Learn the filmmaking process while creating your own personal film.

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 Mon/Wed/Fri 12pm-1pm EDT
Additionally, for every hour of class time students are also entitled to an hour of individual consultation with Tom Donohue.

Limited scholarship opportunities may be available under THE CHRIS LEHMANN MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP.  Details and application form found here

Produce, shoot and edit your own documentary in a month with the support of an on-line community and the direct input of an award-winning filmmaker. This is Tom Donohue’s ninth year leading the annual 4-Week Documentary Film School. His goal in transforming this immersive month into an “at home” experience is to recreate the sense of community and personal mentoring that are the hallmark of the Doc School. For every class hour, you will have an accompanying hour of Tom’s individual creative input and help overcoming technical issues. By the end of the month you’ll have a professionally produced five-minute documentary to post on the internet or show in your work portfolio.

Our class time is our community time. We’ll meet in an hour-long Zoom classroom three times a week to learn the techniques necessary to advance your personal project. You’ll learn from your classmates work as well. You’ll pitch your story idea and give input into their pitches. During production you’ll use your own camera, or Tom will walk you through the process of renting one (see details below). Editing is at the heart of documentary filmmaking, and Zoom provides the ideal classroom for learning to edit. You’ll see Tom’s editing screen on your computer as you take your camera work from screened dailies to a color corrected and mixed finished program.

After each hour of Zoom class, you will have the option to sign up for an individual office hour with Tom for technical and artistic support. An element of hand-holding is critical when overcoming the hurdles of learning new software. In addition, this will be a time for us to focus on your individual storytelling. We will have assigned documentaries to watch for discussion in class. Working with a fellow classmate on the same project is possible and even encouraged. Much of the filmmaking process is currently transitioning to distance collaboration.

The Doc School has helped new aspiring media creators make their first documentary and produce content for their webpages. It has also been attended by talented artists in the filmmaking industry who felt that learning the technical aspects of camera and editing would enhance their own particular craft. This list includes writers, producers, actors and musicians who’ve added to their skill set. Still Photographers have learned to adapt their talents to the process of video storytelling. Past students’ class works have been invited to film festivals and even broadcast on PBS.

Equipping Yourself:

Production: If your camera does not have video capabilities, a full package can be rented for less than $300 for our production week. Tom will help you select the package online, and it will arrive at your house via Fed Ex.

Post-Production: You will learn the industry standard editing platform Adobe Premiere Pro. Two out of every three films at Sundance 2020 were edited on Premiere, and most jobs in filmmaking require knowledge of this editing software. Adobe Premiere is available for $31.49 for the month.

Image Credits: Alexis Mpaka, Header:  Aidan Bliss

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Instructor: Tom Donohue

Tom Donohue is an award-winning, EMMY-nominated filmmaker with over 25 years of experience creating broadcast documentaries for such clients as National Geographic Television, The Discovery Channel, and PBS. His assignments have taken him from the war-torn streets of Afghanistan to Central American rainforests in search of jaguars. Recent National Geographic assignments have taken him to the North Pole to film “Land of the Polar Bear” and to the Galapagos Islands to produce environmental vignettes. Tom’s approach to filmmaking is holistic: He produces, shoots, writes and edits his own works. This will be Tom’s ninth year teaching a “soup to nuts” approach to filmmaking during the 4-Week Documentary Film School. Tom also leads our Travel Workshops in Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Argentina.