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Explore Digital Storytelling and Filmmaking

In this curriculum, we will challenge students to create short films. Participants will explore the planning process for creating a short film from Pre-Production, and Production to Post-production. We will explore the process of telling documentary-style stories on cultures, music, or a social issue. This course will focus on using inexpensive mobile tools and apps, as well as, more extensive filmmaking tools if they are available. We will also compare and contrast how short documentaries differ from short promotional videos. The goal of this project is to construct a short film or PSA on a topic that is important to you.

Throughout the curriculum, we will discuss the process for creating, short documentary films, promotional marketing video projects, >and even PSA projects will be highlighted. Making A Brand also offers opportunities for highly motivated filmmakers in our community to join webinars and meet with filmmakers for mentoring and other professional development opportunities.

Projects from filmmakers who participated in the creation of this course like the production team from God Said Give Em’ Drum Machines will be used as examples and referenced along with numerous examples that will be available to watch on our partner site  Students will who complete the course successfully also be provided opportunities to publish their own work on the site.

This is a self-guided course but Educators are encouraged to use the course to learn how to help students utilize simple and inexpensive tools to communicate their ideas effectively and tell meaningful stories in personal ways their peers will appreciate.

Learning objectives

In the course, you will:



Educators can request licenses for the classroom and facilitation tips and strategy guides along with other resources to enable them to facilitate the lessons in the classroom. Free licenses are available to groups serving underserved areas when a need is demonstrated on a case-by-case basis.



Embark on a journey into the fascinating realm of digital storytelling! Our video creation course is your ticket to mastering the art of creating impactful videos tailored for social media or short films. Learn the secrets behind crafting captivating short films and compelling marketing promos designed to resonate with online audiences. Gain invaluable insights into the distinct flavors of video from documentary shorts, to promotional marketing videos. From mastering the intricacies of shot types, to unraveling the planning intricacies of Pre-Production, Production, and Post-production phases, this course is your gateway to understanding the essence of compelling storytelling. Whether you're equipped with a cell phone, inexpensive mobile tools or advanced filmmaking gear, this course will help us learn the basics needed to use your resources, to ensure an enriching experience. Culminate your learning by creating powerful, shareable content that leaves a lasting impact. Unleash your creativity and join us in shaping narratives that will captivate and inspire the digital world.

Upon completion of the course you will receive a mentoring session (~15-20 min) with the course's creator, the Award Winning Filmmaker/Producer, David Grandison Jr. You can use this video conference meeting to ask questions, discuss career options, or he can review your video project and provide valuable professional feedback. Enroll now and learn to craft stories that resonate with your audience!


Cost $99
Digital Story Telling Course by David Grandison Jr.


  • Learn about effective digital storytelling
  • Analyze how short films can be used as marketing tools
  • Explore the components needed to create a short video message that people will care about
  • Evaluate the factors that go into creating an effective, high-quality video using inexpensive digital tools like smartphones
  • Create a video that can be used as a tool on social media or a promo video to market a project or product

100% Online

Self Paced

14 Lessons

Certificate of Completion


MODULE 1 - Intro to Digital Storytelling and Short Doc Film Creation

Lesson 1: Creating Short Films for Social Impact

This lesson guides students in producing social videos, short films, documentaries, or PSAs to highlight and address societal issues.

Lesson 2: Why Stories Matter – Activity: Developing Your idea

This lesson teaches students to craft impactful stories amidst media noise, focusing on brainstorming and developing film ideas with emphasis on genre, conflict, and message.

Lesson 3: Creating Effective Stories

This lesson highlights the importance of authentic, relevant, and engaging storytelling to inspire social change, emphasizing narrative structure and personal connections in digital media.

Lesson 4: Persuasive Techniques

This lesson focuses on teaching students to use persuasive techniques like pathos, ethos, and logos in short films, aimed at effectively communicating and influencing their peer audience.

Lesson 5: Deep Dive: Finding the Story Arc in a Non-Fiction Documentary Film

This lesson guides students through the process of discovering and organizing the story arc in non-fiction documentaries, highlighting the importance of understanding the subject, analyzing key elements, and employing effective storytelling techniques.

Lesson 6: Defining the Narrative Structure and Story Arc in Documentary Filmmaking

This is where the rubber meets the road. Sales will determine if you got the first five steps correct. Your product is well received by retailers and consumers.

Lesson 7: Activity: Creating Your Story Arc

This lesson involves a structured approach to developing a film's story arc, focusing on setting the scene, establishing initial events, determining the climax, and reflecting on the outcome, with an emphasis on detailed planning and collaborative feedback.

Lesson 8: Creating A Short Documentary Film

This lesson outlines the process of making a short documentary on a personally significant subject, covering topic selection, research, narrative development, filming, interviewing, and editing to produce an engaging and impactful film.

MODULE 2 - Creating Your Short Film

Lesson 1: The Production Process (Pre-Production)

This lesson covers the critical steps of pre-production in documentary filmmaking, focusing on team formation, subject research, production planning, and securing necessary permissions and funding to lay a solid foundation for the filming process.

Lesson 2: Planning and Scripting

This lesson focuses on scripting for short documentaries, highlighting the steps of defining the film's purpose, conducting research, structuring the narrative, and integrating interviews and narration to create a compelling and focused script that guides the production process.

Lesson 3: Planning Your Shoot- Creating The Storyboard/Animatic

This lesson teaches how to use storyboards and animatics for effective shot planning in a short film, covering script visualization, scene breakdown, camera angle decisions, and sequencing, to ensure a coherent and efficient filming process.

Lesson 4: Production: Filming and Audio

This lesson guides students in using various shot types and audio techniques to create an emotionally impactful and visually engaging short film, emphasizing the importance of each shot in storytelling and the role of sound in enhancing the film's overall effect.

Lesson 5: Post Production – Editing

This lesson outlines the process of editing videos on a smartphone, including selecting an editing app, arranging and enhancing footage, adding music, and applying transitions and titles for a polished final product.

Lesson 6: Shooting Great Video With a Smartphone

This lesson provides key tips for creating professional-looking videos on a smartphone, focusing on composition with the Rule of Thirds, stable filming techniques, proper exposure and focus, horizontal shooting for optimal framing, effective lighting, and avoiding camera shake for high-quality results.


Mentees Success

Mentee Sam Fish started his project with the name LEAVE. After mentoring Sam through the Cultivators curriculum, Sam took Roland Felix’s, a mentor, advice and named his project EXIT INTERVIEW. Sam also obtained the knowledge on how to develop his line using PLM software supported by Backbone PLM.
Photo of Giovanna Santiago and her line Salut
Salut by Giovanna Santiago was a project that was selected by the mentors due to her project having a non-traditional approach to streetwear. The mentors took her project from “concept to closet” with the advice of our cultivating fashion expert Peter Paul Scott.



A Digital Storytelling course that guides students through the entire process of creating impactful short films, from conceptualization and scripting to filming with smartphones and post-production editing.