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.
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 paper & scissors to go from a 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
- 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)
- Live Q&A Calls with the class (usually quarterly).
- 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:
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 one-hour live conference calls with the class at least once a quarter 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!
- Introduction: My First Documentary
- Core Questions To Ask Before Writing Your Script
- Taking Your Audience on a Journey of Thoughts, Feelings, and Emotions (VIDEO)
- Fiction Versus Documentary Storytelling (VIDEO)
- DIVE DEEPER: Fiction Versus Documentary Storytelling
- EXERCISE: Choose A Film Genre For Your Documentary
- Assignment: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part I) (VIDEO)
- Assignment: Analyze A Documentary Film You Love (Part I)
- LESSON 1 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- How to Research for Your Documentary (VIDEO)
- Explore: How to Research for Your Documentary
- How to Select Your Documentary Model (VIDEO)
- Explore: How to Select Your Documentary Model
- The Art of Setting Up Your Characters: From Albert Maysles to Haskell Wexler (VIDEO)
- Explore: How to Set Up Your Characters: From Albert Maysles to Haskell Wexler
- 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)
- LESSON 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
- LESSON 4 - 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)
- 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
- LESSON 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 (+ 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)
- LESSON 6 - GROUP DISCUSSION
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- LESSON 7 - GROUP DISCUSSION