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Unit information: Making Short Documentary in 2015/16

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Unit name Making Short Documentary
Unit code DRAMM0001
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Mr. Milner
Open unit status Not open

Production Technologies and Techniques in Film and Television



School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts


This unit is based on making short non-fiction films for public exhibition. Teaching and learning cover:

  • Scripting, crewing and making short documentary films
  • The nature and purposes of documentary and the short-film audience for documentary
  • Interview techniques, and the ethics of the personal encounter
  • Ethical issues and strategies in representing a documentary subject
  • The function of setting
  • Documentary structures and thinking in sequences
  • The documentary film development process  with a review of scripts and shooting plans

Students will work in small teams to make short documentaries on a defined theme and within clearly set objectives, leading to an analytical screening and review prior to public exhibition and distribution.

The key element of the unit is the opportunity for students to make a short documentary. This affords the opportunity for engaging in the characteristic processes of creative work in this field, and to engage in individual and collective creative expression under appropriate guidance and within a supportive critical framework.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will have solid experiential awareness of key issues in the making of short documentaries, and practical skills enabling them to work at a professional level.
These will be supported by understandings of the wider context for short film, and generic issues in the making of documentaries.
Transferable skills cover research, planning, group work to deadline, and articulation and presentation of ideas in written, verbal, and audio-visual forms.

Teaching details

Lectures, seminars, workshops, student documentary productions, analytical review.

Assessment Details

Evaluation of the completed film undertaken by each student (50%), and the individual contribution to it (50%). The latter is supported by a personal dossier and rationale.

Reading and References

Aufderheide, Patricia (2008) Documentary Film: A very short introduction (OUP USA)
Bruzzi, S. (2000). New Documentary: A Critical Introduction. London: Routledge. Documentary, London: Faber and Faber.
Cousins, M. and Macdonald, K. (1998) Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary, London: Faber and Faber.
Rabiger, Michael (2004) Directing the Documentary, Amsterdam: Elsevier.
Renov, M. (ed.) (1993) Theorising Documentary, London: Routledge.
Winston, B. (1995) Claiming the Real: The Documentary Film Revisited, London: BFI.