Take the first steps towards making your film a reality by producing a proposal and pitch tape.

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 on Saturday 11am-12pm ET + Individual 1-hour 1:1 tutorials

Do you have a documentary film idea that you would like to get off the ground? Or perhaps you would just like to explore story ideas in a creative, supportive environment. Join this online community of filmmakers whose shared goal is to see their ideas realized. Guided by award-winning documentarian Tom Donohue, you’ll have the benefit of his twenty years’ experience writing and pitching greenlighted proposals for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. By the end of the course, you will have developed your concept, started putting your ideas to tape and produced a one-page proposal and pitch tape designed to engage key participants, funders and broadcasters alike.

This workshop is hands-on yet no previous technical expertise is required. You may not be the cinematographer or the editor for the final film but you will be the one capturing and assembling the pitch tape.  Our medium is audiovisual. Developing these skills, even to a basic level, will give you incredible creative control and intimacy with your subject.

We’ll start each week in a Zoom classroom introducing key step towards creating a short pitch tape. Within the week you’ll meet with Tom individually to address any technical hurdles and focus on your particular story. The process is broken down into a half-dozen progressive steps with a goal of six-weeks to create a one-pager and pitch tape.

  1. The Elevator pitch: Recording the Interview
  2. Introduction to Editing: Pulling Selects
  3. Developing the One-Pager
  4. The Scout: Shooting for Coverage and Sequences
  5. Putting It All Together: Pyramid editing
  6. The Pitch

The Launching Pad is a platform for growing your ideas within a supportive community. You’ll learn and be inspired by your fellow students. Our last class together is the pitch session. You’ll share your work and witness the progress your classmates made over the course of the six weeks. Often the material captured for the pitch tape proves to be an integral building block for the final film. But at the very least, you’ll produce in this workshop the all-important “calling cards” for producing a film: the pitch tape and accompanying one-pager.


Tom Donohue has been teaching at Maine Media since 2002. His former students have said of his previous courses:

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, 2020 “From Still to Motion” course

“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. Tom’s criticism of my successive cuts was candid, to the point but also delivered in a very tactful and efficient way. 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, 2020 “From Still to Motion” course

“A year ago I left home to follow a dream of mine, and spent a month of immersive creative education in documentary studies at Maine Media taught by Cinewright, and a year later my team’s short doc, “Champ 5”, has been accepted at two film festivals.”

~ David Jester, 2019 “4-Week Documentary Film School”

Image Credit: Owen Weaver, Header image:  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. Tom has taught at Maine Media since 2002 and also leads our Travel Workshops in Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico and Argentina.