2004 Advanced Platypus Workshop

June 27 - July 2, 2004

Brooks Institute of Photography

Ventura, CA

Sponsored by:

Learn from the Platypus

Last year, we held the first Advanced Platypus Workshop at our home at Brooks Institute in Ventura, Ca. It was an enormous success. For a full report visit: http://digitaljournalist.org/issue0308/abowers_plat.html

What's different between the Platypus and the advanced workshop? Put simply, one is about learning the language of television news. The other is about long-form story telling with an eye on what it takes to develop, sell, produce, cut a film for network/cable television, and try to make a living in the process.,and the tremendous technological advances just over the horizon.

The clock is ticking on the movement to High-definition, 24 fps, and wide-screen. In the not to distant future you will see affordable HD cameras on the market. Once this happens, it will be possible to go the next step and become a filmmaker.

This workshop will show you what's out there now, and what you can expect to see in the near future. We will concentrate on story telling and production. Experts in mainstream documentary making will teach you the steps necessary to plan and shoot a major feature, whether it is for the movies or the tube. You will be taught what the legal pitfalls are, and how to avoid them. We will cover syndication, distribution, and festivals.

This is not a hands-on workshop, but rather five days chock full of speakers who will pass on what they know in the classroom.

In the evenings, we will not only screen the work you have done since attending the Platypus, but also we will feature invited filmmakers who will show and discuss their projects. Last year, Academy Award Nominee Andrew Jarceki flew in from Rome to show "Capturing the Friedmans". You can expect to see this kind of documentary film making with new films at the workshop.

The Brooks Institute Campus

The classes will be held at the Brooks Ventura campus. Click here for a map of the location.

The workshop will be held at the new Ventura campus of Brooks Institute, 30 minutes south of Santa Barbara, 60 minutes north of Los Angeles. This is the new home of the Brooks motion picture department. It is a former sound stage used in the production of major Hollywood films. The new digital lab and classroom will have the latest equipment software to insure that students in the Platypus Workshop are working with the most current industry tools.

The cost of the workshop is $1200. Students currently enrolled at a University will be able to attend for $400, provided they provide a letter of recommendation from their professor.

This workshop is open to graduates of the Platypus Workshop. We will also take video journalists and producers from television, but all applicants must have shot at least one documentary project themselves.


Attendees must make their own housing arrangements. Visit this Yahoo web page to search for listings of Ventura hotels. Brooks has made arrangements with The Pierpont Inn. From their brochure:

The Pierpont Inn and Racquet Club has been providing the very finest service and comfort since 1910. Nestled by the sea, this full service resort and conference center offers a rich environment. Craftsman Period architecture, lush mature gardens, and priceless setting by the sea. The Pierpont Inn and Racquet Club, 550 Sanjon Rd., Ventura, Ca. 93001.
Click here for a Mapquest.com reference map.

Contact Information

Marshall Dennen
Brooks Institute of Photography
801 Alston Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
Fax 805-564-4618

Dirck Halstead - 512-402-0854


Due to the logistics of planning this workshop, we must have all applications by June 1, 2004.

Faculty for the 2004 Platypus Workshop

Dirck Halstead, Director

A veteran still photographer for UPI and Time magazine. In the early 90's he helped in the creation of Video News International, now NYT-TV (a New York Times Company). VNI played an important early role in moving photojournalists into television. Currently Dirck is a fellow in photojournalism at the Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin, and a lecturer in the new visual journalism.
Dirck can be reached at (512) 402-0854, or email: dhalstead@dvnetwork.net

Chuck Braverman, Lead Instructor

Chuck is an Academy Award nominated producer, whose company produces many documentaries for such clients as the Arts and Entertainment Network, Discovery, The History Channel and many others.

Since Chuck decided to get back into producing documentaries in 1999, he has been nominated three times by the Directors Guild of America and won best documentary for his "High School Boot Camp." He was also nominated for an Academy AwardŽ in 2001 for "Curtain Call." His most recent show is the two hour "Biography of OscarŽ" and the upcoming (April 25th) two hour "Debutantes" both for A&E. He has also recently produced for TLC, History Channel, Discovery, and is executive producing with former Platypus grad Bill Campbell on their second show for Animal Planet. He is President of Braverman Productions, Inc. in Santa Monica, California.

PF Bentley

PF Bentley is a long time photojournalist, with over 15 years at Time Magazine under his belt. He graduated from the VNI workshops, and almost immediately started to produce documentaries for ABC Nightline. He is the author of several books, including a book on the Clinton campaign. He has helped to devise new methods of compression and editing for the web. He is now a full-time member of the faculty of Brooks. http://www.pfpix.com, http://www.hulaboyproductions.com, email: pf@pfpix.com.