Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass

A Step-By-Step Workflow To Structure Your Documentary

Learn from an Oscar-Nominated Writer-Director | How To Structure Your Story Into A Cohesive and Extraordinary Film | Developed by Daniel Raim
Daniel Raim
Daniel Raim
Documentary Writer-Director

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 is currently in theaters and will have its television premiere on Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in late 2017.


Crafting Your Documentary Story

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 and storytelling 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

The goal of this course is to help you find clarity and give you a step by step workflow to help you organize all your footage, interviews and ideas into a structured, cohesive and compelling film.

At the core of this course is a unique step by step workflow shared publicly for the first time. The method involves using the latest digital software combined with paper & scissors to go from a rough draft to rough assembly (or rough cut) to finished film.

This course provides an easy-to-follow 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.

To help clarify the concepts taught in the course, you'll have exclusive access to 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.


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 cohesive 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:

  • A step-by-step scriptwriting workflow to help you find clarity and direction with your documentary.
  • Private access to a live 1-hour monthly conference call with the class.
  • Direct access to the instructor for questions and feedback via a private discussion forum inside the course
  • Case study and script analysis of an 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 (releasing Summer 2017)
  • Samples of award-winning documentary 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)


Preview Video




What Students Are Saying:

"Great material!! I am modifying my own documentary to incorporate many of the new ideas I picked up. I really like the format because it forces me to look at my material in new and fresh ways to tighten up the story. I highly recommend it to anyone with a love of storytelling in the visual medium. I wish I had taken this before I began my own documentary two years ago but am glad to have benefited from this course material."       

Cristina Candy/Documentary Filmmaker

"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





Frequently Asked Questions

Q. 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.

Q. 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.


Q. 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 via a chat forum inside the course. In addition, there are monthly office hours (one-hour live conference calls with the class) for students to ask questions and get feedback directly from the instructor.



100% Money Back Guarantee

We hope you will find the Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass extremely useful. As our promise to you, we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. There is absolutely no risk.


Contact Us With Your Questions



Finally Finish Your Film

You've worked SO hard to get this far. It's time now to pull it all together and finally create the film you've been dreaming about.

Go ahead and click the buy button at the bottom of this page. If you haven't previously enrolled in a course with us, you'll be asked to create a new account with your email and a password. Otherwise you'll be taken directly to check-out.

Immediately following your purchase you'll have instant access to the course and you can get started on your first lesson right away. Don't wait another moment. Let's help you finish your film once and for all!

Course Contents

24 Videos
2 Surveys
59 Texts
8 PDFs
10 Disqus
3 Downloads