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Actuality Abroad

DOCUMENTARY OUTREACH TO

COSTA RICA

June 5th - July 3rd 2021

DESTINATION

A short drive north of the Costa Rica-Panama border, Puerto Viejo is wedged between the Caribbean Sea and the inland mountains that are home to the native Bribri Indigenous Reserve. Most of the inhabitants are Afro-Caribe, descended from people who escaped enslavement on island plantations. Though they have been in Costa Rica for generations, their citizenship is ever-contested by the government and many of them aren’t allowed to leave their home province of Limón.

Even so, the Pura Vida lifestyle that pervades all of Costa Rica holds true in Puerto Viejo as well. The water is beautiful, the beaches are lush with palm trees, iguanas and other natural life – and in either direction along the coast sits a gorgeous national park. Inland from the water the rainforest descends from the reserve, and the tree canopy is thick just beyond the edge of town.

Most changemakers in Puerto Viejo are environmentally-focused. Wildlife conservation, preserving local ecosystems, organic agriculture and establishing sustainable tourism are some of the efforts you will find in the region.

EXPERIENCE

ITINERARY

Arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica. You will be met at Juan Santamaria International Airport and then transported as a group to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast, where you will be delivered to the guesthouse where you will live for the month. The group will gather for a Welcome Dinner in the evening. 

After breakfast will be the Outreach Orientation for all crew members, presented by the Outreach Leader. Everyone will then set out for a guided kayak adventure, before returning to the hostel for dinner.

All crew members will be led to BaseCamp for the first day of Briefings: Documentary Storytelling and Connective Communication. First meetings with changemakers will be after the lunch hour break, followed by a debriefing at BaseCamp.

Crews are briefed on Research Methods and Thinking Visually.  The Photo Storytelling Assignment work begins at lunch, and individual crews have research visits with changemakers as scheduled by their Producer. Photos from the Storytelling Assignment will be reviewed at BaseCamp before breaking for dinner.

Crews are briefed on Purpose, Characters and Casting.  Research visits with changemakers will continue, as scheduled by Producers. After dinner all crew members will gather at BaseCamp for the first screening of a documentary feature film.

Crew are briefed on Dramatic Elements and Ethical Storytelling. Completed Purpose Statement assignments will be submitted to the Outreach Leader and discussed as a group. Research visits with changemakers will continue, as scheduled by Producers. After dinner will be a screening of a documentary feature film.

Crews complete the research questions assignment and are briefed on writing the Story Summary. Each crew will spend the rest of the day writing out their story summaries, with breaks for lunch hour and for a Camera Workshop. Completed Story Summary assignments are due to the Outreach Leader before dinner.

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who have opted in for the add-on Yorkin Weekend Excursion will depart in the morning hours. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided at the guesthouse for those in Puerto Viejo.

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who opted in for the add-on Yorkin Weekend Excursion will return to Puerto Viejo in the evening. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided at the guesthouse as usual.

Crews are briefed on writing the Story Outline. Each crew will spend the rest of the day writing out their story outlines, with breaks for lunch and for a Lighting and Focus Workshop.

Crews are briefed on Shooting Visually and on Interviewing. Afterwards, crews meet individually with the Outreach Leader to discuss their Story Outline. After lunch, crews continue work on their story outlines, with a Workshop on Location Sound in the afternoon.

Crews meet at BaseCamp to collect gear, then spend 2 hours with the Outreach Leader as they shoot a short promotional test video with their subject changemaker. Crews gather at BaseCamp in the evening to submit their completed Story Outline, to debrief from shooting and to screen the day’s footage.

Crew are briefed on Production Documents. Cinematographers work on a Shot List, Producers work on a Production Schedule, Directors work on Interview Questions, and Editors begin cutting the promo video.

Crews complete work on any outstanding prep, and finish any location scouting. Editors continue cutting their promo videos. Completed Shot Lists and Shooting Schedules will be due to the Outreach Leader by the end of the afternoon. After dinner all crew members will gather at BaseCamp to screen the promo videos cuts.

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who have opted in for the add-on Casa Calatéas Cahuita Weekend Excursion will depart in the morning hours. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided at the guesthouse for those in Puerto Viejo.

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who have opted in for the add-on Casa Calatéas Cahuita Weekend Excursion will return in the evening hours. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided at the guesthouse as usual.

Principal photography begins. Crews record all the necessary elements to build their documentary. Each Producer manages a schedule specific to their crew for filming. The Outreach Leader will sometimes accompany crews for filming, and will lead a session of Dailies and Debriefing every evening. Editors work on cutting their films at BaseCamp most days.

Production continues based on the schedule and needs of each project. Editors progress on the visual assembly as footage comes in. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

Production continues based on the schedule and needs of each project. Editors progress on the visual assembly as footage comes in. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

Production continues based on the schedule and needs of each project. Editors progress on the visual assembly as footage comes in. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

Production continues based on the schedule and needs of each project. Editors progress on the visual assembly as footage comes in. Visual assembly cuts of each project are screened in the evening.

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who have opted in for the add-on Tortuguero Canal and Mangrove Boat Tour Excursion will depart in the morning hours. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided at the guesthouse for those in Puerto Viejo.

 

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who have opted in for the add-on Tortuguero Canal and Mangrove Boat Tour Excursion will return in the evening hours. Breakfast and Dinner will be provided at the guesthouse as usual.

 

Editors continue working from the Visual Assembly to proceed towards an official Rough Cut. The rest of the crew work on building a Paper Edit. Directors continue work on Interview Selects while the rest of the crew research music and additional audio elements. 

Crews screen a Rough Cut of each film. Afterwards, crews review their Paper Edit for changes based on Rough Cut feedback. Editors update films and work towards a Fine Cut while Directors work on Interview Select translations. The rest of the crew captures any last audio or other pickups.

Crews screen at the latest cut of each film and provide group feedback. Editors work towards completing the Fine Cut while the rest of the crew compiles information for the Main and End Titles. All legal release forms and expense reports are due to the Outreach Leader before lunch. The latest cut of each film is screened before dinner. Available crew members post fliers for the upcoming Community Screening event around town.

Crews view the fine cut of all the documentaries and commit to a picture lock. Editors work to complete the Sound Edit while additional crew obtain any graphics still needed. Producers gather information for distribution and available crew build social media pages for their film.

Crews view their work-in-progress films one last time and complete any critical discussion. Editors work to make any last fixes before exporting their film. Crew is then free to prep for the evening screening event, and to pack for departure. The Outreach will close with a community screening at a local cafe with friends, changemakers, and other locals invited to debut the short documentary films.

Time to part ways. After breakfast, all crew are shuttled to San Jose for the flight home or continued travels. 

we are a band of storytellers
armed with cameras
out to reveal the good in our world

COST & INCLUSIONS

$ 3850 USD
  • 4 weeks documentary instruction and mentorship
  • meeting and coworking facilities access
  • 28 nights semi-private lodging at local guesthouse
  • 28 breakfasts and 28 dinners
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • Local transportation as needed
  • Translator
  • Production and editing equipment
  • Group kayak excursion

ADD-ON WEEKEND EXCURSIONS

TELL ME MORE

The best way to learn about our Documentary Outreaches is by signing up for our email series. We will share insights from our past sessions and provide updates about deadlines or other important news.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our past crews have included enrolled university students, young professionals, and adults interested in expanding their knowledge about documentary production. Anyone 18 years or older with an interest in learning is welcome. 

No. Actuality Abroad Outreaches are educational in nature. We will teach you what you need to know. 

If there is space, individuals can enroll up to thirty days before the start date. However, we highly encourage registration as soon as possible. Outreaches that don’t meet their minimum 90 days in advance of the start day may be cancelled. 

If Actuality Abroad cancels the Outreach due to enrollment, all payments will be refunded. If an Outreach is cancelled due to borders closing, natural disaster or political strife, all payments will be eligible to be applied for an alternate trips or future dates. For 2021, We recommend that each person purchase travel insurance that provides reimbursement due to trip interruption or cancellation due to COVID-19 for the most peace of mind. 

No. A production package is provided to each crew that includes all production and editorial equipment you will need.

You can bring any of your own equipment to use in addition to the production package. You will be responsible for your own gear and we highly recommend purchasing personal property travel insurance to cover loss or damage.

No. A translator will be made available to each crew by their changemaker. 

The producer is the leader of the crew, in charge of keeping everything organized and is the liaison with the changemaker.

The director is in charge of the story, has final call on the main character and ensures that the issues are explored in the most engaging way.

The cinematographer decides the look of the film, captures all the needed footage and brings visual motivation to the story.

The editor helps research and plan for shooting, and supervises post production, managing all the media and cutting the final film. 

A: Actuality Abroad researches, vets and selects the changemakers that we work with on each Outreach. From those chosen you can select which you would prefer along with your crew position, based on availability at the time of registration. 

Yes. Weekends will be free for the entire group to relax, explore on their own, or join in on one of our opt-in excursions. 

Crews will stay in a secure traveler’s hotel or hostel, in multi-bunkbed, mixed gender dorm rooms. Bathrooms and showers are usually communal.

The meals provided will be typical local style food that varies each day. Most locations can accommodate vegetarians, but the fare may be less varied.

Yes. Each person must purchase a travel insurance policy fur the duration of the Outreach that includes medical coverage. 

Ask your doctor or local travel clinic about recommendations for the location you are traveling to. 

Our Outreach Leader on location will make sure that you seek medical attention from a trusted hospital or doctor if needed. 

Films are Creative Commons licensed so that every stakeholder can screen and benefit from it. Actuality Abroad retains official copyright for production purposes and in order to maintain access for all stakeholders. 

Crews are asked to collaborate on a distribution strategy unique to the goals of their film. Actuality Abroad submits every completed film to a wide network of distribution platforms, film festivals and other outlets for exposure. 

Yes. We are happy to work with currently enrolled students individually to arrange for you to earn academic credit.