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Documentary Certificate

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  • Objectives
    The intensive program provides students with the skills needed to produce, direct, write and edit their own documentary or specialized productions. Modelling the curriculum after a professional production cycle, the Documentary program takes students through the development of a story idea, from concept through development, pre-production, production, post-production and distribution stages of producing documentary or other types of special programming. Students gain a thorough understanding of the genre through the application of writing skills, camera techniques, picture and sound editing and business management. The program strongly emphasizes story development skills in conjunction with the acquisition of aesthetic, technical and professional skills. Upon completion of the program, students will be able to: *Demonstrate a commitment to non-fiction stories and their expression in a visual form. *Perform the fundamentals of producing, directing and writing for documentary and specialty production. *Apply the aesthetic, intellectual and philosophical dimensions of specific documentary genres, paying particular attention to the principals of documentary writing and production. *Employ effective research strategies into a variety of subject areas for different documentary sub-genres such as history, politics, culture, and performing arts. *Conceptualize and develop a documentary or specialized production considering funding, planning, writing and presenting or pitching. *Demonstrate technical understanding of and work with all necessary video and audio production equipment. *Perform audio and video editing in postproduction - story structure and a comprehensive understanding of aesthetic and technical elements of post production. *Understand and execute other aspects of production including fundraising, promotion, distribution and film festival competition. *Employ the breadth of aesthetic understanding through knowledge of the history of documentary production and analysis of the documentary as a persuasive means of communication to achieve social goals through the point-of-view documentary.
  • Academic Title
    Documentary Certificate
  • Course description
    First Term    Course Credits
    Required:    18.00
    • CMNS 131    Business Writing for Documentary    3.00
    • DOCS 101    Documentary Equipment Field Use    1.50
    • DOCS 107    Documentary Audio and Video Post Production - Foundation    1.50
    • DOCS 111    Documentary Development, Level I    1.50
    • DOCS 121    Documentary Story, Level I    1.50
    • DOCS 123    Documentary Story, Level II    1.50
    • DOCS 127    Documentary Studies I    1.50
    • DOCS 137    Documentary Project I    6.00
    Credits    18.00

    Second Term    Course Credits

    Required:    15.00
    • DOCS    Documentary Audio and Video Post Production - Advanced    1.50  *
    • DOCS    Documentary Development, Level II    1.50  *
    • DOCS    Documentary Lighting and Camera    0.75  *
    • DOCS    Documentary Project II    6.00  *
    • DOCS    Documentary Story, Level III    1.50  *
    • DOCS    Documentary Studies II    1.50  *
    • DOCS    Financing, Business Affairs & Professional Development - Documentary    1.50  *
    • DOCS    Sound for Documentary    0.75  *
    * Under development
    Credits    15.00
    Total Program Credits    33.00

    DOCS 101    Documentary Equipment Field Use
    1.50 credits    (4,0,0) hrs    08 wks
    This course is designed to provide an operational understanding of professional video and audio production equipment including various cameras, lighting, sound and other essential production equipment used in field operations. The course offers instruction in both basic production skills and the skills required to make the equipment work on locations far from technical support. Despite being mostly technical in nature, the course will touch upon visual aesthetics and the importance of visual story telling.

    DOCS 107    Documentary Audio and Video Post Production - Foundation
    1.50 credits    (4,0,0) hrs    08 wks
    This course is an intensive grounding in the art and science of storytelling through film editing. The course features a foundational analysis of editing principles, history and phases of postproduction, which include offline and online editing, sound editing, effects, graphics and format distribution.

    DOCS 111    Documentary Development, Level I
    1.50 credits    (4,0,0) hrs    08 wks
    This course provides students with the skills to turn their story ideas into films during the first phase of production. Students will learn how to develop their artistic voice as they learn about creative and professional processes to making a film, from research and writing to funding opportunities and how to exploit them. During the course students will develop their Project I documentary.

    DOCS 121    Documentary Story, Level I
    1.50 credits    (4,0,0) hrs    08 wks
    The first story course focuses on the basic theoretical and creative principles of non-fiction storytelling as they apply to the students' development of their first term projects. Students will explore the fundamentals of storytelling as they relate to film, from the basic three-act structure, to developing theme, visual style and point-of-view. Focusing on the creative process of idea generation through story development to final treatment for a one-off/stand alone documentary or small unit production, the course will include the writing of material for the first project.

    DOCS 123    Documentary Story, Level II
    1.50 credits    (4,0,0) hrs    08 wks
    Prerequisite: DOCS 121 is a prerequisite or co-requisite
    The second story module focuses on advanced story development, as students apply their storytelling skills to the creation of their first film. As they execute their Term 1 project, students will learn how to add nuance and sophistication to their stories through the developing perspective that comes with experience. Learning how to recognize the universal and psychological underpinnings of story, students will study how to add depth and breadth to their films through character development and the aesthetic choices they apply in production and post.

    DOCS 127    Documentary Studies I
    1.50 credits    (4,0,0) hrs    08 wks
    This course provides a historical and theoretical background to documentary film and video, with a particular emphasis on the documentary's role in social and political commentary. Learning how the "masters" did it, students will explore how their different aesthetic approaches were informed by historical events, creative movements, technological and industrial developments, as well as the personal, artistic and political vision that shaped their version of reality. Through immersion in the diverse language of the documentary form and aesthetics, students will be able to explore how their own philosophies and vision will influence the creative choices they make to tell their own stories.

    DOCS 137    Documentary Project I
    6.00 credits    (8,4,12) hrs    08 wks
    Prerequisite: DOCS 101, 107, 111 and 121 are prerequisites or co-requisites
    This course acknowledges the invaluable hands-on production skills learned during practical work on a video project. Students will be granted credit for successful work in project planning, preparation and execution. Working in a mentored environment, the student will be directly involved in planning, producing and editing one or more student projects. Instruction will be in the form of practical demonstrations, individual assistance and supervised work on specific projects.

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