Documentary Filmmaking: Pre-Production To Distribution

November 9-10, 2019

Documentary Filmmaking: Pre-Production To Distribution

Documentary filmmaking can be challenging whether you’re just getting started or have some experience in the field. This 2-day graduate level certificate workshop will guide you through all the stages of producing a successful documentary, with tips and strategies on the essentials of independent documentary filmmaking for both short and feature-length films. The course will include an overview of documentary film financing, story development, production essentials from shooting to the final edit, creative marketing, and strategies for distribution.

ATTENTION: This workshop’s physical location is in Los Angeles, CA. See “Where?” for the exact address.

Course Overview

After successful completion of this course, you will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • Assess the suitability of story ideas for documentary storytelling
  • Identify diverse resources for documentary film funding
  • Understand the fundamentals of budgeting, treatment writing, and scheduling
  • Employ strategies for working with documentary film subjects
  • Plan for the stages of postproduction, including editing, working with music, color grading, and sound mix
  • Be knowledgable about and consider a wide range of distribution methods

Terrific! Sheleece is a remarkably engaging instructor who was able to maintain our attention through lots of material. The class worked because it was so well organized and she was so skilled and inspiring.

Gail S.

I greatly appreciate Shaleece's breadth and depth of the materials we covered in the past two days. More importantly, her openness to all of our questions regarding her impressive Real Boy film was very welcomed. She has the unusual ability to make complex issues simplified.

Martha W.

Very thorough. I felt that I'm able to take this back to current & future projects. The resources alone were a gift!

Victoria F.
Assistant Editor

Who Should Attend?

Documentary Filmmaking is ideal for those new to documentary filmmaking, videographers, film producers, content creators, journalists, editors, new media managers, media professionals, content marketers, communications and PR, publishers, and educators.

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Instructors & Facilitators

Instructors subject to change.

Shaleece Haas

Shaleece Haas is a documentary filmmaker, who recently produced and directed the 2016 documentary Real Boy, which earned 20 festival awards, was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award, and was broadcast nationally on PBS’ Independent Lens. She co-produced The Genius of Marian (2013; Tribeca Film Festival, POV), directed the documentary short Old People Driving (2010), and co-directed the short films Awardwinninggir (2012; SF DocFest) and City Fish (2011; Hot Docs, Documentary Channel). She is currently producing a short film about the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors who have chosen to tattoo their grandparents’ concentration camp numbers on their own bodies. She has also taught documentary and visual storytelling at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, UCLA Extension, and the Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. She previously worked as an editorial photographer and radio producer and was a founding staff member of the national oral history project, StoryCorps.

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$695 USD

We encourage team work! Bring a colleague or friend and receive additional tuition discounts. Contact Alexandre Bui at for more information.

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November 9-10, 2019

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Instruction begins promptly at 9:00 a.m.

Morning coffee and catered networking lunch provided.

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LA Film Studies Center

5455 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA Room 1615

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Requirements & Prerequisites

  • The workshop is a beginning graduate-level workshop. Please contact us if you have questions about the pace or content.
  • Participants must be comfortable with technical subjects and learning in a fast-paced environment.
  • Proficiency in English.

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Contact Person

Alexandre Bui

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Questions & Additional Information

Where should I stay?

Nearby hotels include:

Many of our participants have also found luck with Airbnb.

Where should I park?

There are meters around the building that are 1-2 hours at a time. There is also unmetered parking in the surrounding neighborhoods but attendees should read/watch signage closely as times for parking change on different days and many areas limit hours for parking. Attendees may be able to find unlimited street parking on 6th Street (north of Wilshire Blvd and west of Cochran Ave on the north side of the street).

On Cochran Ave, just south of Wilshire Blvd, there are two lots. One is directly behind Bank of America and is $13 for a full day. There is also a small city lot with limited spaces just south of the Bank of America lot (these are both on Cochran on the first block south of Wilshire). Parking there is $4 for 10 hours between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. This lot would be the easiest and cheapest option but spots can fill quickly since the lot is small.

What is your cancellation & refund policy?

• Cancellations must be received in writing by email to

• Cancellations made up to 15 days prior to the start of the program registered for will receive a refund of all monies less the $175.00 cancellation fee. We are unable to refund any fees for registrations cancelled within two weeks of the start of training.

• Failure to appear for the training will result in forfeiture of the full course fee.

• Changes to the registration at anytime are only by approval of Berkeley Advanced Media Institute administration.

• The Berkeley Advanced Media Institute reserves the right to cancel or reschedule training due to low enrollment or other unforeseen circumstances beyond the control of Berkeley Advanced Media Institute. In this case, applicants are entitled to a full refund of the program fee.

• The Berkeley Advanced Media Institute will advise applicants at the earliest opportunity of changes to schedule program. The Berkeley Advanced Media Institute is not responsible for travel fees, or any expenses incurred as a result of cancelled programs.

• If you purchased your class through CourseHorse, then our Refund & Cancellation policy applies to your purchase.

Can I transfer to a different workshop if I change my mind?

We currently do not offer transfer option between workshops. However, you may cancel the current workshop to receive a full refund less the cancellation fee and enroll in the preferred course. Please contact us directly at prior to making any changes. Change requests do not apply to request made 15-days prior to the workshop start date.

In-depth information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page. No video or audio recordings of the materials presented are permitted in any workshop.

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