Learn to develop, structure and pitch your documentary idea for sale and production.

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While ideas for documentaries abound, the key is to realize the development of the idea into a doable, sellable, and compelling documentary treatment or proposal. This course is for anyone who has a documentary project  to produce, write and develop. The workshop provides an overview of the process by which documentary ideas become films. Students learn what works and what does not. Instruction covers how to research a story, outline ideas, develop a treatment, introduce and develop characters. In addition to participating in lectures, screenings, readings and one-on-one consults with the instructor, students practice pitching their projects in class for critique. The class covers a wide range of documentary forms and styles, including nature and science, social and current events, history and biography. Students come away with a firm understanding of how to put a documentary idea into a format that can be marketed and produced.

Image Credit: Kara Birnbaum, Header Image:  ©Christine Cluff

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Instructor: Jack McDonald

Jack McDonald is an Emmy Award-winning writer and director of documentary films for National Geographic ExplorerDiscovery, TLC and PBS. For nearly 30 years he has been a writing and story consultant in a variety of formats, from independent film to online media, helping to create compelling content aimed at mass audiences as well as targeted work for NGOs and advocacy groups.  A distinguished instructor, Jack has taught documentary writing and story workshops throughout the U.S. and Europe, and has been teaching at MMW for two decades.