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Film Academy Course

Delivery: Online (across Africa) / On-Site (Lagos, Nigeria only)

An introduction to the art and craft of documentary filmmaking and how to approach making your first documentary film.



This course introduces the learner to the documentary production cycle and walks you through the process of selecting an idea, developing your idea into a proposal and how to go about making your film and getting it seen. We will study the fundamental types of documentary you can choose to make and consider the ethics and responsibilities of the documentary filmmaker.

This course is practical and we will learn by doing. You will come up with an original idea and be challenged to make it better. You will learn about the business aspect of documentary and be guided in the art of pitching your idea to potential investors. You will understand the essentials of documentary film production, roll up your sleeves and do some shooting on the best camera there is – the camera that is closest at hand! You will be guided through the foundation principles of film editing and as a culmination of the course present your polished idea and support material to your peers. We will have fun, learn from each other and learn by doing.



The objective of this course is to challenge you to think outside the box and bring all your creativity and passion to an idea that is personal to you and that can translate well to a world-class documentary. You will leave the course with a seed of an idea. You will also have support material for this idea that you filmed and edited yourself on your phone. The main objective is for you to be empowered to continue after the course and make your film.


Lesson 1: What's your story?
  • Welcome
  • First Things First
  • Women Filmmakers
  • Course Goal Setting
Lesson 2: Growing an idea
  • Development
  • Picking Your Subject
  • Ethics
  • Case Studies
Lesson 3: Writing for Documentary
  • Screenwriting Terms
  • Classic 3 Act Script Structure
  • Your Proposal
Lesson 4: Be prepared!
  • Pre-production
  • Crew
  • On-set Culture
  • Equipment
  • Principles
Lesson 5: Get busy
  • Production
  • Shooting for the Edit
  • Filming Interviews
  • Coverage and B-Roll
Lesson 6: It’s not over till it’s posted
  • Post Production
  • Editing Your Documentary
  • Music Notes
  • Working with Editors
Lesson 7: I have a film, now what?
  • Distribution
  • Find Your Audience
  • Your Career
Lesson 8: Class Presentations
  • Assessment Day



James Tayler has over two decades of industry experience in many facets of film production and has produced, directed and edited a wide range of content ranging from the internationally premiered feature films Boda Boda Thieves, Yogera and Divizionz to documentary, series and shorts such as War in the Valley of Plenty on AJ+. At present he travels widely to mentor youth in media production as lead on Know Your City TV and produces the social impact fiction feature The Legend of the Vagabond Queen for Slum Dwellers International, the Nigerian Slum/Informal Settlement Federation and Justice Empowerment Initiatives Nigeria with support from Sundance Institute and World Cinema Fund.



Kate Boswell is a creative director and stylist who has worked in print media, design, advertising and film for over twenty years. As a media maker she is interested in collaborative, interdisciplinary work that explores gender politics and contemporary issues of social and environmental justice.



Start/ End Date – To be confirmed

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