Actuality Abroad

DOCUMENTARY OUTREACH TO

COSTA RICA

June 18th - July 16th 2022

DESTINATION

Join our Documentary Outreach to Costa Rica and share the stories of people who are working for environmental and cultural conservation.  

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 Bribri Indigenous Reserve. Puerto Viejo used to be a small fishing village cut off from the rest of Costa Rica by mountains and jungle. Once a proper road to San Jose was constructed a few decades ago, the town grew larger but still retained it’s laid back beachside vibe. The residents are now a mix of Indigenous Costa Ricans, Afro-Caribbean descendants and European immigrants. Visitors come for the nearby national parks, unique Caribbean culture and the famous Salsa Brava surfing waves. 

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.

EXPERIENCE

TELL ME MORE

The best way to learn about our Documentary Outreach to Costa Rica is by signing up for the email series. You can expect more information on why we travel, how it works, and when you can register.

ITINERARY

Arrival to San Jose, Costa Rica. You are met at Juan Santamaria International Airport and gathered at a local hotel. Once the whole outreach crew arrives, you are transported to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast. After settling into the beachy guesthouse, you are invited to a welcoming dinner. 

  • Arrival 
  • Transport to Puerto Viejo
  • Welcome Dinner

After breakfast an Outreach Orientation is held for all the crew. Afterwards, everyone embarks on a guided kayak adventure and learn about the region.

  • Breakfast
  • Outreach Orientation
  • Kayak Excursion

Crew are introduced to our base camp meeting place for the first day of briefings. You discuss Documentary Storytelling and Connective Communication. First meetings with changemakers are held in the afternoon, followed by a debriefing at base camp.

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Documentary Storytelling
  • Briefing: Connective Communication
  • Changemaker Intros
  • Debriefing

Crew are briefed on Research Methods and Thinking Visually.  You spend the day exploring the area, completing a photo storytelling exercise and having further meetings with your changemaker. Photos are be reviewed and discussed in the evening.

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Research Methods
  • Briefing: Thinking Visually
  • Photo Storytelling Exercise
  • Changemaker Research

Crew are briefed on Purpose and Nonfiction Casting.  Research visits with changemakers continue. In the evening, you can attend the screening of an acclaimed documentary film. 

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Purpose
  • Briefing: Nonfiction ‘Casting’
  • Changemaker Research
  • Documentary Film Screening

Crew are briefed on Dramatic Elements and Ethical Documentary. You work to define a purpose for your film. Research visits with changemakers continue.

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Dramatic Elements
  • Briefing: Ethical Documentary
  • Defining Your Purpose Exercise

You complete the research questions exercise and are briefed on writing the Story Summary. You work on your story summary throughout the day, alongside everyone else. In the afternoon, you can take part in an in-depth camera workshop to level up your skills in composition and exposure. 

  • Breakfast
  • Research Questions Exercise
  • Briefing: Story Summary
  • Story Summary Exercise
  • Workshop: Camera

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Crew who have opted in for the add-on Yorkin Weekend Excursion depart in the morning hours. 

  • Breakfast
  • Depart for Yorkin Excursion (opt-in)

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Crew who opted in for the add-on Yorkin Weekend Excursion will return to Puerto Viejo in the evening. 

  • Breakfast
  • Return from Yorkin Excursion (opt-in)

Crew are briefed on writing the Story Outline. You spend the  day writing out your story outline. In the afternoon, you can take part in an in-depth lighting workshop to show you how best to reveal real life settings. 

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Story Outline
  • Story Outline Exercise
  • Workshop: Lighting

Crew are briefed on Shooting Visually and Interviewing. You schedule a one-on-one to review your Story Outline with our producer. In the afternoon, you can take part in a workshop on location sound, to learn how to make your film audio as good as the visuals. 

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Shooting Visually
  • Briefing: Interviewing
  • Story Outline Review
  • Workshop: Location Sound

Supervised by our Documentary Producer, you record test footage and b-roll around Puerto Viejo to get used to the equipment and troubleshoot any issues. Afterwards crew gather to screen and discuss ‘dailies’ – the day’s footage. 

  • Breakfast
  • Test Shoot
  • Footage Review

Crew are briefed on shot list, schedule and interview questions. You spend the rest of the day creating these necessary production documents. In the evening, you can attend the screening of an acclaimed documentary film. 

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Working Documents
  • Shot List Exercise
  • Shooting Schedule Exercise
  • Interview Questions Exercise
  • Documentary Film Screening

You complete work on any outstanding prep, and finish any location scoutings. You meet with our producer one-one-one to discuss ideas or problems.

  • Breakfast
  • Prep Meetings

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who have opted in for the add-on Casa Calatéas Cahuita Weekend Excursion depart in the morning hours. 

  • Breakfast
  • Depart for Calatéas Cahuita Excursion (opt-in)

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. Travelers who opted in for the add-on Casa Calatéas Cahuita Weekend Excursion return in the evening hours. 

  • Breakfast
  • Return from Calatéas Cahuita Excursion (opt-in)

Principal photography begins. You start to record all the necessary elements to build your documentary. Shoots are staggered so crew can assist on each others shooting sessions.  Our producer takes turns accompanying filmmakers throughout the day. In the evening, crew gathers for a session of dailies and debriefing.

  • Breakfast
  • Documentary Shooting
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. When not shooting, or assisting other outreach crew, you can download and backup footage at base camp. When possible, you begin to organize your footage into a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Breakfast
  • Documentary Shooting
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. When not shooting, or assisting other outreach crew, you can download and backup footage at base camp. When possible, you begin to organize your footage into a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Breakfast
  • Documentary Shooting
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. When not shooting, or assisting other outreach crew, you can download and backup footage at base camp. When possible, you begin to organize your footage into a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Breakfast
  • Documentary Shooting
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. When not shooting, or assisting other outreach crew, you can download and backup footage at base camp. When possible, you begin to organize your footage into a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Breakfast
  • Documentary Shooting
  • Dailies Meeting

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 depart in the morning hours. 

  • Breakfast
  • Depart for Tortuguero Excursion  (opt-in)
 

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 return in the evening hours. 

  • Breakfast
  • Return from Tortuguero Excursion  (opt-in)
 

You begin or continue editing your film at base camp, with support and guidance from our producer. 

  • Breakfast
  • Editing Session

Crews are briefed on the paper edit. If helpful, you can complete a paper edit exercise. You continue editing your film at base camp, with support and guidance from our producer. 

  • Breakfast
  • Briefing: Paper Edit
  • Paper Edit Exercise
  • Editing Session

Crews screen at the latest cut of each film and provide group feedback. You continue editing your film at base camp, with support and guidance from our producer. 

  • Breakfast
  • Rough Cut Screening
  • Editing Session

Crews screen at the latest cut of each film and provide group feedback. You continue editing your film at base camp, with support and guidance from our producer. 

  • Breakfast
  • Fine Cut Screening
  • Editing Session

Crews view their work-in-progress films one last time and complete any critical discussion. You complete editing your film at base camp, with support and guidance from our producer. The Outreach closes with a community screening at a nearby venue with friends, changemakers, and other locals invited to debut the short documentary films. Celebrations ensue. 

  • Breakfast
  • Picture Lock Screening
  • Finalize Editing
  • Community Screening
  • Farewell Party

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

  • Breakfast
  • Transport to San Jose

COST

$ 3900 USD 28 DAY COURSE
  • 4 weeks documentary instruction and mentorship
  • meeting and coworking facilities access
  • 28 nights semi-private lodging at local guesthouse
  • daily breakfast
  • local transportation
  • translation services
  • airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • welcome dinner
  • group kayak excursion
  • community film screening and celebration
WE ARE A BAND OF STORYTELLERS
ARMED WITH CAMERAS
OUT TO REVEAL THE GOOD IN OUR WORLD

Frequently Asked Questions

Our past crew 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. Each filmmaker is empowered to work at their own speed and sophistication.

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. We highly recommend purchasing trip cancellation insurance along with the other required insurance. 

Each filmmaker needs to bring a video camera and a laptop computer. Smart phone video cameras are perfectly acceptable and encouraged due to extreme portability and beautiful image quality. Actuality Abroad will provide a variety of accessories, including sound recording equipment, to elevate the quality of your own equipment.

If you do not already own a video camera or laptop, we can connect you with very affordable rentals for the duration of the program. 

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 when needed. 

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. 

Yes. Each person must purchase a travel insurance policy fur the duration of the Outreach that includes medical coverage. We highly recommend that you also purchase trip cancellation and personal property protection as well. 

Each traveler will need to meet Costa Rica’s COVID testing and/or vaccination requirements for entry into the country.

Additionally, travelers will be required to follow any mandatory COVID-19 protocol that exist during their time in country. 

These rules and requirements will likely evolve between now and our departure date. We will update our travelers as we know more. 

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. 

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

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