Dive into story structure and pacing as you create a compelling nature documentary short

There are no available registration dates at this time.

NOTE: 2020 Dates for this course have been postponed due to COVID-19. Tom Donohue will be offering an online course Aug 10-21, 2020

In this course, you will learn both the basics and advanced techniques of editing on the industry standard platform, Adobe Premiere Pro. More importantly, you will dive into story structure and pacing as you create a documentary short appropriate for the web. Our work will premiere at the Friday Night Show after a traditional Lobster dinner.

Whether working with one’s own footage or that of a client, approaching an edit demands an open mind to the material. Often it is easier to see the elements of a story as an editor who is unattached to the original concept.

Editing is both a technical and an artistic endeavor. By “workshopping” a film, you’ll learn the tools  of post-production through the creative process of assembling a documentary. Concepts like “three-point editing” or “pyramid timelines” are easier to understand when they are serving a story. Our stories are fresh out of the field. 


You will start with the basics of Non-Linear Editing on the industry standard Adobe Premiere Pro. This is a must-know for anyone with the goal of working as an editor. Systematically you will build your technical skills as you construct your story. You will be led through the entire process starting with the basic selection of shots on to the more complex finishing stages of color correction and sound mix. 


This course provides strong foundation in today’s editing software but it goes well beyond that. How does one approach an edit creatively? Ideally, one should allow the story to evolve organically. This means working with unexpected treasures found in the material. At other times, a firm-handed approach is necessary. We will watch examples of both types of edits. We will also learn from each other as we see different results our fellow classmates achieve with the same footage.

Our final goal is a documentary short appropriate for the internet or a work reel. This short contains all the elements of a longer piece, from story to structure to pacing. Not only will you leave Maine Media with the technical skills to edit a longer works, you will have a new approach to your editing process. 

Image Credits: Amanda Piela, Peter Stumpf,  Header: Darcy Aders

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Instructor: Tom Donohue

Tom has twenty five years’ experience creating broadcast documentaries for National Geographic Television and The Discovery Channel. Recent Geographic assignments include the Arctic and the Galapagos Islands. His work has been recognized with an EMMY nomination for “Outstanding Artistic & Cultural Achievement”. Tom has been a MMW faculty member since 2002. He leads the Travel Workshops to Cuba, Mexico and Argentina.