COM 583: Advanced Narrative Multimedia Storytelling

Course Description:

From prehistoric cave paintings to Netflix binges, our innate attraction to stories defines us as a species. Yet as professional communication tools and techniques become more sophisticated, there’s a tendency to forget the fundamentals and lose sight of what makes storytelling such a persuasive tool.

This class will explore those fundamentals while practically tackling the relational challenges of storytelling: building trust with subjects and clients, telling the stories of others ethically, capturing authenticity without equipment getting in the way, and crafting a compelling narrative from sometimes messy real-life material. This coursework is designed to support students as they create high-value work in one of the most challenging but powerful modes of storytelling: human-driven documentary film. They’ll conceive of, research, shoot, edit, and create a distribution plan for a short, character-driven documentary on the subject of their choice, in partnership with a client. All the while, they’ll be considering deeply how story functions throughout our media and applying those lessons to their project.

This is an advanced course that will assume a basic knowledge of technical aspects of video production and editing, so a previous foundational MCDM storytelling class or equivalent technical experience is strongly recommended. Given that the emphasis of this course is on the interpersonal aspects of storytelling, that baseline technical familiarity will be vital to your success. While your technical skills will improve through the filmmaking process, this course is not a deep dive into the latest and greatest technology in filmmaking. It is a deep dive into the tried and true pillars of great storytelling. Contact instructor with any questions.

Student Testimonial:

“I can’t say enough good things about this class. [The instructors] are gifted educators and expert storytellers. As educators, I found them open and willing to engage many points of view with equal respect. That’s a rare talent. Their entry in the Seattle International Film Festival 2013 (Barzan) attests to the pedigree of their storytelling. They encouraged me to seek a challenging topic. In the few weeks we had in the class, they were mindful to remind the class to stay on pace. They grounded this advice in real-world experience. A big debt of thanks to Comm Lead for leveraging [the instructor’s] abilities and experience into a rewarding experience; the class was over all too quickly.”