Salt Graduate Certificate in Documentary Studies

SALT IS STORY Learn the Art of Documentary in Audio or Visual Storytelling

 Radio + Podcasting

Our approach to Salt’s audio storytelling track allows students to focus on the skills required to tell a compelling story with sound. Via fieldwork, assignments, class discussion, instructor feedback, and peer critique, students learn how to: identify, pre-report, and evaluate a possible story; carry out successful interviews; use interview tape and other elements to build and shape a story; write and edit, and produce polished work in ProTools, the industry standard for audio editing. Students also practice pitching their work and start to market themselves as radio producers. Over the course of the semester, students will produce a variety of short audio assignments as well as an in-depth final project. The class is organized to mirror the structure and flow of an editorial team, with students working as both producers and editors. Students regularly listen to professional and student-produced work as a way of developing the ability to effectively understand and discuss the language of audio storytelling. Graduates of Salt’s audio storytelling track leave with a portfolio of work and a new understanding of how to tell stories using sound.

Film + Photography

Salt’s visual storytelling track allows students to focus on the elements required to tell a compelling story with film and photography. Our approach borrows from the fields of journalism, anthropology, art, and design. Via fieldwork, assignments, class discussion, instructor feedback, and peer critique, Salt students learn how to: identify, pre-report, and evaluate a possible story; carry out successful film and photo shoots; use images and video to build and shape a story; write and edit; and produce polished work in Adobe Photoshop and Premiere Pro, the industry standards for editing visual media. Students also practice pitching their work and start to market themselves as filmmakers and/or photographers. Over the course of the semester, students shoot and produce short assignments as well as an in-depth final project. The class is organized to mirror the structure and flow of an editorial team, with students working as both producers and editors. Students regularly view professional and student-produced work as a way of developing the ability to effectively understand and discuss visual language. Graduates of Salt’s visual storytelling track leave with a portfolio of work and a new understanding of how to tell stories using short film and photos.

All students who attend Salt also take the following courses:

The Salt Workshop

Documentary work is creative and artistic; it’s also a powerful form of communication and a tool for public engagement. This workshop is a space to explore the elements of great storytelling, while also taking time to examine ethics and craft. The workshop directly supports and compliments work being done in the core Salt tracks. The Salt Workshop asks students to examine a range of documentary forms and questions via readings, discussion, and assignments in three key areas. Story: Students are exposed to a range of documentary works to explore the fundamental elements of story. Writing: Students hone their writing craft and produce a suite of pieces including a profile, a personal story, and a pitch. Ethics: Students consider the role of race, class, gender, geography, and other identities while exploring major ethical debates and what it means to practice documentary in an ethical and responsible way. Think writing workshop meets anthropology class meets editorial team.

Field Research

With Maine and northern New England as their classroom, students carry out focused, professional fieldwork as a key part of their Salt experience. In consultation with the instructors of their core tracks (visual storytelling, or audio storytelling), students develop their own story ideas early in the semester based on their interests and the viability of pursuing the topic while at Salt. Students are expected to plan extensively, keep detailed notebooks documenting their research and records of their reporting trips, and uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior with their subjects. Students present their field research and stories-in-progress on a weekly basis and discuss their goals and challenges with fellow students and faculty. They are also instructed on how to best manage the digital assets and archives they create and are expected to uphold those practices.

Artist Credit – Header

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