Pre-Production for the Documentary Film


Good documentary films almost always have a solid foundation in research and pre-production. This class is recommended as preparation for the Final Project Seminar in Documentary Studies for film/video students.  Participants should have a project idea in mind and be prepared to commit to developing it in depth.  We will focus on research, proposal and treatment writing, budgeting, fundraising, scheduling, “casting,” as well as the other elements that make up the pre-production phase in professional documentary film. Through class discussions, constructive feedback, in class “pitch” sessions and presentations, and homework assignments, participants will prepare their projects for successful production, and approval for the final project seminar. Elisabeth Haviland James is the creative talent behind Thornapple Films, which she founded in 2003 as an independent media company specializing in documentary and recently expanded to include narrative and experimental filmmaking. In 2009, Thornapple Films relocated from New York City to West Main Street in Durham, North Carolina. James, an award-winning producer and director, is  committed to telling worthwhile and meaningful stories. Her recent work includes pre-production for a narrative feature in the Central African Republic and the production of two large-budget feature documentaries directed by George Butler, The Lord God Bird and The Good Fight. To learn more, visit [Course credits: 16 hours]

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