The Nonfiction Story: Beginning to End (Online)


This class explores the rudiments of documentary storytelling, with the goal of taking you from the stage of having an idea to crafting something presentable and publishable. Since all narrative possesses the same formal characteristics regardless of genre, we will study examples of film and audio documentary as well as writing, covering such topics as how to utilize interview testimony; introducing character; foreshadowing; planting a hook; exposition; surface text versus subtext; the problem of pacing; endings and resolution; and revision. The instructor closely monitors your progress and drafts, making sure that by the end of the eighth week your piece is done. Syllabus includes readings by Toni Morrison and Colson Whitehead; episodes from the Criminal and Home of the Brave podcasts; and films by Barbara Kopple and Raoul Peck. (12 hours/All Levels)

Please note: This course is offered in an online format and will not meet at CDS but will instead take place in regularly scheduled virtual sessions.

Benjamin Hedin is a Grammy-nominated film producer and the author of In Search of the Movement: The Struggle for Civil Rights Then and Now. He also edited one of the most widely respected anthologies of music writing, Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader. His work has been published by the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Slate, the Nation, the Oxford American, the Chicago Tribune, Poets and Writers, and more.

Additional Information:
The class will be conducted online. A late-model computer, fast internet connection, and built-in camera are recommended, though not required. Students with less than optimal hardware or internet connections are welcome to take the course, though it may be difficult to participate fully in virtual meetings.


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