Making Of A Documentary


Making of a Documentary –  Summer Workshop


Guided by Mason Film & Video Studies Professor Sam Meddis, students will learn the art of documentary filmmaking through immersive, hands-on activities. The program covers idea development and research for documentary topics, the nuts and bolts of documentary production from cinematography to location sound recording, interview techniques, post production editing, and outreach and engagement for documentary projects. Students will gain experience as cinematographers, location sound recordists, directors, producers, and editors on short documentaries filmed on the Mason campus. No prior filmmaking experience is necessary, although this will be a great fit for those students who have previously taken our Filmmaking Workshop program.



Ages:  13-18 years
Dates:  June 18-29, 2018 (2 weeks)
Times:  9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. (M-F)
Tuition:   $855
Location:  Mason Fairfax Campus, Art & Design Building


Register Now


An “After Care” option is available for this program from 4-6 pm for $90/week, located in Mason’s Performing Arts Building and staffed by the Academy’s Summer Staff. After registering for this program (but before final checkout/ payment!), search for and add “After Care” to your cart (be sure to choose the correct week).


Sam Meddis, Film Workshops Instructor: Sam Meddis
Read about Mr. Meddis

Sam Meddis is an adjunct professor of Film and Video Studies at Mason, where he teaches History of World Cinema. He has also been an adjunct professor of Journalism at American University, where he taught graduate-level documentary video production, journalism and media production in School of Communication. In 2018, he was awarded a GMU Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award. In 2017, he won a GMU Teacher of Distinction commendation. He also was the university’s 2014 Distinguished Alumnus, GMU Department of Interdisciplinary Studies. He has a Masters in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in video from GMU. In addition to video production, he studied film theory and the cinema of China and Japan. He has also served on the volunteer board of Docs in Progress, a Maryland-based non-profit that supports documentary filmmakers and promotes community education and engagement.

Meddis is the former deputy managing editor and video team lead at USA TODAY, where he oversaw an award-winning group of video journalists and helped to develop a digital video strategy focused on expanding production and spreading visual-storytelling skills across the newsroom. In previous roles at USA TODAY, he helped oversee news coverage and operations of, coordinated training programs for print and online editorial staff, and supervised the editorial technology group. He is a founding member both of and USA TODAY the newspaper. Beginning at the paper’s founding in 1982, he served as lead reporter covering the U.S. Justice Department, FBI, and CIA. In 1995, he became founding technology editor for His reporting has won a number of awards, including: a Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association, a Unity Award for Investigative Reporting from Lincoln University’s Department of Journalism, a Champion of Justice award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and a public service award from Investigative Reporters & Editors.


Alicia Rodriguez, film workshops Teaching Assistant: Alicia Rodriguez
Read about Ms. Rodriguez

Alicia Rodriguez is an upper level Undergrad at George Mason University, double majoring in Film and Video Studies (FAVS) and Integrative Studies with a concentration in Social Justice and Human Rights. Over the last two semesters in which Alicia has been in the FAVS program, she has worked on both fiction and nonfiction projects, while also working outside of school as a production assistant, camera operator, editor, and photographer for outside production companies and nonprofit organizations in the DMV area and in Guatemala. At George Mason University, her recent work includes the documentary about DC urban agriculture entitled “Cultivation and Community” which was selected to be screened at GMU’s 2018 Off the Wall event. An example of narrative work includes “Lune,” a senior project that she worked on as the editor, sound designer, and colorist which won Best Editing and Audience Award in the 2018 Mason Film Festival. Rodriguez’s intention in filmmaking largely centers around creating spaces for peoples who have been historically silenced, and her experiences with diaspora and the erasure of narratives contextualizes her approach to storytelling. Alicia plans to continue to build relationships with other filmmakers and further develop her craft during her time at George Mason University, all while making an impact with the stories she shares in film.


Ryan Judge, Film workshops Teaching Assistant: Ryan Judge
Read about Mr. Judge

Ryan Judge is a recent graduate of the Film and Video Studies program at George Mason University. While enrolled in GMU’s FAVS program, he edited multiple projects for other aspiring filmmakers as well as for himself. Examples of his own work range from a location documentary about U Street in Washington DC, an infographic video about music sampling (a short film that garnered an award from the Communication department of GMU), as well as other side projects. Ryan’s knack for empowering the messages of other filmmakers through editing their work has given him a broad range of skills by working with a diverse variety of directors. His editing can be seen in projects including senior films such as ‘Yogurt’ as well as a music driven narrative film titled ‘Cope’ (which was selected to be part of the ‘Best of FAVS’ program). Ryan has also used his time at GMU to learn multiple on set production positions including: camera assistant, gaffer, and sound mixer. These skills have been implemented not only into countless student films, but also on professional sets and while working with production companies such as ThunderShot Studios and Odyssey Productions. He has also continued to work with GMU-TV as a production assistant for the past year. Ryan hopes to take the skills he has learned from GMU FAVS and build on them by working as an editor and crew member on both narrative and non-fiction work in the future.



Steger_headshot Director: Ben Steger, Assistant Professor for Mason’s Film & Video Studies
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To register by phone or request a paper registration form, please call the Academy office at 703-993-9889.