Create a nature documentary while sea kayaking The Maine Island Trail.

Dates:
Aug 14, 2021 - Aug 27, 2021


Workshop Fee: $2880
Class Size: 10 (max)

Film Experience Levels: Intermediate Advanced
Outdoor Experience: Neophyte and up

SPECIAL NOTE:  At the time of registration a deposit of $400 will be taken (part of tuition cost). The student will then be transferred to Tom Donohue, the primary faculty member, for final billings and all future communications regarding the class.

Become the complete nature documentarian with this Classroom in the Wild collaboration between American University’s Center for Environmental Filmmaking and Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine. From first shot to final edit, engage in a holistic approach to filmmaking in which you will develop your command over each phase of the filmmaking process. After a week of capturing your story in nature, you will explore the art of editing by crafting your field footage into a finished nature documentary for your portfolio.

A sea kayak is an excellent tool for the nature documentarian to commune with nature. It provides the stealth necessary to film wildlife up-close, something impossible to achieve with a motorized vessel. Our sea kayaking workshop is truly an immersive educational experience; you are bound to get wet. But you’ll learn how to keep your camera equipment and camping gear dry. Award-winning documentarian Tom Donohue will guide you in the skills and thought processes necessary for capturing your story while registered Maine Sea Kayaking guide Josh Lipkowitz will teach you the skills necessary for island exploration.

Sea kayaking the Maine Island Trail is a dream destination for many sea kayakers. There is no better time to enjoy this unique adventure than mid-August when the waters are at their warmest and the air cool. Our adventure begins on the Saturday night when you meet Tom and Josh at our first campsite for dinner and orientation. We’ll start the next day in the water to learn the basics of sea kayaking. After lunch, we’re off to our first island in search of a story. 

In total you will have five days to capture your story. Then, following a weekend to get home and recuperate, you will start on your edit in our on-line classroom. Editing teaches you what you need to know about your camerawork. You’ll discover both your successes and errors from the field. Overcoming mishaps is at the heart of documentary storytelling. Tom will guide you through the process with class lectures each morning and an individual review of your cut in the afternoon. At the end of edit week, we will screen all our films together. 

Covid-19 Safety Protocol

Our classroom in the wild was created with safety in mind. During this time of pandemic, we believe that outdoor recreation is more important than ever and in-line with safety protocol. Each student will be provided their own tent for sleeping. We will not require students to wear masks while kayaking but we would encourage use when in close proximity to others. Be aware that the state of Maine requires out-of-State visitors to either pass a Coronavirus test within 72 hours of arrival or spend 14 days in quarantine. You can check current guidelines at Maine.gov. We are in favor of testing and vaccination as these measures will keep our small group safe. 

Editing from home with Zoom is another safety measure while being an effective way to learn to edit.  You’ll share your computer screen directly with Tom. You’ll also share in your fellow classmates learning as they develop their stories under Tom’s guidance. Even at a distance our sense of community will continue online. 

Equipment

Included in the Sea Kayaking week is everything you will need from food to shelter to a tandem sea kayak during your time on the water. You only need to bring layered clothing and your camera gear. We recommend leaving your laptop at home. Do bring a hard drive so we can transfer your camera footage during the expedition. For those preferring to rent cameras, Tom will work with you to assemble a camera and audio package. A basic rental kit runs about $350 for the week. It will be delivered to you at our first campsite. We strongly recommend accidental water damage insurance for your cameras as we cannot be responsible for them.

Faculty

Tom Donohue (Film Teacher) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has been leading Maine Media Workshops for almost 20 years both in Maine and abroad in Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina. His most recent National Geographic assignments ranged from environmental pieces in the Galapagos Islands to filming polar bears up close in the Arctic. Tom’s website: Cinewright.com

Josh Lipkowitz (Wilderness Teacher) is the owner and Registered Maine Sea Kayak Guide for MountainSea Expeditions. Josh has a graduate degree in Conservation Biology. His passion is leading people young and old into the outdoors on foot, skis, snowboards, surfboards, sailboats, canoes, bicycles, and sea kayaks.

David Jester (Teaching Assistant) is a Paramedic and Fireman for the State of Maine as well as a passionate Sea Kayaker. David recently pursued his dream of making documentary films by enrolling in Maine Media’s 4-week Documentary Film School taught by Tom. David’s student film went on to be accepted at two important film festivals last year.

american.edu/soc/environmental-film

About Tom Donohue

Tom Donohue (Film Teacher) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has been leading Maine Media Workshops for almost 20 years both in Maine and abroad in Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina. His most recent National Geographic assignments ranged from environmental pieces in the Galapagos Islands to filming polar bears up close in the Arctic.