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?

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.
Crafting Your Documentary Story

Meet Your Instructor

  • Daniel Raim

    Documentary Writer-Director

    Daniel Raim

    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). Daniel is currently (2018) creating a series of documentary films for The Criterion Collection and FilmStruck. Hire Daniel.

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.

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.
About This Course

Next Live Coaching Call

Please join instructor Daniel Raim for a live coaching call on
Saturday, Sept 29th at 11:00am PST (2pm EST).

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Loving The Experience

by Sally T. Muiruri

"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."
Loving The Experience

Fascinating Class

by Nitsan Tal

"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."
Fascinating Class

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

Learn how to create compelling films that MOVE your audience.

Helping me explore

by Daniel Reyes

"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."
Helping me explore

Bringing clarity and structure

by Matthew Young, Documentary Filmmaker

"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."
Bringing clarity and structure

What's Inside The Course

  • Workflow

    A step-by-step scriptwriting workflow to help you find clarity and direction with your documentary

  • Group Coaching Calls

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

  • Forum

    Direct access to the instructor for questions and feedback via a private discussion forum inside the course.

  • Script Samples

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

  • Production Resources

    Access to Daniel's personal resources including transcription services, storyboarding and writing services.

  • Assignments

    Worksheets & assignments to solidify your understanding of the core scriptwriting and storytelling concepts

  • Discounts

    Half off the popular Final Draft Scriptwriting Software, plus discounts for private consulting and scriptwriting services.

  • Transcription

    Transcription log sheet samples and footage transcription tutorial.

  • Script Template

    A pre-formatted scriptwriting template in FINAL DRAFT .fdx, and a WORD .docx to craft your script

Highly recommend

by Cristina Candy/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."
Highly recommend

Well worth time + $

by Dee McCrorey

"Great #doc #scriptwriting masterclass led by @DanielRaim @DesktopDocs Well worth the investment of time + $."
Well worth time + $

Bonus Material

As part of this course, you'll get a bonus Documentary Case Study of Daniel Raim's award-winning documentary "Harold and Lillian".

  • Case Study

    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

  • VIP Pass

    Private access to watch Daniel's award-winning full-length feature documentary film HAROLD AND LILLIAN. (Zeitgeist Films)

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 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.


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.