Create a Short Documentary Video Portrait

Elaine McMillion Sheldon, Documentary Storyteller

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11 Lessons (54m)
    • 1. Introduction

      2:36
    • 2. Preview the Film: Coyote & Crow

      6:29
    • 3. Approach

      3:17
    • 4. Equipment

      3:02
    • 5. Subject Prep

      2:45
    • 6. Shooting

      12:08
    • 7. Editing

      7:06
    • 8. Watch the Film: Coyote & Crow (with Director Narration)

      6:08
    • 9. Watch the Film: Coyote & Crow

      6:29
    • 10. Pro Tips: Pitching Your Work

      2:18
    • 11. Closing

      1:22
41 students are watching this class

About This Class

How can you structure, shoot, and share your best story? Join filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon for a tactical, inspiring class on balancing artistry and authenticity in documentary video portraits and short films.

Covering every stage of her creative process, you'll go behind-the-scenes as she films a video portrait of Brooklyn-based musicians Coyote & Crow. Bite-sized lessons cover:

  • storytelling: discovering and researching your subject
  • single-camera shooting: tips for capturing visuals and audio when it's just you
  • polish: editing tricks for rhythm, pace, and style
  • pitching: advice on reaching out to commissioning outlets and brands

You'll learn how to create the kind of character-driven video portraits that distinguish great filmmakers — the films that turn into Vimeo Staff Picks, New York Times Op-Docs, film festival shorts, and more.

This 55-minute class is perfect for filmmakers, documentarians, journalists, and all creative storytellers eager to craft compelling narratives about the stories all around us.

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We recommend that students have a basic technical knowledge of their camera and equipment, but all levels are welcome!