- This event has passed.
Creating a Short Documentary [In-Person]
Starts June 2
(For participants 55+)
8 sessions: Thursdays, June 2-July 21, 6:30-8:30pm
Each class participant will choose a topic of interest to create a short documentary film. Your project may include a compilation of video, photographs, and other audio/visual elements. This in-person class will meet you at your level and advise you on what is possible. You’ll have the option to record interviews and narration at FilmNorth, or we’ll guide you on your technology, such as best practices for shooting video with your cell phone. Instructor Pam Colby, a filmmaker and grand slam champion storyteller whose work has been featured on National Public Radio, will cover the principles of good storytelling.
Participants will also learn the filmmaking techniques to spin an interesting idea into a compelling visual narrative by controlling the look, sound, and pace of your movie. We’ll cover the basics of video cameras, best practices for audio and lighting setups, interviewing techniques, the importance of b-roll, and basic editing.
All levels of experience are welcome, including beginners. The class will work with you and your technology at hand. The minimum you’ll need is a cell phone capable of shooting video. For editing, you’ll learn basics of Adobe Premiere Pro (for Mac) and have access to the FilmNorth edit lab. Or, if you prefer we’ll help you choose the best software for your laptop or desktop computer.
FilmNorth provides a warm, unique ambiance that inspires creativity. Students will have an opportunity to share stories and feedback with one another while integrating basic principles of filmmaking. The final class session we’ll view completed projects, give final feedback, and celebrate one another!
A culminating screening event will be scheduled for the week following the final class session, where you’ll have the opportunity to show, discuss, and celebrate your work with family and friends.
- Participants will connect with classmates in sharing and shaping stories
- Participants will be introduced to documentary styles and genres
- Participants will be introduced to video cameras and audio elements
- Participants will learn principles of editing including hands-on experience (if desired)
- Participants will create a short documentary to share with family and friends
NOTE: this in-person course is held at FilmNorth, 550 Vandalia Street, Suite 120, Saint Paul, MN 55114. FilmNorth is following CDC’s current COVID-19 guidance for Ramsey County:
- Masks are recommended for those who are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or at high-risk for complications associated with COVID-19.
- People may choose to mask at any time.
- People with any COVID-19 symptoms, a positive test, or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should stay home.
- Free masks are available for students who need them (one per student per class).
Price: $40 | $25 low-income. A limited number of scholarships available – please contact FilmNorth’s Education Director.
Pam Colby (teaching artist) has worked in television and film for over thirty years. Pam’s most recent narrative short, Perennial, about one woman’s struggle to recover from her wife’s death of Covid 19, is currently in post-production. Pam’s credits include both narrative and documentary film. Pam directed Not in My Lifetime (2018), a feature-length documentary that explores the impact of marriage equality legislation on artists, activists, and politicians. The film won the Audience Award for Best Minnesota Made Documentary Feature at the 2018 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. Pam’s love of storytelling led her to the Moth Storytelling competition where her GrandSLAM-winning story was featured on National Public Radio. Pam works as a freelance producer and director and has taught both narrative and documentary classes at FilmNorth since 2013.
Mackenzie Lofgren (teaching assistant) received her Bachelor of Arts in Screenwriting from DePaul University in 2018. Mackenzie has worked at Safehouse Pictures and Parkes/MacDonald Image Nation in Los Angeles, writing coverage and evaluating script submissions, and she has also worked as a script reader and story analyst for the Atlanta Film Festival, Script2Screen, The Writer’s Lab, and the PAGE Awards. Mackenzie also has a background in sports broadcasting, working as a Production Assistant and Associate Producer for NBC Sports Chicago from 2018-2020. Mackenzie joined FilmNorth in September, as the Youth Programs Instructor for their free after school program, JuiceMedia. When not reading scripts, seeing movies, or talking about movies, Mackenzie enjoys exploring new neighborhoods of the city and playing with her dog, Imelda.
View 2019 Creating a Short Video Memoir class participant Jeff Holman’s project “Searching for My Mother” here. View other Stories 55 participant films here.
Class Registration Cancellation Policy
- For those wishing to cancel a registration prior to the first class session, your class fee will be refunded minus a $5 administrative fee. As of a class start date, no refunds or credits/exchanges will be given.
Stories 55 is made possible through funding by E.A. Michelson Philanthropy.