Foundations of Documentary Practice
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Level: Graduate
Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Department: Media Studies
Course Number: NDOC 5000
Course Format: Studio
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Documentary Filmmaking
  • Media Studies
Students work toward understanding the fundamental aesthetic tools of documentary filmmaking: camera, sound, structure, and interviewing in the context of individual filmic style. Beginning with a series of exercises that lead to production on the year-long project, students sharpen nonfiction directing and producing skills and gain exposure to the different types of documentary. The course has two components, lecture and production lab, in which student work serves as the basis for tackling aesthetic, narrative and practical issues in documentary. The semester is divided between idea development and preproduction and active production (8 weeks) on individual documentary projects. We also view segments of films and videos that represent major trends in documentary history and conduct regular outside reading, thus creating an active seminar for the appreciation of the aesthetic, ethical and practical concerns inherent in a given directorial choice. Guest filmmakers provide supplementary instruction and mentorship.
Course Open to: Majors Only
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Course open only to Documentary Studies Certificate students


Open to Graduate students.


Open to Documentary Media Studies students.