MFA SocDoc Two-Day Documentary Intensives

We are excited to announce that the MFA SocDoc program is expanding its class offerings to include a couple of weekend-long workshops as well as a two-week summer session. These classes are all open to the public.


Documentary Camera and Sound Intensive (Jan 27-28) and Documentary Sound (Feb. 24-25) can be taken individually or together, and are meant to build your skills as a director, cinematographer, sound recordist and an overall filmmaker. More information about these classes, and registration information is below. If you have any questions about the classes, please get in touch with us at

In addition, we will present a two-week summer workshop: The Art of The Documentary Interview (June 11-22) that is a complete immersion into the documentary filmmaking craft. If you’d like information on this program, please email

Documentary Camera and Sound Intensive (Jan 27-28)
Instructors: Amitabh Joshi & Erik Spink
The workshop will explore cinematography, sound and the cinematic language, and gives hands-on access to the current technology used in creating documentary film. Students will learn the principles of photography, exposure and composition; receive an introduction to documentary lighting and sound techniques; and participate in group exercises that focus on using camera and sound collaboratively.This workshop is ideal for emerging documentary filmmakers and those in need of a refresher on current technology, as well as journalists, photographers, writers and narrative filmmakers interested in transitioning into documentary filmmaking. How to create a professional interview set-up on a limited budget will be covered.Professional-level HD cameras and sound recording equipment will be used. Students will complete the workshop with improved camera and sound skills that can be applied to their own films and future jobs.Amitabh Joshi, originally from Kathmandu, Nepal, is a filmmaker based in NYC. He is interested in exploring environmental sustainability, cultural identities and youth-related issues. He is a director and cinematographer at Vacant Light, a production company in New York City. Tashi’s Turbine is his first feature length documentary; the film was broadcast nationally by public television’s World channel. Amitabh was awarded the Princess Grace JustFilms Grant in 2012, The Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation grant, and Center for Asian American Media Documentary Fund. Amitabh has worked as a cinematographer for Art21, Positive Exposure, Northside Media and many others.
Erik Spink is a producer at Vacant Light, a film and media production company based in New York City. Vacant Light clients include Etsy, The Actors Studio, The Rubin Museum, Jameson Whiskey, Ford Foundation and Intel. Erik’s films have screened at festivals internationally and received support and recognition from The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, The Ford Foundation, and The Center for Asian American Media. He produced Tashi’s Turbine, which was broadcast nationally on PBS and streamed live on Facebook. He is an Impact Partners Emerging Documentary Producers Fellow, and is currently in production on his first feature as a director, Hart Island; the film was the winner of the Paley Center Doc Pitch Award.


Documentary Sound Workshop (Feb. 24-25)
Instructor: JT Takagi
This is an introductory workshop on sound recording for film/video production. It will cover the how and why of sound, acoustics and human hearing, microphone types, recorders and mixers. We’ll discuss how documentary and dramatic sound is recorded, and cover the “must have” gear. Students will be introduced to boom operation, using lavaliers and wireless microphones, and best practices. The workshop will involve a great deal of hands-on activity using industry-standard sound equipment, including the Zoom Recorder and 633 mixer, as well as HD camera gear. Students will come away with an understanding of the field, as well as the skills and techniques to apply to film productions, podcasts, music, and other audio work. Beginners and emerging recordists welcome.
Note: Students cannot take equipment out of SocDoc or use equipment and facilities outside of class time. Orinne JT Takagi is an award winning independent filmmaker and sound recordist. As a sound engineer, she has recorded for numerous public television (American Masters and American Experience) and theatrical documentaries with Emmy and Cinema Audio Society nominations. These credits include Black Panthers: Vanguard of the RevolutionThrough a Lens Darkly; In the Life; 4 Little Girls and many others. Her own films are primarily on Asian/Asian-American and immigrant issues and include Bittersweet SurvivalHomes Apart: KoreaThe Women Outside; and North Korea: Beyond the DMZ, which aired nationally on PBS. She also manages Third World Newsreel, a non-profit alternative media center.

Filed Under: Opportunities