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Intro to Documentary

AFTRS-Australian Film Television and Radio School

About the Course

Have an idea for a documentary but aren’t sure where to start? Interested to learn more about the genre, including factual TV/documentary series, feature Ddcumentary and web docs? This course will give you a great introduction and show you how to start moving your documentary ideas into actual productions.


This course will cover:

  • A brief history of documentaries
  • What is documentary? What is reality? Is there always a point of view?
  • Documentary aesthetics & genres
  • The interviewer/interviewing styles (Errol Morris, Michael Moore, Barbara Kopple, John Pilger, etc.)
  • Developing your own concepts: where to start/breaking down an idea
  • Verité vs. Direct Cinema
  • Simple interview practical exercises
  • How to ask questions/the art of the ‘follow up’
  • Recording footage from chaotic situations/having a plan
  • Film grammar on your feet
  • Australian documentary funding bodies/funding sources
  • Film festival strategy: find your niche
  • Distribution models
  • Multi-platform: perfect for documentaries

This course involves lecture, screening and discussion and some practical exercises planned to get you out of your seats and thinking on their feet.


Intense and covered an enormous amount of territory in a short amount of time. Very worthwhile.

Very generous with knowledge and experience.

Thank you Dylan for the energy and huge download of information.

This was such an amazing introduction and starting point that I am leaving with huge inspiration and valuable knowledge!


Designed for students who have little or no knowledge of the Documentary genre, but have a strong interest in storytelling, and connecting with audience through telling true stories.



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