Intro to Creating a Documentary on a Budget

With the ubiquity of high-budget, pop documentaries featuring unsolved murders, fancy title sequences, and endless meme-able material, making a film can seem daunting and unobtainable. Join visiting artist, Cuyler Ballenger for this generative workshop at HCP and explore realistic and grounded approaches for building a documentary film. In these two 3-hour sessions, students will take their initial ideas as inspiration and develop and complicate them until a film begins to take shape. This workshop will lay the foundation for developing future projects. Participants will also receive a viewing list of high-concept, low budget documentaries, tips from notable documentarians, and a reading list. This workshop is idea-based; no previous experience with a camera or editing software is required. The goal is for you to begin your filmmaking practice.

Cuyler Ballenger is a video artist, filmmaker, and actor from Novato, California. Combining elements of documentary filmmaking and contemporary art, his work aims to portray labor, addiction, and family candidly. Ballenger earned his BA in Rhetoric and Film Studies from UC Berkeley in 2008. He is currently based in Sonoma, CA and Houston, TX.

Attention: This class has been moved online in response to the growing impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Please register as you normally would, and Houston Center for Photography staff will update you with information and a link to take this course at it’s scheduled time. 

To participate in an online course, students will need access to a desktop, laptop, or tablet with an internet connection. If you have any questions about navigating our new system, please email education@hcponline.org for more information.

Registration & Fees: $245
Members Enjoy 20% Off Tuition


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Class meets Saturdays:
November 14th, 21st, December 12th
(No class on November 28th or December 5th)
1 - 4 pm CST



What to Bring to Class

Access to a computer with an internet connection


Cuyler Ballenger