Sophie Wiesner Headshot Sept 16

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Have an idea for a documentary but aren’t sure where to start? Interested to learn more about the genre, including factual TV/documentary series, feature Ddcumentary and web docs? This course will give you a great introduction and show you how to start moving your documentary ideas into actual productions.


This course will cover:

  • A brief history of documentaries
  • What is documentary? What is reality? Is there always a point of view?
  • Documentary aesthetics & genres
  • The interviewer/interviewing styles (Errol Morris, Michael Moore, Barbara Kopple, John Pilger, etc.)
  • Developing your own concepts: where to start/breaking down an idea
  • Verité vs. Direct Cinema
  • Simple interview practical exercises
  • How to ask questions/the art of the ‘follow up’
  • Recording footage from chaotic situations/having a plan
  • Film grammar on your feet
  • Australian documentary funding bodies/funding sources
  • Film festival strategy: find your niche
  • Distribution models
  • Multi-platform: perfect for documentaries

This course involves lecture,screening and discussion and some practical exercises planned to get you out of your seats and thinking on their feet.


Designed for students who have little or no knowledge of the Documentary genre, but have a strong interest in storytelling, and connecting with audience through telling true stories.


Sophie Wiesner has a passion for documentary storytelling and has over a decade of experience working on high profile documentary and factual television series, including Keeping Australia Alive, Country Town Rescue, Bondi Vet, Border Security and Enough Rope with Andrew Denton. In 2015 she released her debut feature documentary Call Me Dad, broadcast on the ABC. She is currently working on the social impact campaign for this film, between freelance gigs and developing her next project. She is a graduate of AFTRS and lectures to the Bachelor of Screen Arts students.

​***DISCLAIMER*** AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If a participant wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee. For more information on AFTRS Open's policies, including refund policies, please see our policies page​ .


The Australian Film Television Radio and School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.