Guided by an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, learn how to go it alone.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

Email [email protected] for availability.

This Course will be held online using the Zoom platform. 
The class will meet weekly on Fridays from 1-4pm EST (Plus additional 1:1 time available with instructor)

Some of the most intimate and ground-breaking documentaries of all time have been made by one-person crews. From the beginnings of non-fiction cinema, filmmakers have single-handedly juggled cameras, sound equipment, and story decisions to document characters and moments otherwise thought impossible to film. Over the course of this four-week workshop, students will develop, shoot, and edit a five minute documentary without the support of a crew. Through hands-on practice, we will explore the challenges and benefits that come with going solo.

From the technical to theoretical, we will plunge into the filmmaking process from beginning to end. Coursework will broadly cover topics such as story development, cinematography, sound recording, story structure, and editing. We will talk with industry leaders who have defined the one-person approach and analyze examples of this style of filmmaking at its best. Students will complete this course with a finished short film, expanded technical knowledge, and the confidence to dive into bigger projects on their own.

This workshop is designed for students with prior experience in documentary filmmaking who are eager to learn parts of the process they have not yet explored. Coursework will include weekly lectures, group discussion, and one-on-one meetings. 

Students will supply their own camera and sound equipment and are encouraged to work with gear that will allow them to achieve the best possible results. While students can explore the essential dynamics of how to make the one person documentary using a smartphone, a DSLR or equipment they already have, a key goal of the course is to help students work with a professional standard. Thus, the instructor will be happy to recommend an equipment package ($150-389) that participants can rent for the three-day production phase in week two of the class. The instructor will discuss equipment options with participants before the class starts and provide links to possible rental packages. He will also discuss with you any questions you might have about substituting other equipment. Students should have their own computer and be proficient in their editing software. The instructor will be using Adobe Premiere for demonstrations.

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Instructor: Luke Lorentzen

Luke Lorentzen is an Emmy Award-winning documentary filmmaker and lecturer in Stanford University's department of Art and Art History. His most recent film, A STILL SMALL VOICE, follows a chaplain completing a year-long hospital residency. The film won the U.S. Documentary Best Director Award at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, was listed as one of the best ten films of the year by the New York Times, and was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar.

Luke’s previous film MIDNIGHT FAMILY (2019), which tells the story of a family-run ambulance business in Mexico City, was also shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar after winning over 35 awards from film festivals and organizations around the world including a Special Jury Award for Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival, Best Editing from the International Documentary Association, and the Golden Frog for Best Documentary from Camerimage.

Luke’s other work as a director and cinematographer includes the Netflix original series, LAST CHANCE U (2019), which won an Emmy for Outstanding Serialized Sports Documentary.