Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Thinking about documentary topics

Following is the email that I sent out a week after the end of the spring semester. The intent was just to encourage you to think about documentary topics this summer, before the crunch of the fall semester hits.

I just wanted to get this word out in time for some of you who may want to get a jump on the fall TV Doc class. The class will involve; learning about documentary as an art form, studying the most important TV documentaries and documentarians in past and recent history, and as a final project, producing one or more documentaries. I would encourage you to be on the lookout for good documentary topics that are local, accessible, and of interest to people in the region. Some of you may already have ideas for documentary topics, and that's great.

However, by the time that the fall semester rolls around it may be too late to shoot video of your proposed topic. For example, say you wanted to produce a documentary about the Kayaking course in Pueblo. The best water and kayaking activity will take place from now until late June, not in the fall. Another example might be a documentary topic related to the State Fair, and that happens just as school is ramping up in late August. I'm going to be around for part of the summer, and just wanted to propose an option that might appeal to you. If you have the time now to shoot video that will be unavailable or difficult to get once classes start, I'll do what I can to make the necessary equipment available. I only ask that you work in teams of 2 (at a minimum) for safety reasons.

Don't let this email cause worry if you have no idea what you'd like to do for the documentary project. There will be plenty of ideas and discussions about viable topics once the fall semester begins. Also, I'm considering making various options available for the documentary project, e.g., radio (audio) documentary, web (flash) documentary, etc., and those formats are likely to be less dependent on seasonal issues.

One last item for your consideration. The only prerequisite for the class in MCCNM 142, Digital Video Production. However, for those students who choose to work on a TV doc for broadcast (possible consideration of airing on KTSC and Comcast local access), production skills necessary involve extensive location videography, audio and lighting expertise. If you are not comfortable with location shooting with the full-size camcorders, location lighting, and location audio, I would encourage you to also enroll in MCCNM 231, Digital Media Production, call #3960, MWF 9-9:50, for the fall. MCCNM 231 will focus on location video production skills and will augment the TV Doc class.

That's all for now.

Have a great summer!
Prof. e.

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