DOCUMENTARY OUTREACH TO

GUATEMALA

$ 3800 USD

June 10th - July 9th 2023

DESTINATION

Join our Documentary Outreach to Guatemala and produce a documentary film about changemakers working around Lake Atitlan.

Lake Atitlan, Guatemala. San Juan la Laguna is a Tz’utujil Maya village on the shores of Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. 

Once a center of fishing and agriculture, old industries have waned in the last few decades. In their place artisan cooperatives have sprung up on every corner, catering to tourists and international exports. Most tourists stop for the afternoon and move on, leaving nights in San Juan to the locals and what few adventurous travelers have decided to stay on, to continue exploring the village.

The rising shoreline of Lake Atitlan continues to push into town, while algae feeding on farm runoff choke life in the very same waters – all while the traditional life of Maya here clashes with modern business, medicine, and industry that continually presses into San Juan as the village opens to the world.

EXPERIENCE

TELL ME MORE

The best way to learn about our Documentary Outreach to Guatemala is by signing up for the email series. Find out more about why we travel, how it works, and what to expect.

ITINERARY

Arrival to Guatemala City. You are met at the international airport or other port of entry by a private driver and driven to the small city of Antigua (about an hour away) to meet the rest of your crew. After settling in, you are invited to a welcoming dinner. 

  • Arrival 
  • Transport to Antigua
  • Welcome Dinner

In the morning, we depart for a group excursion to a Mayan Ruin and a Zipline Canopy Adventure. After lunch, we continue on to Lake Atitlan and arrive at our ‘home’ for the month: San Juan La Laguna. Once everyone is settled in, the crew will gather for an orientation.

  • Mayan Ruins Tour
  • Zipline Tour
  • Transport to Lake Atitlan
  • Hotel Check In
  • Orientation

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.

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

Crews 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.

  • Briefing: Research Methods
  • Briefing: Thinking Visually
  • Photo Storytelling Workshop
  • Changemaker Research

Crews 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. 

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

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

  • 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. 

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

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities. 

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities.

 

Crews 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.

  • 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 your Actuality 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. 

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

Supervised by your Actuality Producer, you record some promotional video on behalf of your changemaker to get used to the equipment and troubleshoot any issues. Afterwards crew gather to screen and discuss ‘dailies’ – the day’s footage. 

  • Promo Shoot
  • Footage Review

Crews 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. 

  • 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 your Actuality producer one-one-one to discuss ideas or problems.

  • Prep Meetings

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities.

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities.

Principal photography begins. You start to record all the necessary elements to build your documentary. Your Actuality producer takes turns accompanying crews throughout the day. In the evening, crews gather for a session of dailies and debriefing.

  • Documenting Sessions
  • Dailies Meeting

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

  • Documenting Sessions
  • Visual Assembly Editing 
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. Editors continue work on a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Documenting Sessions
  • Visual Assembly Editing 
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. Editors continue work on a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Documenting Sessions
  • Visual Assembly Editing 
  • Dailies Meeting

Production continues based on your schedule and needs of each project. Editors continue work on a visual assembly. Dailies are screened as a group in the evenings. 

  • Documenting Sessions
  • Visual Assembly Editing 
  • Dailies Meeting

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities.

 

A free day for personal exploration. No scheduled group activities.

Editors complete the visual assembly cut of the films. Directors review all interview transcripts and make selects. At the end of the day, crews gather for a screening of the visual assemblies.

  • Editing Session
  • Interview Selects
  • Visual Assembly Screening

Crews are briefed on the paper edit. If helpful, you complete a paper edit exercise. Editors continue editing the film at base camp, with support and guidance from the rest of their crew.

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

Crews screen at the latest cut of each film and provide group feedback. Editors continue editing work on the cuts at base camp, with support and guidance from the rest of the crew.

  • Rough Cut Screening
  • Editing Session

Crews screen at the latest cut of each film and provide group feedback. Editors continue work on the films at base camp, with support and guidance from the rest of the crew.

  • Fine Cut Screening
  • Editing Session

Crews screen at the final cut of each film and make final tweaks. In the evening, the films debut at a community screening and we celebrate together.

  • Films finish
  • Community Screening
  • Farewell party

In the morning, the crews meet for a debriefing session to discuss and reflect on their experience.  In the afternoon, crews are transported back to the city of Antigua for the night, for easy airport access. A farewell dinner is organized in the evening. 

  • Debrief
  • Transport to Antigua
  • Farewell dinner

Time to part ways. All crew are transported to the airport or other port of departure for travels home or onward.

  • Transport to Airport
  • Departure

COST

$ 3800 USD FOUR WEEKS ON LOCATION
  • 4 weeks documentary instruction and mentorship
  • production equipment
  • meeting and coworking facilities access
  • 2 nights semi-private lodging at local guesthouse in Antigua
  • 27 nights semi-private lodging at local guesthouse at Lake Atitlan
  • local transportation
  • translation services
  • airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • group excursion to Mayan ruins and zipline adventure
  • 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. Although each person takes on a primary role for the storytelling projects, all of the work is highly collaborative and you can depend on your crew to support each other.

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

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

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

The editor helps research and plan for shooting with the end in mind. They supervise post production, managing all the media and cutting the final film.

All crew members should bring a personal photo/video camera (smart phones are sufficient) for research and workshops, and a laptop that has the capacity to edit both photo and video. 

Actuality Abroad provides professional quality production equipment for the primary documentary films, including 4k video cameras and sound recording tools. Crew members are welcome to bring any additional gear they wish to use. 

Yes. Weekends will be free for you to relax, explore on your own, or sign up for an activity offered in the area.

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 Guatemala’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. 

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

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. 

TELL ME MORE

The best way to learn about our Documentary Outreach to Guatemala is by signing up for the email series. Find out more about why we travel, how it works, and what to expect.

TRIP APPLICATION

DOCUMENTARY OUTREACH TO

GUATEMALA

June 10th - July 9th 2023

NEXT STEPS...

Make sure to check your email for confirmation that we received your application. If you can’t find it, check your spam or junk folders and be sure to mark dispatch@actualityabroad.org as a safe sender from here on out. Follow the instructions in the email to move to the next stages of the application process.

Any issues?

Email us at dispatch@actualityabroad.org

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