Developing Documentaries (New York City Course)

three-simple-rules-banner.jpgTell a story, make us care, keep it short.

and here’s how can you do it.


£140 (early booking discount until 28th May)
Course notes will be available at the end of the weekend.
Tutor: Andi Reiss
Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 14.16.16.png

Fact can be stranger than Fiction … those who are passionate about factual filmmaking have a lot to contend with! Developing Documentaries will help you to put your ideas into action, realise your ambitions and explore your creative output through documentary filmmaking.

Course Overview
Developing Documentaries will give you the tools, techniques and knowledge required to go on to research, develop, schedule and plan your own documentaries. This intensive weekend course is designed to exercise your thinking and gear you towards Documentary Ideas, Pitches, Proposals and Treatment writing, all of which are essential in developing a career in documentary. Whether working in a crew or as a self-shooter, it will also give you an overview of Shooting Schedules, Budgets, Health & Safety and legal requirements, as well as what is fitting technically for your production. It also includes an individual tutorial to further develop your ideas.
Screen Shot 2019-05-13 at 14.00.38.png
Who is this course aimed at?

This course is aimed at new and developing filmmakers who want to produce their own documentaries or other factual based moving image work . It is designed as a follow-on course, so participants should have already done some general filmmaking training or have worked in some other area of filmmaking eg. Camera, Sound or Editing etc. It is also suitable for people who worked in other factual disciplines such as journalism.


Developing documentaries is for people who:

  • Want to improve and enhance their documentary skills
  • Are passionate about telling factual stories and getting diverse concepts across
  • Want to rise to the challenge of producing low budget documentary
  • Aspire to take their first step into factual TV and/or feature documentaries
  • Aim to develop non-broadcast work such as corporate and web productions
  • Desire to use digital video as a tool to communicate their work or service


Course Outline

Saturday : Looking at history of documentary styles and film-makers, a number of exercises will be used in order to get students thinking about their developing ideas, research and the importance of the Pitch. (You will already have chosen your idea, as a short outline will be emailed to you before the course starts, so you can select your project).

Overnight Homework: Participants will plan a short Pitch for the next day (this should take you no more than 1 hour to prepare)

Sunday : Interviewing exercise, turning your proposal into a Treatment, Recces/location assessment, Shooting schedule, Budgets, Health and Safety, Release forms, Funding, Career options.

Tutorial: Each student can book an additional one-to-one 30 minute tutorial to discuss their individual development; this will usually be via Skype by mutual arrangement. Additionally, each student can book a one-to-one 60 minute mentoring session with international educator Kris Sorbie, who whilst known in the US as the equivalent of royalty in the hair industry, is a skilled and sought after public speaker who can help and advise on pitch presentations and building your confidence when it comes to facing the industry at meetings, festivals and markets.


Course History

This course was born out of the educational programmes that Andi has taught at Film Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Oxford is a Documentary City: as well as being home to many award-winning documentary filmmakers (including a Sundance Documentary feature winner) it has a thriving factual TV industry, with many small documentary companies based in the city and county making programmes for BBC, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky. Many have reported to us a lack of local skills forcing them to seek crew and production staff from outside the county.

Now that Andi lives and works both in Oxford and in New York City, this is a chance to make the next step in developing your documentary skills and improve your employment prospects.


Course Tutor Andi Reiss

Andi Reiss is an independent media producer, filmmaker and video artist. His documentary films, photographs and art installations aim to focus on realism and social commentary with a distinctive experimental style, highlighting issues of controversy and distant voice. His screenplays and drama work aims to entertain. His commercial work aims to innovate and earn. Essentially his work aims to explore how people are fugitives of lived time, within the context of being in the world, and yet somehow not of it.

As a producer, a director, writer, self-shooter, editor and colourist, photographer, media artist, video painter, cartoonist and university lecturer, his work challenges the constraints and conventions of spectatorship and chronicles an emotive connection between people and their relationship to the worlds and scenarios they inhabit. It spans film, installation, graphics and performance, employing a range of methodologies in media.

Over twenty years of working independently Reiss has won some international festival awards and has gained experience of most film-making situations, producing many varied types of content from live events, digital videos, long-form observational documentary, short and very short films, to a 90-minute feature and multi-channel video installation, or video variants. He has a Master of Arts with Distinction in 21st Century Media Practice, and outside of professional activities, his interests include trampolining, bubblewrap, Avril Lavigne’s underrated latter work and stone-skipping.