These workshops are open to everyone. We work to keep them as affordable as possible and allow you to suggest a price that works for you. Our goal is to make it as easy as we can for you to tell your story. We would love to see you in class and if there are any questions we can answer please feel free to reach out

DIY Documentary Workshop Series. These workshops are designed to serve filmmakers of all experience levels. If you’ve never made a film these are for you. If you are an experienced filmmaker and are looking for motivation or inspiration these workshops are a great fit. All workshops are project based and hands on.


 Suggested Price: $150

Next Session: TBD




Before you pick up a camera, or start digitizing an archive, comes the IDEA — and making sure it’s an idea you love and can commit to creatively takes some practice! This class moves through a variety of ideation processes to build your skills in finding the story ideas right in front of you and further afield; discerning which ideas have potential, and which stories are right for you to tell. Through in-class self-reflection exercises and discussion, guided out-of-class exploration of the world of stories just beneath the surface of everything you might encounter (through archives, neighborhood walks, lenses to examine your own community, and more), and supportive spaces to share and ideate together, you’ll hone your story finding and selecting skills. Together, we’ll generate tons of great ideas, both to pursue in your own projects, and to share with the storytelling community at NW Doc and beyond.

Each participant will leave with a collection of fleshed-out story ideas that can become projects, ready for our DIY Story Craft and DIY Filmmaking courses!

Instructor: Max Swanson


Suggested Price: $250

Next Session: TBD



Writing is an essential but often overlooked aspect of the nonfiction filmmaking process. This class puts writing center-stage, as a conceptual/working tool, and an element of documentary itself — a course based in language but aimed towards images. We will engage in generative weekly practice to develop new ways to organize thought and translate ideas into films. From crafting pitches and treatments, to working with transcripts, voice-over, and editing scripts, we will work collaboratively to hone our writing skills for the screen.

We recommend that you have a specific, short (0 to ~30 minute) project in mind when you sign up for this workshop. If you’re not sure what you want to make a documentary about we suggest taking Story Finding.

Each participant will leave with a significant portion of or completed in-depth creative treatment for their short documentary project!

Instructor: Max Swanson


Suggested Price: $400

Next Session: TBD



This workshop will take you from start to finish on a short documentary film. Your film can be about anything! You will learn how to plan a film around your idea, how to record the material you need, and how to edit it together into a story. DIY Documentary is open to filmmakers of all skill levels. The workshop will cover basic skills and help you through technical challenges if you are new to filmmaking. If you already have those skills the workshop will offer you deadlines and community support to help you get a new project finished.

DIY Documentary workshop has been at the heart of NW Documentary for almost two decades. This hands-on project-based workshop has proven to be one of the fastest and best ways to accelerate your filmmaking skills.

Instructor: Kia Geraths