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Feb 16, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Branded Documentaries: An Intensive Seminar on Creative Content

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An Intensive 3-day Seminar on Creative Content

From DamNation – photo by Ben Knight

This seminar is a theoretical and practical intensive course designed for documentary filmmakers looking to develop their skill sets in the emerging field of branded content. Branded videos are on the rise, as clients are looking to engage with their customers through creative collaborations. Filmmakers can learn how to build a sustainable practice for financing their own works.

Designed by UnionDocs in partnership with Mathilde Walker-Billaud, the seminar will explore new business models for documentarians. It will offer technical tools and strategies for working with clients while developing and maintaining a creative voice. The course is designed for graduate students and professionals in documentary and media arts (the audience is limited to 14 students).

This seminar will bring together five guest instructors who are thinkers and practitioners from different disciplines: producers, marketers and strategists, entrepreneurs, documentarists and filmmakers. The goal is to expose a small group to a broad range of creative approaches to branded documentary, including audience engagement, online and cultural marketing, fundraising strategies, digital innovation and production/distribution.

Film producer, entrepreneur and writer Brian Newman will lead the Seminar.


When: Friday, March 20th to Sunday, March 22nd, 10:00am – 5:30pm

Where: UnionDocs, 322 Union Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Who is eligible?

Open to the public. We are looking for students as well as producers, marketers and filmmakers interested in branded content. Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be asked for a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience in films and a project idea (if you have one), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample and CV, which would also be nice, but is not required.

Please note: Participants *will not* be producing a piece during the week. Focus is on discussion. The goal is also to develop your project conceptually.


$450 early bird registration by March 6, 2015
$500 regular
Please note that the service charge is waived if payment is made via check.
Checks can be made out to UnionDocs and mailed to 322 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

Technology Requirements:

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.


Each day will explore one topic with one or two guest instructors:

Friday – The filmmaker as an entrepreneur
The first day of the seminar looks in-depth at the ways we produce and distribute films. How innovative is the branded documentary model?

AM: Brian Newman
PM: Marc Schiller

Saturday – New strategies for brands
The second day of the intensive focuses on content and cultural marketing. How do the brands implement successful marketing campaign and generate audience engagement with the help of artists and filmmakers?

AM: Adam Katz

 Sunday – The final cut
The third day explores the creative execution of branded content. What is the impact of brands on the process?

AM: Harrison Winter
PM: Trish Dalton

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions: 

10:00a    Warm up, inspiring references, listening exercises, ear training.
10:30a    Presentation
11:45a    Discussion
12:30p    Share / Discussion / Exercise
1:00p      Lunch (on your own)
2:00p      Presentation
3:15p      Discussion
4:00p      Workshop Exercise
5:00p      Workshop Critique
5:30p      End


unnamed-3Trish Dalton 
is an award winning independent director/producer with over 10 years experience creating personal story, social impact videos for personal interest as well as corporations and non-profits. Since studying documentary film at NYU Trish has engaged in film collectives such as The 5th Night, Paper Tiger TV, United Nations Global Action Project, Reel Sweet Betty, DCTV, and the Indy Media Center.  Her commitment to social activism led her to help form “Ohms Media Collective” and launch the “Park Slope Coop Screenings Series”. Her work has garnered such notable clients as National Geographic Television, Amazon, Kashi, Danskin, About.com, Pepsi, ILLY, Cole Haan and Cossette. She recently completed a large-scale project directing a series of 60 short documentaries profiling small businesses across America for Capital One Spark (http://bit.ly/SparkRoadtrip). Her feature-length and short form documentaries covering subjects from musical theater to the US-Mexico border fence have been broadcast on PBS and Ovation after screening at dozens of film festivals, including: SXSW, Miami, Boston Independent, Denver Starz, Nashville, True/False, DOC NYC, Full Frame, and Tribeca. Find links to her work on her site: trishdalton.com[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DhkjDTvWWE”]

unnamedAdam Katz, President and Co-Founder of Imprint Projects, a creative agency that develops innovative brand platforms for marketing and communications.

Adam is a brand consultant, cultural programmer and entrepreneur. He strives to develop new business models that encourage arts patronage and community engagement.  In addition to his brand campaign portfolio (Google Play, Levi’s, Moog Music Sonos, Virgin), Adam’s professional background includes work in art museums, contemporary galleries and non-profit arts organizations.  Adam holds a degree in Art Semiotics from Brown University. He has organized and led countless workshops and classes, including stints managing The Public School in Los Angeles and New York.

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Brian Newman is the founder of Sub-Genre, a consulting company focusing on developing and implementing new business models for film and new media. Current clients include: Patagonia, developing film strategies, including distribution and marketing for the feature documentary DamNation; Sundance Institute on a film data project; and several filmmakers on fundraising, distribution and marketing.

Brian is also the producer of Love & Taxes a narrative feature in post from Jake and Josh Kornbluth, and executive producer, Shored Up a documentary feature by Ben Kalina. Brian has served as CEO of the Tribeca Film Institute, president of Renew Media and executive director of IMAGE Film & Video. Brian is chair of the board of Rooftop Films, and serves on the board of Muse Film & Television. He authored “Inventing the Future of the Arts: Seven Digital Trends that Present Challenges and Opportunities for Success in the Cultural Sector” for the book 20 Under 40: Reinventing the Arts and Arts Education for the 21st Century. He was born in North Carolina and has an MA in Film Studies from Emory University.

Marc Schiller, Founder and CEO of BOND Strategy and Influence, is an accomplished advertising and marketing executive with decades of industry and entrepreneurial knowledge, in the areas of digital marketing, brand strategy, corporate consulting, cultural curation and public relations.

BOND’s mission: To help clients understand, tap into, and leverage the rapidly evolving technologies that consumers use to communicate in the digital era. To that end, Marc and BOND create innovative influencer strategy campaigns that deliver success for a diverse client base, from independent films and media companies to hospitality giants and Fortune 500 corporations.

Recent agency clients include: American Express, General Electric, Starwood Hotels, The Economist, HBO, MTV, A&E Networks, BabyBjörn, Seamless, Tribeca Film Festival, Microsoft, Netflix, and a host of consumer product, hospitality, media and entertainment companies.  Marc currently consults on marketing strategy for a variety of film projects that include Banksy’s Academy Award-nominated film, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and Asif Kapadia’s “SENNA”, “Imposters”, and “Particle Fever”.  In 2013, Marc was honored by Indiewire as of their “2013 Indiewire Influencers

Marc’s relentless focus on social media and how people connect through technology is a signature of his career. Prior to launching BOND (formerly known as Electric Artists), Marc served as Corporate Vice President of House of Blues Entertainment, Inc. where he pioneered music and entertainment content on the internet to create a multi-platform presence for the brand. Before joining the House of Blues, Marc developed motion pictures for Warner Brothers, TNT, and 20th Century Fox.

Marc lives in New York with his wife, Sara, and their daughters, Samantha and Charlotte. He currently sits on the board of directors of the IFP and Eyebeam, a New York based think tank for the convergence of art and technology.

Harrison-Final-For-Site-Brighter-300x300Harrison Winter: Ever since Harrison can remember, he’s been curious. About life, the world, cultures and why we as humans behave the way we do. This curiosity continues to take him down roads less traveled, as both an entrepreneur and content creator. Trying things that haven’t been tried before. Bringing new ideas into the world. Harrison believes in the power of emotion and aesthetic to move people. He also believes that in order to do things right, they should be done efficiently. He has a rare talent of finding ways for these opposing forces to coexist. An uncommon balance of left and right brain, in equal parts.

Harrison began his career in the world of global brand advertising, marketing and production. Over the past few years, he has been creating short films and digital content for brands big and small.  While his roles have spanned every major aspect of content creation, including director, writer, producer, DP, editor, color grader and sound mixer, he now focuses his time on running Co.MISSION and directing / overseeing key projects. Prior to forming Co.MISSION, Harrison worked with major global brands to develop new products, launch integrated advertising campaigns, and create strategic/results driven marketing plans to grow their business. He not only bring to the table a passion for content creation and storytelling, but also world class marketing experience from ad agencies Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B) and Mcgarrybowen. He also held roles inside a major global brand like Burger King Corporation. During his time on the Burger King business, Adweek named the brand Advertiser of the Decade and CP+B was named Agency of the Decade by Ad Age. While at both CP+B and Mcgarrybowen, both agencies were named Ad Age’s Agency of the Year multiple years. During his time in advertising and corporate marketing, he launched over 40 TV spots, numerous integrated digital campaigns and new products around the world.

While leading Co.MISSION, Harrison and his team created content for brands like Starbucks, Google, Hyatt, Clinique, Newcastle Beer, Stoli Vodka and many others.

Workshop Policies:

Registration & Cancellation: To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via PayPal. After the early bird registration deadline of March 6, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.


Feb 16, 2017
7:08 pm

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