Dispatch From Doc Class: Week 1

I have to preface this by saying that my first documentary, The Black Girl Project, was created without having taken a film class which was good in many ways, but left me without knowing a lot. A lot. While there is something to be said about being self-taught (I mean, lots of brilliant folks are self-taught), there’s also lots of advantages to learning from folks who are passionate and being able to share with your peers.

With that said, I am currently participating in the Filmmaker’s Collaborative at The Maysles Institute and already, after only one class, I have learned a lot.

We’re focusing on how to look at documentaries via the eyes of a producer, since we are all our own producers, along with the team we assemble; in addition to focusing on narrative and point of view. In the second part of this week’s class, we watched the first fifteen minutes (or first acts) of three documentaries and we learned how to glean the main character and whether it’s a person or place, tension, conflict, the main and secondary narratives and how the viewer is seduced into the film.

Of course I am now going to watch a bunch of documentaries (all praise Hulu) and do the same thing. Here are clips of what we watched.