Guided by an Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker, learn how to transport a viewer into the core of your story and characters.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets Wednesdays, May 17-Jun 21 from 5-6:45pm ET with 1:1 instructor time by appointment.

The myth of documentary is that it appears as if the filmmaker is simply following the subjects around to see what happens.”  Then poof!  Like magic, theres a film. Not so in the slightest!

Spend six weeks diving deep into the hundreds of choices, hard-fought decisions, and forks in the road, that comprise Documentary: Story & Structure.

There is no more important talent in documentary filmmaking than mastering the art of creating an effective, impactful, logically sound, story structure.  It is the most difficult – and critical – skill that nonfiction storytellers confront.  

In this workshop participants will develop their ability to deliver insightful, incisive, film critique and analysis using the language of film” in communicating these ideas. Then, you will translate that skill into the development and writing of a film treatment. 

Participants in this workshop will view documentary films from various genres to dissect their fundamental story elements and reveal the building blocks of their narrative. We will explore different models of structure so that you can successfully anticipate the core of the story both while youre shooting in the field and once you enter the editing room. 

We will then consider samples of successful treatments and proposals and examine how to articulate story and structure in the service of selling a documentary pitch.  

Students should come with an idea in mind around which they can formulate their own film treatment during the course of the six weeks.

Leave with a new understanding of how to take an audience on a powerful journey into the heart of a story.

Note: Participants may incur modest expenses (approximately $20) to rent films via streaming platforms outside of class.

Student Testimonial

[The best thing about this course was] Nina’s knowledge about creating and managing the documentary film process… I’ve taken a giant step in becoming a better documentary filmmaker by taking the small step to participate in her class. Nina created the ability for each of us to not only find a path forward but build that path where needed.”

Header image: Still from the award-winning documentary Midnight Family, directed by Maine Media alum Luke Lorentzen.

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Instructor: Nina Gilden Seavey

Nina Gilden Seavey is an Emmy Award-winning documentarian with a 30-year career in the non-fiction world. Her media projects can be seen in theaters, on television,  in ancillary media, in museum exhibitions, and heard in podcasts across the globe.  She is also author of numerous articles, books, and essays on a wide-range of topics. Seavey is the President of Seavey Media.