Texas Tech University

College of Media & Communication

Advanced Filmmaking: Documentary

M,W 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM

Media & Communication Building room 123

Fall 2021


Instructor: Kristi Gatto

Office Location: Media & Communication Building, Tower Office 713

Office Hours: T/R 1 PM – 3 PM



This course is designed as a continuation to Introduction to Media Production and Foundations of Post-Production Workflow by developing the learned skills into a specific film genre. This semester’s course will focus on documentary filmmaking. The course will provide students with a knowledge of different forms of documentaries in addition to analyzing past documentaries. Moreover, students will learn the ins and outs of documentary development, production, post-production, and distribution. This course will culminate with the production of a short-form documentary.












  • Course Readings will be posted to Blackboard

  • External Hard Drive (at least 500 GB)



If you have a question regarding the class, you are encouraged to visit me during my scheduled office hours or schedule an appointment. You are also free to email me any questions, comments, or concerns you may have. I will do my best to respond as quickly as possible.



Active participation is necessary to succeed in this course. Therefore, attendance is required. TTU allows for excused absences which include illness (with a doctors note), family death, scheduled university sanctioned trips, religious holy days etc. Any unexcused absences will result in a deduction from the student’s participation grade. If you are unsure if an absence is considered excused, please contact me before the class. You are responsible for the material covered during the day of your absence. If a student misses an assignment deadline due to an unexcused absence, the student will receive no credit.



A = 90 – 100%

B = 80 – 89%

C = 70 – 79%

D = 60 – 69%

F = 0 – 59%


Quizzes (10%) Twice during the semester you will be quizzed on material that we have learned in class. Each quiz will consist of 20 questions and will not be cumulative. Quiz 1 will test you on types of documentaries and pre-production. Quiz 2 will test you on production and post-production.


Participation (10%) Participating in this course is instrumental in the student’s success. Therefore, 10% of their grade will be constructed from their participation and attendance in the course. After two unexcused absences, students will begin receiving a 1% deduction per absence on their participation score. 


Documentary Analyses (20%) Four times during the semester, students will be required to analyze a documentary that is watched during class. Information for each documentary will be posted on Blackboard. Analyses should include some basic information such as the name of the documentary, release date, director, and a brief synopsis of the film. The rest of the analysis should consist of picking apart the elements of the story and why specific decisions were made in regards to documentary filmmaking. No more than 1 page single spaced.


Documentary Project (60%) Students will be required to develop and create their own 5-7 minute short-form documentary on the topic of their choosing. The project will be broken down into the following parts:

  1. Topic Proposal (5%): For the proposal, you will explain your topic and the reason for choosing it. This should not be longer than 2 paragraphs. Do not begin the next steps until you receive my approval.

  2. Documentary Treatment (20%): In preparation for your documentary, you will be required to submit a complete treatment of your documentary. Your treatment should include the working title of your film, a logline, a proposal section (this will include the scope of your project, not your topic proposal), a synopsis, and participant section with details of their journey. Specific details will be given out during week 6.

  3. Final Documentary (35%): You will submit a 5-7 minute short-form documentary that tells a compelling story and is structurally sound. Each student must submit their own documentary but is free to work with others for the production aspects. The student must craft and edit the story on their own. 




Academic Integrity/Original Work (OP 34.12)

Academic integrity is taking responsibility for one’s own class and/or course work, being individually accountable, and demonstrating intellectual honesty and ethical behavior. Academic integrity is a personal choice to abide by the standards of intellectual honesty and responsibility. Because education is a shared effort to achieve learning through the exchange of ideas, students, faculty, and staff have the collective responsibility to build mutual trust and respect. Ethical behavior and independent thought are essential for the highest level of academic achievement, which then must be measured. Academic achievement includes scholarship, teaching, and learning, all of which are shared endeavors. Grades are a device used to quantify the successful accumulation of knowledge through learning. Adhering to the standards of academic integrity ensures grades are earned honestly. Academic integrity is the foundation upon which students, faculty, and staff build their educational and professional careers. [Texas Tech University (“University”) Quality Enhancement Plan, Academic Integrity Task Force, 2010]



Any student who, because of a disability, may requirespecial arrangements in order to meet the course requirements should contact the instructor as soon as possible to make any necessary arrangements. Students should present appropriate verification from Student Disability Services during the instructor’s office hours. Please note: instructors are not allowed to provide classroom accommodations to a student until appropriate verification from Student Disability Services has been provided. For additional information, please contactStudent Disability Services in West Hall or call 806-742-2405.


Observance of Religious Holy days (OP 34.19)

“Religious holy day” means a holy day observed by a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property taxation under Texas Tax Code §11.20. A student who intends to observe a religious holy day should make that intention known in writing to the instructor prior to the absence. A student who is absent from classes for the observance of a religious holy day shall be allowed to take an examination or complete an assignment scheduled for that day within a reasonable time after the absence. A student who is excused under section 2 may not be penalized for the absence; however, the instructor may respond appropriately if the student fails to complete the assignment satisfactorily.


TTU Resources for Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Violence

Texas Tech University is committed to providing and strengthening an educational, working, and living environment where students, faculty, staff, and visitors are free from gender and/or sex discrimination of any kind. Sexual assault, discrimination, harassment, and other Title IX violations are not tolerated by the University. Report any incidents to the Office for Student Rights & Resolution, (806)-742-SAFE (7233) or file a report online at Faculty and staff members at TTU are committed to connecting you to resources on campus. Some of these available resources are: TTU Student Counseling Center, 806-742-3674, confidential support on campus.) TTU 24-hour Crisis Helpline, 806-742-5555, (Assists students who are experiencing a mental health or interpersonal violence crisis. If you call the helpline, you will speak with a mental health counselor.) Voice of Hope Lubbock Rape Crisis Center, 806-763-7273, (24-hour hotline that provides support for survivors of sexual violence.) The Risk, Intervention, Safety and Education (RISE) Office, 806-742-2110, (Provides a range of resources and support options focused on prevention education and student wellness.) Texas Tech Police Department, 806-742-3931, (To report criminal activity that occurs on or near Texas Tech campus.)

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(subject to change)

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