About the Instructor
Academy Award®-Nominated Writer-Director Daniel Raim attended the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, where he studied under one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most esteemed collaborators, Production Designer Robert F. Boyle.
Daniel has created a trilogy of “deeply moving” (Variety) and critically acclaimed documentaries about unsung heroes of Hollywood’s Golden Age, including, THE MAN ON LINCOLN’S NOSE (2000, Oscar®-Nominated); SOMETHING’S GONNA LIVE (2010, Los Angeles Times Critics’ Pick) and HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2015, Official Selection Cannes Film Festival). Daniel is currently creating a series of short films focusing on the art of design for the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck. Harold and Lillian will be theatrically released in April 2017, followed by the television premiere on Turner Classic Movies (TCM).
Crafting Your Documentary Script
Are you staring at a blank white page and/or hours of raw footage with NO CLUE what to do next?
Do you have an amazing story but struggling with how structure all the elements into a compelling script?
Are you overwhelmed with all the elements of your story and having trouble sorting the good from the bad?
Overwhelmed by the choices?? Not sure how to put it all together?
Whether you're just starting out on your documentary journey or in the final stages, making a deeply emotional connection with your audience is THE critical element in the making of your film. It's EVERYTHING.
Making a documentary can be a lonely and solitary endeavor, but you don't have to do this alone!
Learn From An Oscar-Nominated Documentary Filmmaker
How would you like to have an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker take you step by step through the scriptwriting process?
Instructor Daniel Raim, an Academy Award®-nominated Writer-Director, has created a trilogy of widely acclaimed documentaries including THE MAN ON LINCOLN'S NOSE, SOMETHING'S GONNA LIVE and, his most recent work, HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY. In addition, Daniel is a trusted mentor to other filmmakers both in the editing room and classroom setting.
"Coming out of the craze of shooting and having tons of disorganized footage, I was overwhelmed. Bringing it to Dan was like coming out of a storm into a safe harbor. He got us organized and focused and soon we were off and editing. I already knew Dan was very intelligent about film. But until we started working together I had no idea exactly how high is cinematic IQ was. Working with him was like taking a master film class." ~Tim Bartell/Doggie Dream Productions (Hollywood)
Documentaries by Daniel Raim:
About This Course
In this Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass, you will learn the basics of dramatic storytelling, and how to translate those core concepts to the craft of making a documentary film.
This course will give you a roadmap for tackling every aspect of conceiving, scripting, shooting, and assembling your documentary. Perhaps most important, this course will show you how to find the heart of the story that is waiting to be told – a story that will emerge as you develop your film.
As you build and hone your narrative skills, you’ll be introduced to practical techniques for getting a rough draft of your story and a rough assembly (or rough cut) of your film in hand at the same time.
This course includes a case study of the making of HAROLD AND LILLIAN, including a step by step tutorial from Daniel on how he built the script from scratch. You will receive a secure link to stream the first ten minutes of the film and a PDF of the full documentary script. After the film opens theatrically in Spring 2017, you will receive an additional private link to view the entire feature!
Excerpt of HAROLD AND LILLIAN Documentary Script in Final Draft
In this course you will learn:
- How to organize all the scattered pieces of your story into a beautiful and engaging narrative
- Tricks to keep your audience guessing and glued to the screen!
- How to break down your film into a series of 8-12 sequences to create a compelling story arc
- The best way to format your documentary script and the best scriptwriting software
- How to weave together your story beats (soundbites), scenes and sequences to create a compelling narrative
- How to use dramatic conflict to create emotion within the audience
- The core concepts of storytelling and how to use cinematic techniques to create greater impact
What you get:
- An exclusive, personalized scriptwriting curriculum created by an Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker
- Direct, intimate access to the instructor for questions via a private discussion forum inside the course
- Case study and script analysis of a REAL award-winning feature length documentary script
- Worksheets & assignments to solidify your understanding of the core scriptwriting and storytelling concepts
- A full and complete copy of an award-winning documentary script (HAROLD AND LILLIAN)
- Private access LINK to watch Daniel's film HAROLD AND LILLIAN (after it's theatrical release in Spring 2017)
- Samples of various award-winning scripts (Including Daniel's scripts)
- List of insider resources for transcription services, storyboarding and writing services
- A pre-formatted scriptwriting template in FINAL DRAFT .fdx, and a WORD .docx to craft your script
- Transcription log sheet samples and footage transcription tutorial
- BONUS: A special discount code for nearly 50% OFF the Final Draft Scriptwriting Software (you don't need Final Draft for this course, so this is an extra bonus item for those who choose it)
What Students Are Saying:
"I REALLY love the course. Doing each assignment thoroughly thus far has helped me drill down and recall so many things that I'd forgotten about where I wanted to go and do with this film. It's also given me new things to think about that are bringing up new possibilities where I've been stuck. I think now I'll have the tools to finally finish my film."
- Erica Nikolic/Documentary Filmmaker
"I can't thank you enough for this class. It is exactly what I needed right now. I've been working on documentaries for about 8 years now learning as I go and bringing on people who are a lot more skilled than I am to edit and write and share in the process of creation. But I so want to learn that aspect of it and your course has just brought all that abstract self-taught and friend-taught learning into a nicely structured focus that makes sense and will surely help me to grow as a documentary filmmaker. Thank you! Thank you!"
-P. W./Documentary Filmmaker
Great #doc #scriptwriting masterclass led by @DanielRaim @DesktopDocs https://t.co/q92zbssJ41 Well worth the investment of time + $.
— Dee McCrorey (@DeeMcCrorey) April 21, 2017
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the course start or end on certain dates?
When signing up for the course, you will have LIFETIME ACCESS and you are free to take the course at your own pace. There are no beginning or ending dates.
Will I have a completed script by the end of this course?
That depends on you! If that is your goal, then yes. This course takes you step by step through the scriptwriting process from beginning to end. So if you already have your interviews shot and content gathered, then this course can definitely get you to the finish gate.
What is the format of the course?
The format of the course is a mix of video instruction, screencasts, text, downloads, quizzes, and assignments, plus one-on-one class discussions with the instructor. There will also be occasional LIVE webinars where students can ask questions and get feedback directly from the instructor.
Praise for Daniel's Latest Documentary:
Theatrical Premiere in NYC April 28, 2017
Let's Get Started!
Go ahead and click the red button and let's help you make an amazing documentary
(with your own NYC premiere!).
- What is Cinematic Documentary Storytelling? (VIDEO)
- Taking Your Audience on a Journey of Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions (VIDEO) FREE
- Core Questions To Ask Before Writing Your Script
- Fiction Versus Documentary Storytelling (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: Fiction Versus Documentary Storytelling
- How (and Why) To Choose A Film Genre For Your Documentary
- ASSIGNMENT: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part I) (VIDEO)
- READ THE ASSIGNMENT: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part I)
- STEP 1 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- How to Research for Your Documentary (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: How to Research for Your Documentary
- How to Select Your Documentary Model (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: How to Select Your Documentary Model
- The Art of Setting Up Your Characters: From Albert Maysles to Haskell Wexler (VIDEO) FREE
- DIVE DEEPER: How to Set Up Your Characters: From Albert Maysles to Haskell Wexler
- How to Cast Your Documentary (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: How to Cast Your Documentary
- Finding Your Themes (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: Finding Your Themes
- ASSIGNMENT: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part II)
- STEP 2 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- Plot Points Case Study "GRIZZLY MAN" (VIDEO)
- Plot Points Case Study "MAN ON WIRE" (VIDEO)
- Managing Audience Expectations
- How Conflict Elicits Emotion in Your Documentary
- The Common Thread That All Character-Driven Stories Share
- How To Build Your Plot Points
- Structuring Your Documentary (Scenes, Sequences, Acts and Beats)
- ASSIGNMENT: Analyzing Story Structure
- ASSIGNMENT: Analyzing the Documentary Scene and Sequence
- Finding The Inciting Incident
- How To Enhance Dramatic Tension
- Your Film's Climax
- ASSIGNMENT: Devise Your Documentary's Narrative Spine
- STEP 3 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- Testing the Waters: The Internal Greenlight Process
- Why Make a Short Film or Fundraising Trailer First?
- TESTING THE WATERS - WHY MAKE A SHORT FILM FIRST? (VIDEO)
- SOMETHING'S GONNA LIVE - THE SHORT VERSION (VIDEO)
- SOMETHING'S GONNA LIVE - FEATURE VERSION (VIDEO)
- ASSIGNMENT: Create a Short Film or Fundraising Demo
- STEP 5- GROUP DISCUSSION (Share YOUR Trailer)
- Quick Reference Guide: My Step-By-Step Post-Production Workflow & Terminology (PDF)
- Documentary Script Samples & Formats
- INTRO: Documentary Screenplay Template
- QUICK VIEW: Documentary Screenplay Template (PDF)
- INSTRUCTIONS: Template Available in Three Formats (WORD, TEXT, FINAL DRAFT)
- Documentary Screenplay Template - FINAL DRAFT (.fdx)
- QUICK VIEW: Documentary Screenplay Template GUIDE for Final Draft (PDF)
- Documentary Screenplay Template - WORD (.docx)
- QUICK VIEW: Documentary Screenplay Template GUIDE for Microsoft Word (PDF)
- Documentary Screenplay Template - TEXT (.txt)
- Documentary Scriptwriting Template: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Final Draft Version)
- Documentary Screenplay Template: VIDEO TUTORIAL (Microsoft Word Version)
- STEP 6 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- Introduction (VIDEO)
- Introduction: The Dance Between Paper and Timeline
- Zen and the Art of Writing and Editing Your First Draft
- How to Transcribe Your Footage (VIDEO)
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Transcribe Your Footage
- Transcript and Log Sample (PDF)
- Case Study: The “Harold and Lillian” Script: From Transcript to Topic Heading Strips (VIDEO)
- Workflow: From Transcript to Assembly Cut (VIDEO)
- Workflow: How to Create Topic Heading Strips (VIDEO)
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Make Your Selects and Topic Headings
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Make Your Selects Script
- Workflow: Assigning Colors & Macro Editing in Final Draft Scene View Mode (VIDEO)
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Color Code Topic Headings in Scene View Mode
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Create Topic Heading Strips and 3x5 Index Cards to Structure Your Paper Edit and Assembly Cut
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Structure Your First Draft Paper Edit and Assembly Cut
- STEP 7 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- Introduction: From Rough Cut to Festival Deadline (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: Introduction: From Rough Cut to Festival Deadline
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: From Assembly Cut to Rough Cut
- Storytelling Tip from the Creators of South Park
- My Step-By-Step Workflow: From Rough Cut to Fine Cut
- STEP 8 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- CASE STUDY - Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story
- WATCH: "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story" (COMING SOON)
- WATCH: "Something's Gonna Live" (FULL DOCUMENTARY)
- Download Full Documentary Script: "Something's Gonna Live" (PDF)
- From First Draft to Work-In-Progress Screening
- Storytelling Challenges
- GROUP DISCUSSION - CASE STUDY