you will create a three-to-five-minute documentary film from the comfort of your home.  

We meet as a group twice weekly in two-hour Zoom classrooms. Each session is designed to lead you through the steps of producing your film. Our online classroom is your community. You’ll learn with fellow classmates as everyone shares their story ideas and their film’s progress. You may collaborate or be the sole author of your work. Either way, be prepared to put in the time outside of class to capture and edit your material. A key component of your film’s creation is personal mentoring. Each week you’ll also schedule an hour to meet with the instructor to focus on your particular film’s challenges and progress. 

Learning and mastering digital editing is a major focus of the workshop and key to your development as a documentary filmmaker. The edit room is where documentaries take form. Your exploration of the process will open up class discussions on structure and pacing as well as the artistic use of dialogue, music, and effects. The edit room is also the best camera lab; nothing will teach you more about your camera work than working with your raw footage.

Zoom is an excellent tool for learning all aspects of filmmaking. With the screen-sharing features, you’ll be able to view the instructor’s screen as you learn the fundamentals of digital editing. During production, you’ll take advantage of Zoom’s camera capabilities to record a long-distance interview and share your work for immediate class review.  With much of the film industry transitioning to distance collaboration, remote filmmaking is an important part of your educational experience. 

You will use your own equipment for the course. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with video capabilities is ideal, but you can learn the filmmaking process using your smartphone. If you want to acquire a camera, we can provide guidance on purchasing or renting one. Downloading Adobe Premiere Pro for a month will be an additional $20.99. It is a worthwhile investment as Premiere Pro is the dominant editing platform. 

This course will give you hands-on experience in the filmmaking process. With the all-important sample of your work in hand, you’ll have the confidence and vision to tackle future projects for yourself or for an employer.

The 4 Week Documentary Film School is Tom’s perennial class at Maine Media that has been running for more than 10 years. Tom’s goal is to recreate the sense of community and personal mentoring that are the hallmark of the “in-person” Doc School for the “at-home” experience (see instructor profile). Tom also teaches this class on-campus, learn more.

Student Testimonials from Previous 4 Week Documentary Film School Workshops:

“With a background in finance, I felt I may be incapable of being creative though I wanted to be.  Tom patiently answered my many questions and encouraged me to believe in myself.  I went from never having used a film editing program, and hardly touching a DSLR, to planning out and working on a film that I am excited about.”
– Erika Hemond, Career Changer

“This class would be really wonderful for any future filmmakers to hone their craft and get excellent guidance on growing their story. Tom offers great insight and helps you refine your project into a true work of art.”
– Karen Brownman, College Student

“Tom really took time early on to understand my project and even went out of his way to research the content, the targeted audience and the context around the film. He kept raising the bar for me and that was my motivation to complete a solid rough cut by the end of the course.”
– Gaetan Pelletier, Executive Director – Institut de recherche sur les feuillus nordiques Inc.

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Instructor: Tom Donohue

Tom Donohue is an award-winning, Emmy-nominated filmmaker with over 30 years of experience creating broadcast documentaries for clients such as National Geographic Television, The Discovery Channel, and PBS. His assignments have taken him from the war-torn streets of Afghanistan to documenting the inner struggles of those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Tom’s approach to filmmaking is holistic: He produces, shoots, writes and edits his films. Not only does this method provide an intimacy with the subject, but each step of the filmmaking process informs and complements the others.