Go step by step through the making of an award-winning feature-length documentary script.
Full-Length Documentary Script
Access and download the complete script for the award-winning documentary HAROLD AND LILLIAN
Private access to watch Daniel's award-winning full-length feature documentary film HAROLD AND LILLIAN. (Zeitgeist Films)
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?
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.
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) and HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2015, Official Selection Cannes Film Festival + Turner Classic Movies TCM + Netflix 2018 release). Daniel is currently (2019) creating a series of documentary films for The Criterion Collection and FilmStruck in addition to directing the upcoming feature documentary IMAGE MAKERS: THE ADVENTURES OF AMERICA'S PIONEER CINEMATOGRAPHERS for Turner Classic Movies (TCM). How to work with Daniel
You'll get 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.
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
How to properly format your 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
All the steps laid out to complete your film!
Does the course start or end on certain dates?
When signing up for the course, you can begin immediately or whenever is the right time for you. You get LIFETIME ACCESS and you are free to take the course at your own pace. There are no beginning or ending dates. With that said, the course is divided into 8 major sections and we recommend taking one section per week to fully digest the course materials and incorporate the lessons into your project.
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 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.
Immediately following your purchase you'll have instant access to the course and you can get started on your first lesson right away.
- Quick Start
- Welcome from Instructor Daniel Raim (VIDEO)
- About the Instructor
- About This Course
- Coaching Calls
- How To Use This Course (Tech Instructions)
- Please Introduce Yourself!
- Taking Your Audience on a Journey of Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions (VIDEO)
- Core Questions To Ask Before Writing Your Script
- Fiction Versus Documentary Storytelling
- Dramatic Movie-Making Techniques
- Choose a Genre For Your Documentary
- Genre Conventions and Obligatory Scenes
- EXERCISE: Documentary Genre Worksheet
- ASSIGNMENT: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part I - VIDEO)
- How to Research for Your Documentary (VIDEO)
- Getting Started: Research and the Writing Process
- How to Select Your Documentary Model (VIDEO)
- Explore: How to Select Your Documentary Model
- How to Cast Your Documentary (VIDEO)
- Explore: How to Cast Your Documentary
- Finding Your Themes (VIDEO)
- Explore: Finding Your Themes
- ASSIGNMENT: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part II)
- Writing the Shooting Script (VIDEO)
- What Is A Documentary Shooting Script?
- Sample Documentary Shooting Script (PDF)
- Sample Documentary Screenplay (PDF)
- Case Study: Writing the Shooting Script
- Assignment: Write a Shooting Script
- 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 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
- Assignment: Devise Your Documentary's Narrative Spine
- 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)
- Watch: "Something's Gonna Live" Documentary - The Short Version (VIDEO)
- Watch: "Something's Gonna Live" Documentary - Feature Version (VIDEO)
- Assignment: Create a Short Film or Fundraising Demo
- Quick Reference Guide: My Step-By-Step Post-Production Workflow & Terminology (PDF)
- Documentary Script Samples & Formats
- Intro: Documentary Screenplay Template (+ Final Draft Discount Link)
- 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)
- Introduction: From First Draft To Assembly Cut (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)
- How to Transcribe Your Footage
- 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)
- Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Make Your Selects and Topic Headings
- Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Make Your Selects Script
- Workflow: Assigning Colors & Macro Editing in Final Draft Scene View Mode (VIDEO)
- Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Color Code Topic Headings in Scene View Mode
- Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Create Topic Heading Strips and 3x5 Index Cards to Structure Your Paper Edit and Assembly Cut
- Step-By-Step Workflow: How to Structure Your First Draft Paper Edit and Assembly Cut
- Introduction: From Rough Cut to Picture Lock (VIDEO)
- Introduction: From Rough Cut to Festival Deadline
- Step-By-Step Workflow: From Assembly Cut to Rough Cut
- Storytelling Tip from the Creators of South Park
- Step-By-Step Workflow: From Rough Cut to Fine Cut
- CASE STUDY - Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story
- WATCH: "Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story" (VIDEO)
- Full Script: HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (PDF)
- WATCH: "Something's Gonna Live" (VIDEO)
- From First Draft to Work-In-Progress Screening
- Storytelling Challenges
- Your Documentary
- Quick Survey
- Further Reading
- Overcoming Writer's Block and Resistance
- The 100 “Greatest” Documentaries
- The Best Websites For Documentary Filmmakers
- Scriptwriting Services