Schedule

The Digital Documentary

Spring 2018 // R 6–8:45 PM // HCC 407
Jesse Stommel // @Jessifer // jstommel@umw.edu

This schedule will evolve as we proceed. Watch regularly for more details, added readings and short films, small assignments, and stuff might move around as our conversation does.

WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION
January 18: Introduction / Blackfish (83 min) [screening in class] [Netflix] [Amazon]

Assignment: Click here to join our class Slack channel at digdoc.slack.com.

WEEK 2: DIGITAL STORYTELLING
January 25: Digital Storytelling Workshop / Guest Instructor: Jess Reingold
Angie Kordic, “Documentary Photography: Art as Life”

Assignment: 7 days. 7 B&W photos of your life. No people. No explanation. Each day from January 18 – January 24, publish one photo tagged #digdoc to your Instagram [create a new public account if you don’t want to use your personal account or if it’s private]. Bring full resolution copies to class on January 25.

WEEK 3: THE CAMERA
February 1: Cameraperson (102 min) [Amazon Prime]
Michael Koreski, “I Am a Camera”
Richard Brody, “Cameraperson and the Conventions of Documentary Filmmaking”

WEEK 4: THE VOICE
February 8: Stories We Tell (109 min) [Amazon Prime]
StoryCorps [browse and listen to a handful of stories]

WEEK 5: SOUND RECORDING
February 15: Voiceover and Video Editing [in place of class, please visit the DKC for a video editing tutorial. If you have experience already, I suggest bringing a draft and working with a DKC tutor on more advanced tips and tricks.]

1 Minute Documentaries: One Minute Wonder, 1MinuteDoc, 1 Minute Meal, 1 Minute Short Films

WEEK 6: WHAT BECOMES OF THINGS ON FILM
February 22: Encounters at the End of the World (99 min) [Netflix] [Amazon]

Is there a relation between “things and their filmed projections, which is to say between the originals now absent from us (by screening) and the new originals now present to us (in photogenesis) — a relation to be thought of as something’s becoming something (say as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, or as a prisoner becomes a count, or as an emotion becomes conscious, or as after a long night it becomes light)?” ~ Stanley Cavell

Assignment: 1 minute documentary. A single voice. 20 cuts. Upload to instagram and tag with #digdoc anytime before our class meets.

Looking ahead: The final project for this class will be a short documentary film that you’ll produce in a group of 2-5. Begin forming your group, considering your subject matter, and deciding what shape your film will take.

WEEK 7: THE STUDIO
March 1: Introduction to the Production Studio / Guest Instructors: Cartland Berge and Jess Reingold

Reading: Overview: How Does Cinematography Impact Tone?
Use Your Camera to Control Audience Perspective
Using Sound in Your Film
Film Lighting Basics

After reading the above, think about how cinematography, lighting, and sound convey tone in the following clip, independent of (and sometimes in contradiction with) the action happening in this scene and in the shots from the preview for the movie Mountain.

WEEK 8: SPRING BREAK

WEEK 9: RHETORIC
March 15:  High School (75 min) [screening in class]

Assignment: Logline for proposed documentary film. Shooting schedule. Clearly defined roles for each group member. [some examples]

WEEK 10: POLITICS
March 22: 13th (100 min) [Netflix]

Assignment: Midterm Self-evaluation

WEEK 11: ACTIVISM
March 29: The Hunting Ground (103 min) [Amazon] [Netflix]

WEEK 12: INTERACTIVITY
April 5: “Hollow” [online]
“Bear 71” [online]
Watch at least one more from the National Film Board of Canada
[Browse and view more interactive documentaries]

WEEK 13: STRUCTURE
April 12: Citizenfour (114 min) [Amazon]

Assignment: A marketing plan, including draft poster and web site for your final film. Shared in Slack anytime before class.

As a group (or on your own, if you’re working solo), create and begin implementing a marketing plan for the documentary you’re producing. Your “web site” can be a full promotional site, a social media account for your film, a Facebook page, etc. As you share material, use the #digdoc tag.

WEEK 14: POST-PRODUCTION
April 19: Marketing Peer Review and Collaborative Editing Day

Assignment: Two things (1) a 30-second to 1-minute edited preview for your final film and (2) a single 30-second to 1-minute shot, the “thesis” (interpreted loosely) of your final film.

During class, we will be making final revisions to marketing materials and beginning to release them to the Web.

WEEK 15: FINAL FILM
April 26: Full-length Work Cut Screening and Discussion (the entirety of your film in an almost ready to go live form)

During class, we will watch and offer feedback on each film.

FINAL EXAM PERIOD
May 3: Final Film Premiere / Optional Documentary and Discussion — a recent documentary of our collective choosing

Assignment: 3-10 minute documentary that does work in the world. A group of 2-5 people. Marketing. An artist statement.