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Advanced Documentary Boot Camp with Melody Gilbert

Starts April 1

2 sessions: Saturday–Sunday, April 1–2, 10 am–6 pm

You have an idea for a documentary and are eager to get started. Let’s go! This weekend intensive is an ideal next step for those who’ve attended Melody Gilbert’s Documentary Boot Camp and/or have identified a subject for a documentary. During the weekend you’ll pitch, shoot, write, and edit at least one minute of your documentary idea.

The workshop provides a mixture of classroom lecture/discussion and hands-on work and is designed for both beginners and more advanced filmmakers who need a little push. You’ll learn Melody’s unique shooting and editing techniques to get started. Perhaps you’ll shoot an interview (at FilmNorth or off-site). You could shoot some b-roll (you can never have too much!) or identify archival footage you can use. You might have someone else interview you on-camera about your project for a crowdfunding campaign. At any rate, you’ll increase your technical skills and identify and practice effective approaches to telling your story. You’ll be amazed by the power of a group experience and a safe environment for learning, testing the waters, and receiving constructive feedback!

Please bring a laptop with editing software and/or a video camera. If you don’t have any equipment, we’ll pair you with someone who does or provide access to FilmNorth’s equipment and edit lab (basic experience with Adobe Premiere Pro CC and shooting with an HD camera expected). You’ll leave at the end of the weekend with some footage and a more solid foundation from which proceed with your project! There is a lunch break each day.

Tuition: $270 regular/$205 member/$155 low-income

Melody Gilbert has directed, produced, shot (and sometimes edited) character-driven stories for more than 20 years. Her seven feature-length documentaries are noteworthy for featuring a rare intimacy with her subjects as she unearths previously hidden worlds. She works mostly solo and has the ability to get people to reveal their innermost thoughts, whether it’s the family of a child who can’t feel pain (A Life Without Pain/SXSW), a former Vice President of the United States (Fritz: The Walter Mondale Story/PBS), or a physically healthy person who wants to become an amputee (Whole/Sundance Channel).

Melody directed, produced, and shot The Summer Help (2016), co-directed the first 3D documentary made in Bulgaria, Steps In The Fire, and she also served as a producer on three Minnesota-made films, American Heart (2013), The Starfish Throwers (2014), and Women Outward Bound (2015). She is currently finishing her latest documentary, Silicone Soul, which explores the emotional connection some people have to their synthetic companions and what that means for the future of human relationships. Silicone Soul was invited by the Thessaloniki International Documentary Festival for its world premiere, was recently selected to screen at the prestigious DOC NYC, and won the Best Editing award at the Covellite International Film Festival.

In 2011 Melody moved to Eastern Europe where she taught filmmaking and journalism at American University in Bulgaria. She is the founder of Docuclub Minnesota, a recipient of the very first McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship for Filmmakers, and a huge fan of Dunn Brother’s Coffee. She first taught Documentary Boot Camp for FilmNorth in 2006.

Class Registration Guidelines & Cancellation Policy

  • Space is assigned on a first-come basis. Registrations must include payment in full to be valid. Registrations are accepted beyond registration deadlines as long as space is available.
  • If minimum enrollment has not been reached by 5 days prior to the start date of a class, FilmNorth may cancel it, in which case registrants will immediately be notified and receive a full refund by PayPal (online registrations, minus PayPal fee) or credit/debit card (phone or in person credit/debit card registrations) within 5 business days. A check will be issued for registrations that were paid in cash. In lieu of a refund, students have the option of applying their tuition to another class if scheduled in the same calendar year.
  • For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the class registration deadline, 100% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee (plus PayPal fee if applicable). For registration cancellations received after the registration deadline but prior to the first class session, 50% of the tuition will be refunded minus a $25 administrative fee (plus PayPal fee if applicable). As of a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given.
  • Tuition is not prorated for missed class sessions.
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April 1, 2017 @ 10:00 am
April 2, 2017 @ 6:00 pm
Event Categories:


Melody Gilbert
Registration Deadline
March 31, 2017
Maximum Enrollment
Civi Event ID
Class count or Info
2 sessions: Saturday–Sunday, April 1–2, 10 am–6 pm