Insider knowledge: Documentary film & history insight from Professor Breyer

For this Insider Knowledge post, Professor Richard Breyer, co-director of the documentary film and history (DFH) program, highlights the process related to the final thesis project.

The final thesis project can be fulfilled through various strategies. Students have produced websites, or a series of short educational videos or even feature-length documentaries. Professor Breyer notes that knowing the intended use of the project, as well as where and in what context it will be viewed, are invaluable.

Professor Breyer observes that working through the production process with his students is the best way to share his theories about documentary filmmaking. He finds that students finally get the full benefit of the program when they complete their thesis films. “Miraculous things fall into place as we go through the production process together.”

During Maymester, the students edited for hours and hours. The students got to “get into the details,” Breyer said.

Many students continue to work on their films after they complete their coursework and leave Newhouse. For example, Professor Breyer noted that one student produced one part of a 12 part series is continuing to work on the other 11 episodes in the evenings and on weekends while working as a full-time editor.

In addition to real life application and execution, Professor Breyer finds it gratifying to see his students get closure when they have completed their projects. This closure manifests itself in many ways. Some feel the elation of closure, while others discover things, unrelated to production, about themselves along the way.

Interested in DFH? Come back for other Insider Knowledge blog posts featuring DFH alumni.

Find out more information about the Documentary Film & History Master’s program at Newhouse¬†here.

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