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The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at https://www.usq.edu.au/course/specification/current.
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FSP2001 Documentary and Reality TV

Semester 1, 2022 Toowoomba On-campus
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Grading basis : Graded
Course fee schedule : https://www.unisq.edu.au/current-students/administration/fees/fee-schedules


Examiner: Daryl Sparkes


Pre-requisite: FSP1002
Enrolment is not permitted in FSP2001 if FTR2006 has been previously completed.


This is an intermediate level course in the Film program aimed at developing student’s skills and knowledge as a professional filmmaker.
In today’s world documentary film serves to document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record. Documentary film provides a voice for minorities and the marginalised and is an important media form to bring matters to the attention of a society. Reality TV is a spin-off from documentary, which contains much more manipulation of the content. This course identifies some of the key points in the development of the documentary and reality TV form and its evolution.

Students are introduced to the history and aesthetic practices of the Documentary film and site its place and importance in the history of cinema. The course also considers at how reality TV has evolved from the documentary form. Documentary production and reality TV techniques are then explained using practical examples. Students then use this skill and knowledge base to write and produce their own documentary films or reality TV pilot in a group situation.

This course develops in students the organisational, planning and strategic skills required of the documentary and factual entertainment producer. It provides opportunities for students to develop the skills needed to interpret, critically analyse and produce their own documentary films or reality TV shows using methods and techniques learnt in previous courses.

It requires students to apply their grasp of documentary and factual entertainment theory, and to produce a completed original documentary or factual entertainment production in video as authentic assessment.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Use the history and theoretical principles of documentary and factual entertainment production, in its application to new media
  2. creatively communicate, collaborate, research, problem-solve, outline and organise as part of implementing a short documentary video production or reality TV pilot to a high (broadcast) standard
  3. Undertake both camerawork and editing techniques as applied to documentary or factual entertainment production
  4. apply the principles and operations of media marketing, new media, funding and budgeting within the Australian context


Description Weighting(%)
1. Theory and critical analysis of the documentary 25.00
2. Stages in pre-production and production including communication, research and problem-solving. 25.00
3. Documentary Film Field production skills 25.00
4. Documentary Film Post-production organisation 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

Rabiger, M 2014, Directing the documentary, Sixth edn, Focal Press, Amsterdam.

Student workload expectations

To do well in this subject, students are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week including class contact hours, independent study, and all assessment tasks. If you are undertaking additional activities, which may include placements and residential schools, the weekly workload hours may vary.

Assessment details

Description Weighting (%)
Date printed 10 February 2023