This unit introduces students to the knowledge and skills involved in writing and producing documentaries for different markets. Students view a wide range of Australian and international documentaries, which use a variety of story-telling techniques. Current theories about documentary-making are explored. There is a focus on working as part of a diversely-skilled production team. Topics covered include: documentary analysis; research and pre-production techniques; scripting techniques, including narration and dramatisation; stages of production; direction techniques; digital editing; the marketplace. There is also an emphasis on biopics and rock documentaries. The unit and its assessment is structured in a way that enables students to choose whether they would prefer to specialise in scripting or producing/directing. Students shoot their films on  digital cameras and edit using Mac-based digital technology. This unit provides students with the opportunity to work on a project that conforms to and mirrors industry practice and standards - students produce a 25-minute documentary that meets broadcast standards. Guest lecturers also provide students with the ability to network with an industry professional.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Appraise and evaluate aspects of documentary scripting, direction and production;  
  2. Critique and review current theoretical issues in documentary making and criticism;  
  3. Apply pre-production, production and post-production processes to produce a documentary;  
  4. Develop a script for a documentary; and  
  5. Collaboratively develop a short documentary film as part of a diversely-skilled production team.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Project A pitch document with some appropriate supporting visuals and two pages of a first draft script for a document. 20%
Project Write and post a critical paragraph on each pitch document and script and production exercise 20%
Project Final completed documentary film 60%

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