‘Aerial Videography’ Masterclass with Harun Rahman

MyDocs supported by Finas presents 'Aerial Videography' Masterclass with Harun Rahman and special guest speaker Mazli Zainal - one of Malaysia's leading drone pilots.

Drones can produce extraordinary shots of everyday subjects.  But what are the things you need to consider before flying one? This masterclass covered all you needed to know about operating the nifty gadget!

What participants learnt?

1. How to integrate drone footage into your documentary.
2. Planning for aerial filming.
3. Permits and permissions.
4. Taking off - filming aerials on location.
5. Post production for aerial footage.


‘The Art of Documentary Proposal Writing & Pitching’ workshop with Sydney Suissa

This one day interactive hands on workshop held on 13th March 2017 focused on how to develop and write an effective proposal and how to successfully pitch that idea to broadcasters and funders.  Emmy award-winning producer, Sydney Suissa worked one on one with the participants to develop their story ideas and gave them valuable feedback during the pitching session.


The workshop focused on 3 main areas:

1. Moving an idea to a proposal:

The first half of the workshop was spent exploring the different ways of turning an idea into a proposal. Case studies were presented to show the different approaches of successful proposals and trailers. Participants learnt how much research is needed to make an engaging proposal and what are the best ways to format their presentations.

2. How to sell your proposal:

Participants were asked to analyze their stories and evaluate some key questions. Who is it for? Why would they be interested in the story? Who will pitch it? What are the strongest selling points? What are the weak spots? From there, participants were given time to work on their proposal with Sydney’s one-on-one guidance on how to tackle all the questions stated above.

3. Pitching:

Finally, the participants were given 5 minutes each to pitch their ideas to the group who took on the roles of commissioning editors. They were then given feedback on what worked and what didn’t and how to improve.



‘The Art of Producing & Writing for Documentaries’ workshop with Sydney Suissa

The Art of Producing & Writing for Documentaries was a two day workshop with Emmy Award winning producer, Sydney Suissa.

Trained as journalist, Sydney began his career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation working his way from production assistant to documentary producer to Executive Producer. In 2004 he moved to Washington DC to take on the position of   Executive VP of Programming for National Geographic, a position he held until 2012. He has launched numerous channels including History Television, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, and most recently Zoomoo (a pre-school channel). For the past 4 years, Sydney has been a consultant for various media and production groups and has conducted extensive documentary training in Europe, Latin America and Southeast Asia. His awards include an International Emmy and two Geminis. Sydney holds a Masters Degree in Journalism and is based in the Washington DC area.

In this workshop, participants learnt:

How to structure a story:
All stories have a similar structure. Knowing what each of the structural elements are and how they fit together enables the producer to see the finish line and what he will need to get there. A well structured story has flow and rhythm and will keep the viewer engaged and eager to see what comes next. Without structure there is no story, just confusion and bad television.
How to build a shooting outline:
A shooting outline gives you a plan to use your field resources efficiently. It is not a list of shots or locations not is it a script.  A shooting outline is detailed articulation of what you need visually and how you intend to use it in the story. It tells you exactly what you need out of every interview how to prepare for them. It brings your crew into the story and lets them see where you want to go and how you want to get there. It allows you and the crew to be creative in the field and to improvise when the unexpected comes along. Without a good shooting outline there will only be chaos. You are doomed without it.
How to write a documentary:
In television, pictures lead and words follow. This means writing to pictures, not editing pictures to words. A good writer knows that he can change the meaning of a picture through the words he uses. This approach gives the producer immense flexibility—it is the best insurance against the unexpected and gives you the confidence to improvise. Through a variety of exercises we will explore how to write using this approach and how to do it with clarity and impact.

Documentary film screening of ‘Undercover Asia: To Hunt a Paedophile’


“To Hunt a Paedophile”  focuses on the investigation by the Australian and UK police that led to the arrest of Richard Huckle, a serial paedophile who had been preying on children in poor communities in Asia. Huckle would eventually be found guilty of over 70 counts of sexual assault against children, committed over a 9 year span, taking place mostly in Malaysia.

The documentary exposes the existence of local paedophile networks in Malaysia and speaks with a former member of a local online paedophile forum who reveals how it works. By following a team of journalists, the film highlights how local predators are turning to social media to target and lure young victims. The documentary explores the challenges that are faced by local authorities in tackling the issue of child sexual abuse in Malaysia.

With a Special Guest panel after the film including
NGI - Syed Azmi, NGO - PS the Children founder Madeline Yong, R.AGE producer Elroi Yee & the filmmaker Justin Ong.



Syed Azmi Alhabshi is known as a Non Government Individual (NGI) an active do-er making changes in society. He is a pharmacist by profession but more recently is known as a social activist with an passion for children's rights and the homeless.


Madeleine Yong, Founder of PS The Children.

For over 20 years, Madeleine has supported thousands of children and adults to move forward from their past traumas and daily fears. Through her hard-work and passion for this extremely important issue, "PS The Children" has became the regions prominent voice for child rights protection, a catalyst of change and a bold initiator of new structures, programmes and policies.


Elroi Yee - Senior Producer at R.AGE
Elroi has been working in video production since 2006. Since taking an interest in documentary production, he has produced for Channel News Asia and Crime & Investigation Channel, before landing a role at R.AGE to build an online documentary production team. His work at R.AGE includes the Asian Media Award-winning documentary The Curse of Serawan.
R.AGE was recently awarded the WAN-IFRA World Young Reader Award for its work in 2016, in particular for its long-running series on online child sexual abuse Predator in my Phone.


Justin Ong the filmmaker
Justin is a Malaysian-based award winning filmmaker who’s known for his intimate portrayals of extraordinary people and places. Justin has filmed everywhere from the notorious New Bilibid maximum-security prison in the Philippines, to the coalmines in the Mongolian tundra. Interviewing heads of states, underworld crime lords, celebrities, refugees on the run and rogue monks. He’s followed the trail of human traffickers, filmed in ancient torture chambers, followed first-responders to crime scenes and tracked down missing refugees to their camps – all in pursuit of telling a good story. Justin hopes to shed light on stories and people that are often ignored.


1 Day Camera & Sound Workshop in collaboration with Goethe Institute supported by FINAS

Event: 1 Day Camera & Sound Workshop with German Filmmaker Marcus Vetter & Georg Zengerling.

THE CAMERA & SOUND WORKSHOP was a one-day workshop designed for documentary filmmakers.


The workshop was broken into two general sections.

1. Screening & analysis

The participants watched the film screening of “My Father the Turk” followed by an analytical discussion of the film and how engaging a personal story can be, but also how difficult it is to produce.

2. Case study & filming styles

The second part consisted of sample rough cuts of the trainers’ past projects. This is a case study of how problematic filming with one camera could be, due to lack of cutaways. The participants were also taught how to combat the issue by adding random shots that could add to the story.

Participants also learnt the different tips and tricks of how to get subjects to be comfortable with having a camera crew around, as well as the importance of blending in with their surroundings despite holding big equipments.


2 Day Camera & Sound Workshop in collaboration with Goethe Institute supported by FINAS

Event: 2 Day Camera & Sound Workshop with German Filmmaker Marcus Vetter and DOP Georg Zengerling.

THE CAMERA & SOUND WORKSHOP was a two-day workshop designed for documentary professionals.


The workshop was broken into four general sections.

1. Screening & analysis

The trainers shared their past projects followed by an analytical discussion of the different techniques of filmings and how that can affect the over all mood and feel of the story.

2. Type of equipments

The second part consisted of the different types of equipments available on the market today and what the features and uses are. Here, the participants learnt that minimalism is key. It was highlighted that keeping your equipment list small and light weight is how filmmakers can be fluid in keeping up with the pace of an unscripted shoot.

3. Practical training

After theoretically familiarising themselves with the equipments, participants were then able to try their hands at using the trainers’ go-to set up and learnt first hand how beneficial it was to keep their set up small. Each participants were able to rotate between using the camera, where they learnt about the importance of listening to their subjects in order to instinctively know where the camera should be pointing and also when the frame should be changed. While learning to work as the soundman, participants learnt the ability to be alert of interframing, while also ensuring that they are not missing out on any good soundbytes.

4. Workflow

Lastly, the participants learnt how to systematically ingest the footage that they have filmed and how to sync the audio & video via time codes. Here, it was noted that the rule is to make sure they organize their media well enough to a point where anyone involved in post-production will be able to understand the filing system without being guided.




Screening of ‘Sunday Beauty Queen’ and Masterclass by Filmmaker Baby Ruth Villarama

Baby Ruth Villarama is a documentary journalist from the Philippines. She began doing international co-productions producing works for National Geographic Channel, NHK, EuroNews and British Council. She co-founded Voyage Studios & DokyuPeeps, which give voices to independent stories and filmmakers in the region by collaborating and connecting opportunities to grow as storytellers. She's a Chevening scholar who aspires to champion more SE Asian films reaching a more global audience.
Sunday Beauty Queen: Beneath Hong Kong's glittering facade, Filipinas working as domestic helpers work in relative anonymity and for near slave wages. In a beauty pageant like no other in the world, five helpers give themselves makeovers for a day and gleefully reclaim their dignity.
In this masterclass, Baby Ruth shared everything from her process in research, co-productions, production and distribution.  This interactive discussion also covered the factors in promotion for ASEAN documentaries.

Film Screening of ‘Operation Sumatran Rhino’ and speech by Dr. Jane Goodall

Operation Sumatran Rhino is the first ever Malaysian produced documentary to receive a global broadcast on National Geographic Wild.  The documentary showcases the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) in their do or die mission to save Malaysia's critically endangered Sumatran rhino, a species that numbers less than 100 in the world, with less than 5 left in Malaysia. This show document’s BORA’s quest to find all remaining Sumatran rhinos in the rainforests of Sabah and breed them before it’s too late – a critical operation that’s charged with emotion, danger, tragedy and hope.

The night will be followed with a Q & A session with the filmmakers themselves and a speech by world renowned primatologist most known for her long-term study of wild chimpanzees in Tanzania, Dr. Jane Goodall.

100% of proceeds from tickets sold will be going towards Borneo Rhino Alliance for their undying efforts in saving the Sumatran rhinos.

Date: 28th October 2016
Time: 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Venue: Petaling Jaya Live Arts
Price: RM30 per entry


Hands-on Practical 3 day International Trailer Workshop by the EDN supported by Finas

Learn how to edit a world class trailer for

your documentary project!

The EDN International Trailer Workshop is a three-day event focusing on the development of pitching pilots (aka trailers) for
four selected documentary projects.

All four projects will leave with a finished pilot in their hand. The workshop will end with a presentation of the participating projects, the goals achieved during the workshop and aims for the next steps of developments needed for the further development of the projects.

Who should participate?

The workshop is aimed at documentary professionals with a project in development. The level of the teaching will be high and based upon the experiences of the participants. We encourage teams of directors, producers and editors to participate together in the workshop, as the participating projects will go through developments in aspects of directing, producing and structuring of the story.

What will you learn?

During the first day we will provide a general introduction on editing pitch pilots and discuss the visual material connected to each project. Every project team will be asked to show a first draft of a pilot or key scenes from their material. From this material we will locate the strengths within the material and expose weaknesses and pitfalls.

Hereafter we will look at possible storylines, the psychology of the characters and their relationships in the film, visual style, style of editing, the emotional tone, ethical questions, genre and personal motivation for making the film. This will strengthen the filmmaker in the development of the pilot in particular and of the project in general. The participants will get a more detailed vision about what kind of film they want to make, and with this clarification they are better prepared to edit their pilot.

During the next days the participants will edit the pilot for their project. Teams will work in separate editing rooms and we will look at the pilots in an auditorium and compare the first impressions of each project with the work that has been done. The work with editing the pilot will be done in both individual sessions and in auditorium work.

Before & after the workshop there will be the possibility of having a Skype consultation with EDN.

To find out more, please  click here.



Introduction to Documentary Production Workshop by Sydney Suissa

Trainer; Sydney Suissa:

_mg_8515Trained as journalist, he began his career with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation working his way from production assistant to documentary producer to Executive Producer. In 2004 he moved to Washington DC to take on the position of Executive VP of Programming for National Geographic, a position he held until 2012.

He has launched numerous channels including History Television, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Adventure, and most recently Zoomoo (a pre- school channel).

AN INTRODUCTION TO DOCUMENTARY PRODUCTION was a one-day workshop designed for new filmmakers and others interested in entering television production. The workshop examined the editorial and creative skills needed to guide filmmakers through the arc of making a documentary.

The emphasis was on story structure, research and interviewing techniques, and the basic rules of television writing. There was also an overview of cinematography and editing and how best to work with and manage your production team.

The goal was to provide filmmakers with useful and practical information to strengthen their confidence as they make their way through this wonderful world of documentary production.