Documentary Scriptwriting Masterclass

Do You Want To Create Compelling Films and Documentaries?

Learn Storytelling and Scriptwriting from an Oscar-Nominated Writer-Director | A Step-By-Step Workflow To Structure Complex Real Life Stories Into Compelling Films
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 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 + Netflix premiere) and HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2015, Official Selection Cannes Film Festival + Turner Classic Movies TCM broadcast premiere). 

Daniel is currently (2018) creating a series of documentaries for The Criterion Collection and the Criterion Channel on FilmStruck, including films on John Cassavetes’ composer Bo Harwood, Aki Kaurismaki, Yasujiro Ozu, Vilmos Zsigmond, Stan Lee, and Academy Award®-Wnning documentarian Marcel Ophuls.


Next LIVE coaching call with instructor Daniel Raim is scheduled for Saturday, July 21 at 10:30am PST (1:30pm EST). Make sure to enroll asap to review course materials, access call details and submit questions.

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 film?

Are you overwhelmed with all the elements of your story and having trouble keeping your audience engaged on a deep level?

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 your printed script to go from rough draft to 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

  • Documentary storytelling techniques to keep your audience glued to the screen!

  • How to break down your film into a series of 8-12 sequences to create a compelling story arc

  • Methods 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

  • LIVE monthly Group Coaching Calls with the class to answer your questions live.

  • 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 to watch Daniel's film HAROLD AND LILLIAN

  • Samples of award-winning documentary scripts (Including Daniel's scripts)

  • Access to Daniel's personal resources including 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

  • All students get a twenty-five percent discount on Daniel's Private Mentorship and Scriptwriting Services.

  • A special discount code for nearly half off the Final Draft Scriptwriting Software (Final Draft is not required for this course, so this is an extra bonus item for those who choose it)

What Students Are Saying:

"I have to say - I am thrilled with the course so far. It is bringing some much needed clarity and structure to the post production process."

Matthew Young, Documentary Filmmaker

"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 have learned so much so far, and loving the experience. I am learning a lot of fundamentals of documentary filmmaking, which are helping me sharpen my skills and refine my script."

Sally T. Muiruri, Documentary Filmmaker

"Thank you for the fascinating class you created. I took continuing education classes on the subject of documentary film making at NYU and SVA and none of them came close to the quality of material you covered in just the first 3 chapters I took so far."

Nitsan Tal, Documentary Filmmaker

"I'm excited where this film will take me as a filmmaker, and what will unfold as a story. This course is really helping me explore important elements in my film and stepping back and being practical in my approach, so that it's not merely this abstract artistic attempt." 

Daniel Reyes/Documentary Filmmaker

"It's a great course and still can't believe the access Daniel is giving to filmmakers like myself, despite him being very busy and an awesome filmmaker, he is very gracious with his time which is amazing for an award winning doc filmmaker." 
Dean Haycox/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

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 one-hour live conference calls with the class for students to ask questions and get feedback directly from the instructor.

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 ENROLL button below. 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. 

You get a 30-Day 100% Money Back Guarantee, so there's absolutely no risk.

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

22 Videos
2 Surveys
57 Texts
8 PDFs
10 Disqus

Course Curriculum