“I have definitely learned a lot from the documentary training program. I have been able to complete a high quality commercial for my business, a documentary for my family, and a couple of short films to kick-start my own documentary filmmaking company.”

Jeffery LeonDocumentary Filmmaking Program Graduate

Documentary Filmmaking Program Overview

If you’ve had an idea for a documentary in your head for years, or you’ve already started shooting one and have accumulated hours of footage with not a clue what to do with it, then the 6 month Documentary Filmmaking Program is for you.

Taught by an award-winning faculty of industry professionals, this 6 month program is part-time and well suited for working people. Films produced in this hands-on course can be either stand alone, designed for film festivals or public television, or the beginning of a feature-length documentary project. Every student will finish the program with a firm foundation in documentary filmmaking and the work to prove it.

The Mission of FilmSchoolSF’s Documentary Filmmaking Workshop is to teach students the core concepts and techniques of non-fiction filmmaking. The objective is for students to develop, produce and complete a documentary film 15-20 minutes in length.

Students entering the class must come with a specific documentary project in-mind that they will produce during the program. The course, like all of the classes at FilmSchoolSF, is project based. Students begin by learning the basics of camera, lighting, story development, proposal writing and interviewing skills. As students develop these skills, they will put them immediately into practice by creating a short documentary portrait of one of the characters in their longer film project. Students learn specific techniques for editing non-fiction films using Adobe Premiere Pro.

After completing this initial portrait project, students dive deeply into the development and production of their main film. With an emphasis on storytelling and character development, students create their work in a supportive workshop environment. Each student writes, produces, directs and edits their own film, and during production, works with their classmates in small production teams. This process enables students to learn the core skills of documentary filmmaking, and allows them to collaborate with and learn from each other. It is a powerful process that yields very strong work.

What You’ll Learn

  • Non-Fiction Story & Character Development
  • Directing
  • Producing
  • Digital Cinematography
    • DSLR Interviewing Skills and Techniques
  • Documentary Proposal Writing & Fundraising
  • Documentary Editing
    • Adobe Premiere Pro
    • Motion Graphics for Film
  •  Audio Post Production
    • Sound Track Pro
    • Sound Recording


April 1st, 2017
July 15th, 2017

Mondays, 6:30pm-9:30pm
Every other Saturday, 10:00am-4:00pm


  • Personal Cover Letter
  • Documentary Project Description
  • High School Diploma (or GED)
  • Must be at Least 16 Years of Age


Tuition & Fees

Tuition – $6,850

Application Fee – $45




How to Apply


Download and Fill Out Application



Submit Completed Application Packet

    1. Completed Program Application


    1. Personal Cover Letter


    1. Documentary Project Description

Mail to:

San Francisco School of Digital Filmmaking
Attn: Admissions Department
155 Sansome Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA


Email to:


Please note there is a non-refundable $45 application fee

Student Testimonials

Documentaries courses in San Francisco: Staci Degagne’s Story

“I am 21-years old and I grew up in Las Vegas Nevada. Pretty average existence there, considering the town.   My parents bought a digital camcorder when I was a sophomore in high school and I was immediately hooked.  I started learning the basic editing software myself and even produced a documentary about my cross-country team. […]

Robert Lee Grant completes documentary film on Edible Schoolyard Plans – Summer 2006

I had a great deal of trepidation about my having a goal of producing a promotional/documentary film about Alice Waters’ acclaimed “The Edible Schoolyard” in Berkeley, with the hope of using it to create a similar organic garden for kids program in my newly adopted city of New Orleans. My being a middle aged, non-computer […]

Documetary training institute: Jeffery Leon accomplishes his goals with the help of FilmSchoolSF

“I can honestly say that I have definitely learned a lot from the documentary training program, FilmSchoolSF staff and my classmates regarding documentary filmmaking and acting. Not only have I been able to see the improvements from my previous works before registering into the program, but my family and friends around me have noticed the […]