Add motion to your still life. Learn the complete process of video creation at a yoga beach-resort in Mexico.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Upon registration, students may elect one of the following three options for the course:

  • 2 Week – Introduction to Filmmaking – Oct 17-31, 2020, Fee: $2240
  • 2 Week Advanced Storytelling Workshop – Nov 1-15, 2020, Fee: $2740
  • Full 4 Week Experience – Oct 17-Nov 15, 2020, Fee: $3980 (Save $1000)

This introductory course is ideal for the still photographer whose goal is to transition to video, the videographer who needs to edit their own material, or the editor who dreams of leaving their computer for a sunny beach.

A Cinewright workshop is a holistic introduction to the filmmaking process. You are Producer, Cinematographer and Editor. Knowledge in each phase of filmmaking builds strengths in the others. Editing your own camera work is the best instruction for shooting video. And shooting, with an eye for the edit, opens storytelling possibilities in post-production. We retreat to an idyllic Mexican beach town to learn and practice the complete art of documentary filmmaking. 

Zipolite, or “Zipo” as it is affectionately called, is a quiet, laid-back town. Blink and you may drive through without realizing it. But as filmmakers, our eyes are wide open. The first week’s focus is on finding and capturing stories. There’s a myriad of choices. Follow surfers who live for waves. Interview transients who’ve stayed for decades. Or tackle more cerebral themes like the intermixing of modern life with indigenous culture. At its core, Zipolite is a tourist town, so English is the lingua franca.

Each student will shoot, produce and edit a documentary short. Every aspects of filmmaking comes into play whether you are producing large or small. You’ll learn pacing and structure, exposure and composition, key board short cuts and audio mixing.

Beach life in Zipo is surprisingly conducive to our day’s work. A morning dip in the ocean or yoga class is a nice start. Mornings and afternoons are time for practicing camera and capturing stories. As the sun reaches its zenith, it is time to seek the shade of our classroom or work on the edit in your air-conditioned room. 

You will leave Mexico as a complete filmmaker with a documentary for your work reel. Or stay for the advanced Cinewright project.

The Sea Turtle Project
Advanced Storytelling
November 1st – 15th, 2020
Max: 4 students

Dive deep into creative non-fiction filmmaking. Be part of a 4-student crew as you work directly with Tom to produce a nature documentary. The workshop is open to students with a firm foundation in either camera, editing or producing yet wishing to broaden their skill set. We will film the story of the environmental battle to save the Sea Turtle from extinction.

Just down the road from Zipo is one of the world’s top five turtle nesting areas. This is a rare opportunity to see these elusive creatures in the wild. They come to shore by the thousands, landing on the fifteen miles of beach that make up the turtle sanctuary. We’ll learn and use underwater cameras, drones and camera stabilizers. We will work closely with the Sea Turtle Center in neighboring Mazunte as well as with communities that have changed their dependance on hunting the sea turtle. More importantly, we will seek out the human side of a rare environmental success story. 

Our film will air on the Mexican State television channel CorTV. It will also be given to the Sea Turtle Center to support their work. Documentaries do make a difference.



Gaining familiarity with your own equipment is an important result of a Cinewright workshop.  Bring your laptop and DSLR to work on. The camera of choice for the workshop is the Panasonic GH5. A production-package can be rented for $300 a week. You may opt to use an iPhone which yields results rivaling professional cameras of just a decade ago. Of course those who wish to use a broadcast camera are welcome to do so. 

We edit on Apple computers using Adobe Premiere Pro. It is possible to use Premiere Pro on a PC as well. Students should bring an SSD Hard Drive with a minimum of 500 Gigabytes of free space. Tom is available to assist students in equipping themselves for the workshop.


Students are responsible for their lodging and meals during the workshop. However, you will benefit from a historically high exchange rate for the American dollar. Our hotel of choice for the classroom and lodging is El Alquimista. It is a very lovely beach-front yoga spa with private cabanas at a very reasonable price by US standards. But those on a “student budget” will find plenty of options including surfer shacks on the beach. Delicious and healthy meals for all tastes can be had for roughly half the price in the States.


Students arrange for their own transportation to and from Zipolite. The closest airport is Huatulco Airport (HUX). It is a 50 minute taxi ride to Zipolite. For students arriving at the airport on the first day of the workshop, we can coordinate shared taxis. 

Other Maine Media Workshops + College offerings with Tom Donohue in 2020


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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.