Skip to main content

Watch Trailer

Making a Short Documentary

with Ed Kashi and Julie Winokur

Log in or Sign up for FREE and get full access to these and thousands of other Open Lessons in our catalog! Watch 2 Lessons For Free

  •   Trailer

  •   01 Class Introduction

    13:55
  •   07 Turn Failures Into Lessons

    13:46

Class duration: 10h 41m

See all 35 lessons
  • 26K students

    100% satisfaction guaranteed

  • 93% recommended

    44 student reviews

  • Access anytime

    OFFLINE SYNC WITH iOS APPS

Get the Pass

starting at $25 $13/month*

$299 $149/year or $39/month

Unlock this class plus 1500+ more >

Watch Now

You already have access!

Buy Class

$99

About The Class

Produce and create powerful stories from start to finish

AFTER THIS CLASS YOU’LL BE ABLE TO:

  • Figure out what your story is and create a story arc or narrative.
  • Perform extensive research and gather background information.
  • Prepare for, conduct, and edit an interview.
  • Use B-roll footage to round out your story.
  • Master the post-production process and create a polished finished piece.
  • Find partners and funders through pitching and trailers.

ABOUT ED AND JULIE’S CLASS:

Documentary film is an incredibly powerful way to tell a story, but it can also be a daunting project to undertake. How do you figure out your story, theme, and vision? What’s the best way to interact with your subject? What about all the technical aspects—from lighting to audio to editing? And of course, how will you get the funds to complete your film?

If all these uncertainties are causing you to rethink your idea of making documentaries, then this class is a must for you. Award winning documentarians and photojournalists Ed Kashi and Julie Winokur will give you all the information and inspiration you need to tackle your project and see it through to the finish.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify a great subject and define your vision.
  • Research your subject thoroughly and find other work that’s been done on it.
  • Choose and gather the equipment you’ll need.
  • Prepare for your interview, including formulating the right questions.
  • Conduct an interview, including setting up your lights and capturing the audio.
  • Create a post-production workflow.
  • Write a compelling pitch and create a trailer to gain funding and support.
  • Generate a variety of end products, including videos for social media and still photos.

Whether you’re looking to create shareable videos on social platforms or hoping to gather funding to produce a bigger project, this class will help you simplify the process and begin creating documentaries for clients or to fulfill your own artistic vision.

WHO THIS CLASS IS FOR:

  • Photojournalists and photographers wanting to get into video to expand their capabilities and explore new ways of telling stories.
  • Budding filmmakers who need the knowledge and inspiration to get started on their project.
  • Those who want more technical information and skills on how to develop and produce video and film


Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Class Introduction

    Ed Kashi and Julie Winokur, a husband and wife filmmaking team, offer an overview of this class on how to make a short documentary.

    13:55
  2. 02

    How Did We Start Making Documentaries?

    Ed and Julie describe their backgrounds, explain what has led up to their careers as documentary filmmakers and talk about how to start making documentaries.

    12:08
  3. 03

    Universal Themes Through First-Person Storytelling

    See some of Julie and Ed’s early work and listen to them discuss the importance of first-person storytelling, the integration of stills and video, and publication across media platforms.

    32:10
  4. 04

    Use Visual Language to Tackle a Theme

    Julie and Ed show a more recent project to talk about how to structure a documentary and the infinite options for tackling a theme.

    07:26
  5. 05

    Issue Driven & Non-English Story Development

    Ed shares his documentary about young Syrian refugees and discusses documentary story development. He talks about what it’s like to create an extremely personal project that is both emotional and newsworthy.

    27:05
  6. 06

    Translate a Theme Into a Film

    Learn about the differences between themes and stories, how to translate your concept into an actual film, and what goes into the documentary storytelling process.

    24:41
  7. 07

    Turn Failures Into Lessons

    Look at an example of an idea that didn’t pan out and learn about the mistakes documentary filmmakers make.

    13:46
  8. 08

    Finding Your Subjects

    Your subjects are your collaborators. They’re with you throughout your journey of making a documentary, so it’s important to learn how to find a documentary subject.

    15:07
  9. 09

    What is Your Motivation?

    Discover what your motivation is for telling a particular story and learn about finding a documentary theme.

    02:10
  10. 10

    Follow Your Passion & Invest in Yourself

    Sometimes you need to invest your own time, money, and energy to do a project. Julie and Ed talk about getting started in documentary filmmaking.

    05:22
  11. 11

    Client Work Vs Legacy Work

    Learn how to bring your documentary filmmaking skills to short videos for clients.

    17:51
  12. 12

    Translate the Idea to Reality

    The first thing to do once you have an idea is to do a lot of research. Learn about researching a documentary so you can understand the issue inside and out.

    16:25
  13. 13

    Create Multiple Products from One Idea

    Sometimes you can create smaller pieces that focus on a particular story from larger projects. Here you’ll learn more about documentary storytelling techniques.

    22:17
  14. 14

    Pre-Production Plan

    Before you start shooting, get on the phone with your subject to talk about logistics, background information, and other essential aspects of the documentary production process.

    09:32
  15. 15

    You Just Have to Dive In

    At a certain point, you need to just dive in and get to the work—there’s really nothing to lose. Here you’ll go over the steps to documentary filmmaking.

    30:40
  16. 16

    Time & Cost for Projects

    The harsh reality of trying to get films made is the difficulty of raising money to get the job done. Ed and Julie help answer the question of how much do documentaries cost—from person hours to equipment to travel.

    28:21
  17. 17

    Writing a Strong Pitch

    Learn how to pitch a documentary idea so you can clarify your vision, get others excited about your project, and propel your idea forward.

    11:38
  18. 18

    Develop a Fundraising Trailer

    Creating a documentary pitch video will help you showcase your idea and raise money for your project.

    12:28
  19. 19

    Identify & Approach Partners

    Learn about finding documentary partners who might be interested in working with you or supporting your idea and how to approach them.

    06:35
  20. 20

    Define Your Desired Impact

    Finding a topic for a documentary means you’ll have to think about what you want to accomplish with your work, whether it be a personal goal or something more far reaching.

    21:21
  21. 21

    Introduction to Working in the Field

    Get an introduction about working in the field and location scouting for film.

    06:19
  22. 22

    Shoot: Interview Set Up

    Learn about documentary interview setup, including doing a pre-interview, coming with the necessary equipment, and knowing where you’ll be placing your cameras.

    34:38
  23. 23

    Shoot: The Interview

    Here are some interviewing tips for documentary filmmaking, including how to prepare your subject, figure out your questions, and allow your subject’s voice to truly come out.

    32:08
  24. 24

    Different Types of Interviews

    There are many different documentary interview styles. Some have a formal set-up with artificial light, some are more casual with natural light, and some are done on the go.

    13:35
  25. 25

    Shoot: Capturing B-Roll

    B-roll is everything you shoot outside of the interview and is used to establish a sense of place, put your character in context, and tell more of your story through visuals. Here are some things to consider with b-roll.

    21:54
  26. 26

    Shoot: Detail Shots

    Detail shots allow you to focus on something small and particular that helps to illuminate your story. Here’s how to create a filmmaking shot list.

    18:09
  27. 27

    Shoot: Capturing a Scene

    A scene is an opportunity to watch your subject interact with someone else, offering further information about their life and character. Learn some key documentary film shooting tips.

    27:02
  28. 28

    Shoot: A Set Up Shot

    Creating a great set-up shot involves thinking about the lighting, the background audio, and the camera angle. Here you’ll learn about some filmmaking shots and angles.

    24:03
  29. 29

    What Video to Keep in The Edit?

    The film post-production process workflow is an intensive process of figuring out what to keep, what to toss, and what to polish for your final product.

    16:06
  30. 30

    Identify Strongest Audio as Starting Point for Edit

    Learn about audio post-production techniques, including starting with your strongest piece of audio so you can begin with something powerful and compelling.

    30:01
  31. 31

    Use Audio to Guide Narrative

    Ed and Julie discuss the importance of sound in documentary. Listen for the narrative spine, the unfolding of information, and the integration of multiple voices.

    09:33
  32. 32

    Transform Raw Content Into Finished Piece

    The quality of your final cut depends on your visuals, music and ambient sound, and the editing rhythm. Here you’ll learn about documentary post-production editing steps.

    23:49
  33. 33

    Building Scenes in Your Edit

    One way of creating a short documentary is to focus on building your scenes and try to create some drama within them. Find out about some key drama film editing techniques.

    03:41
  34. 34

    Short Doc Created from Pre Shoot: Resonant

    Watch the final cut of “Resonant,” the documentary that Julie and Ed created for this course, and learn about finishing a documentary film.

    46:21
  35. 35

    Final Thoughts

    Ed and Julie talk about why they work on documentaries and provide some filmmaker inspiration.

    03:01

Meet Your Experts

Ed Kashi

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker, speaker, and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. He has covered topics as diverse as the impact of the oil industry in Nigeria, the protestant community in Northern Ireland, the lives of Jewish settlers in the West Bank, conflicts between the Shiites and Sunnis in Iraq, the impact of early onset Alzheimer’s, climate change, the relationship between sugarcane and chronic kidney disease in Nicaragua and the plight of Syrian refugees. ... read more

See instructor's Classes

Julie Winokur

Julie Winokur, Executive Director of Talking Eyes Media, is a writer and documentary film producer whose work uses the power of visual media to catalyze positive social change. ... read more

See instructor's Classes

Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • zip Class Keynotes

93% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • Creativelive Student

    June 2017

    OUSTANDIING COURSE, congratulations creative live for bring Julie and Ed in teach about documentary filmmaking. I have watched and bought a fair few courses on this subject and not one of them comes close to this. You can see the amount of work Julie and Ed have done to make this course amazing. The best bits for me are the real teaching opportunities when Ed and Julie are making their violin documentary. I have never seen this before in any course. Thanks Ed and Julie for an amazing course and letting us see inside there work that you do and sharing all your experience with us. I've never really written any feedback for most courses, so this must be a good one :)

  • Creativelive Student

    June 2017

    Ed & Julie provide so much insight & knowledge into the documentary making process. This is a high-level class that gives you a wonderful overview of what goes into making a powerful and interesting documentary film. It was so helpful to watch them work on an actual short film from start to finish, and to hear their workflow. You'll need to learn the technical nitty gritty elsewhere, but this course will help you dive into how to tell stories on video. I particularly loved the segment on doing interviews, and Julie is an absolute pro at this! Also really nice to see Ed & Julie working/teaching together and how their different skills complement each other. It was a pleasure to learn from them!

  • user 1399904409596125

    June 2017

    Great class! I pre-purchased it and I'm glad I did. Great information, great pieces of work shared, and I especially liked how they showed from start to finish the piece "Resonant" . which I enjoyed watching. I'm a professional photographer (since 1985) who has for the last five years been transitioning in film making and I got some great tips from watching this.

    Similar classes you might like

    You know who’d love this class...?

    When gift-spiration strikes, grab it. Give this class to a friend who’d love it. For their birthday or just because. (Or just because you missed their birthday.)

    GIFT THIS CLASS