Interviewing for Story (Online)

Interviews form the basis of most documentary projects, and what creators are able to unearth during interviews often has a profound effect on what they’re able to produce in the end—the more fruitful the dialogue, the richer the finished product. In this course, students will learn interviewing skills, including how to research and prepare, formulate questions, and ask effective follow-ups, as well as how to transcribe and edit, figure out what the story is, and otherwise make use of the content they glean. In addition to analyzing and discussing interviews and pieces that make use of them, students will practice interviewing on their own and explore different ways of bringing the material they gather to life. By the end, students will develop—and receive feedback on—a written profile or an audio, video, or captioned-photo project that incorporates the interviews they’ve conducted. They will walk away with the skills to interview effectively and the confidence and ability to tell deeper, more compelling stories. (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.

Christina Cooke is associate editor at the daily food-policy website Civil Eats and a Durham-based freelance journalist who writes about people, place, and culture for venues including the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the New York Times, and the Oxford American. Previously, she worked as a staff writer for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Cooke finds herself drawn to tell stories at the fringes of society, about people who are offbeat and unconventional, passionate and obsessed. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Portland State University and is a graduate of the nonfiction writing program at the Salt Institute of Documentary Studies. christinacooke.com

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Center for Documentary Studies
Virtual Classroom
Cooke 9/26 - 11/7 Th 07:00 PM - 09:00 PM $300.00 View

Documentary and the Three-Act Structure Workshop (Onsite and Online)

Documentarians are storytellers. Engaging audiences means developing strong narratives, clear subjects, and taking the viewer on a journey. This requires understanding the desires of a modern documentary audience and the structural tools that can help meet those needs. In this class, learn how three-act, Hollywood-style narrative structure may be applied to documentaries for maximum impact, and dissect film clips for the structure’s elements. Discover its application to your work, uncovering how to produce more resonant, more entertaining, and ultimately more memorable documentaries. Learn how structure helps you deliver more commercially viable documentaries, as well as how it can inform production concerns like budgets, timelines, and physical resources. Added value may be gained in pairing this course with Writing the Documentary Script. (6 hours / All levels)

Josh Dasal is an Emmy-winning film and television director-producer-writer, video marketer, and co-producer of the podcast, ArtCurious. He has created/consulted for outlets like Discovery Channel, PBS, Sony Screen Gems, and director Wes Craven, as well as producing content for businesses like IBM, ADP, and the North Carolina Museum of Art. He began teaching at the Center for Documentary Studies in 2010, and served as an instructor at UNC-Chapel Hill and Missouri State University. Josh holds a master’s degree from the University of Southern California School of Cinema-TV in screenwriting, and his work has screened at venues including the Mann Theatres on Hollywood Boulevard and the Director’s Guild. He is the founder of Kaboonki, a video and podcast production firm.

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Center for Documentary Studies
Room 201
Dasal 9/7 - 9/7 Sa 10:00 AM - 04:00 PM $160.00 View

Master Class: Nonfiction Writing

This workshop brings students together with professional writers and editors for an intense week of collaborative discussion, revision, and writing. Students in the workshop will read and discuss the ongoing projects of fellow students, work individually with the instructors to refine and shape their own projects, and participate in readings and round-table discussions with top figures in the publishing world. Throughout the week, students will have the space and time for sustained, concentrated writing, as well as access to the world-class Duke University Libraries system. This is a workshop on craft, structure, and the art of writing great nonfiction, and a rare opportunity to be guided closely by top editors and writers. (38 hours)

Haven Kimmel is the author of eight books: Two memoirs, the #1 New York Times bestseller A Girl Named Zippy and She Got Up Off the Couch, and Other Heroic Tales from Mooreland, Indiana; four novels; and two books for children. She graduated from Ball State University with a degree in creative writing and studied with the novelist Lee Smith at North Carolina State University. She is currently working on a horror novel and a non-fiction collection of essays about Quakerism. She lives in Durham.

Janine Latus is a freelance journalist and the author of If I Am Missing or Dead: A Sister’s Story of Love, Murder and Liberation, which made bestseller lists in New York, London, and Toronto. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a former board member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Her work has appeared in Discover, O, The Oprah Magazine, Parents, Fitness, More, and dozens of other magazines and websites. She is at work on her second book, about her recent year living as a nomad.

Barry Yeoman is a Durham-based freelance magazine journalist whose recent work has appeared in The American Prospect, Saturday Evening Post, onEarth, Audubon, and Parade. He is the author of “The Gutbucket King,” a longform multimedia profile of New Orleans bluesman Little Freddie King, published by The New New South. He specializes in putting human faces on complex social, political, and environmental issues. His website is barryyeoman.com.

Additional information:
The enrollment fee includes dinner the first night and all lunches during the week. Students are responsible for housing and transportation.

Two sections will be offered. Hours for the intensive are:

Section A
Taught by Haven Kimmel and Barry Yeoman
Sunday, June 9: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, June 10–13: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday, June 14: 9 a.m.–8 p.m.

Section B
Taught by Janine Latus and Barry Yeoman
Sunday, August 4: 5 p.m.–9 p.m.
Monday–Thursday, August 5–8: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Friday, August 9: 9 a.m.–8 p.m.

Friday's sessions conclude with a public presentation of student work.

See the course blog for a schedule, information on housing options, and more.

Additional Information

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Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Yeoman 8/4 - 8/9 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su 09:00 AM - 05:00 PM $675.00 View
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Center for Documentary Studies
CDS Auditorium
Yeoman 8/11 - 8/16 Mo Tu We Th Fr Su Varied $675.00 View