Film Training Manitoba

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Essentials of Factual Entertainment Series

October 31, 2015 - November 1, 2015


(Part of the 2015 MANITOBA FILM EXPO Series)FTM_FULL_vert_2color

with Barri Cohen


 In Partnership with ON SCREEN MANITOBA

Saturday, Oct. 31st  &  Sunday, Nov. 1st, 2015  |  10am – 4 pmosm_logo-RGB-fullcolour

Red River College – Princess Street Campus, 160 Princess St.  |

Room W411




Since the late 1990s, the observational TV documentary series in North America has transformed and splintered off into a set of new genres that fully ascended into what is commonly known as Factual Entertainment (“FE”). It’s a catchall phrase for reality-based but highly formatted character and reward-driven programs.

This two-day workshop will review the 10 main sub-genres or clusters of the form, and will dive into story mechanics, beat sheet sample breakdowns, and explore what is current in the marketplace − with a particular eye to the kinds of “pitches” broadcasters are receiving.




  • Introduction to the genre in the contemporary marketplace and its history
  • Review of sub-genres from social experiments to job doc series and true crime
  • Funding structure and Production Company leaders in the genre
  • Foreign & domestic formats
  • CRTC rules & Canadian content
  • Sample deal structures and rights


  • Pitch Essentials: Sample pitches & sizzle reels
  • In-class exercise: Breaking down sample genres




  • In-depth Case Studies with beat sheets/scripts
  • Competitive Food Network reality
  • True Crime sub-genre


  • In-Class Exercise: Pitches and critique



About the Instructor

BARRI COHEN is an award-winning writer, director, producer and “show runner” of documentary one-offs and factual series across a range of formats and genre-topics – from personal journey and science & environment docs, to history, food, medical investigations, and true crime.

She has worked with key leaders in the industry across all major networks and leading production companies including EOne, Temple Street Productions, Alibi Entertainment, Insight Productions, Breakthrough Films, Frantic Films, RTR Media, Pier 21, Peace Point Entertainment Group, and Summerhill TV. Her work has screened on all major networks and cable outlets in North America and throughout Europe and Asia in secondary markets.

Cohen is a lecturer in the Graduate Programme at the Documentary Filmmaking Institute at Seneca at York University in Toronto, and is the past national Chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada.

She is currently co-producing a prime time documentary for CBC television’s new POV documentary film strand, to be launched in 2016.



Film Training Manitoba Course Registration Policy

  • Participants must be 18 years of age or older to register and attend the course.
  • Participants must register in advance of the course. No drop-ins.
  • Registration is on a first come, first served basis – unless otherwise specified. Enrollment may be limited.
  • Registration for all courses, including weekend workshops, must be done between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday (except holidays).
  • All registrations must be received and confirmed in-person or by telephone with an FTM staff member during office hours. We do not confirm or accept registrations via email.
  • Payment in full is required to secure a spot in an FTM course.

Course Registration

Registration can be done in one of two ways:

In Person – cash, cheque, VISA and MasterCard, and debit are accepted. (Please make cheques payable to Film Training Manitoba.) Our offices are located at 100 – 62 Albert Street, in Winnipeg’s Exchange District. We are open to the public Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.

By Phone – VISA and MasterCard only. Registrations are accepted via the main line at 204-989-9669. *We do not confirm or accept registrations via email.

Cancellation Policy

  • Participants must cancel up to 4 full business days prior to the course start date to receive an 80% refund.
  • No refund will be given to participants who cancel within 4 full business days before the course start date, or if they do not attend the course.
  • Film Training Manitoba reserves the right to cancel, or postpone, any course where a minimum registration level has not been met. Participants registered for a course that is canceled will receive a full refund.

Breaks and Refreshments

All course participants are responsible for their own lunch.


October 31, 2015
November 1, 2015


Film Training Manitoba


Red River College – Princess Street Campus, Room P318
160 Princess Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3B 1K9 Canada
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