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An image of a film clapboard with popcorn coming out of it on a yellow backdrop. Documentary and the Three-Act Structure is a Course

Documentary and the Three-Act Structure

May 15 - May 16, 2021
6.0 credits

Spots remaining: 12

$200 Enroll

Full course description

This one-day class will meet ONLINE Saturday, May 15, from 10 am - 4 pm eastern time.

Documentarians are storytellers. Telling stories that engage audiences requires understanding their needs and the tools developed over time to meet them. In this class, students will discover how to dissect narrative films for elements of a traditional three-act structure, the most common storytelling format. By learning how and why this structure type creates tightly paced Hollywood films, students will then be able to apply it to their own nonfiction work. By melding the sensibilities and conventions of documentaries with an identifiable narrative structure, students will identify ways to better present their subject matter and how to deliver commercially viable documentaries for today’s story-hungry audiences.

A photo of Josh Dasal


Josh Dasal has served as an instructor for the CDS continuing education program, CDS Courses, since 2010. He is an Emmy-winning film and video director-producer-screenwriter, co-producer and writer of the award-winning documentary film The Mars Underground, and co-producer of the hit podcast, ArtCurious. He runs the digital content firm Kaboonki. His career includes creative work for Discovery Channel, PBS, Sony Screen Gems, and director Wes Craven. He has taught filmmaking at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Missouri State University, and his work has screened at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Director’s Guild of America, and Mann Theatres on Hollywood Boulevard. He is a screenwriting master’s degree graduate of the University of Southern California School of Cinema-Television.