Over the twelve years we have been conducting the Platypus Workshops around the world, we have noticed some interesting changes in the makeup of our classes. For the first five or six years, our attendees were almost entirely freelance or newspaper staff photographers. During that time, we trained more than eight Pulitzer Prize winners.

Then, we began to see our classes fill with educators and producers from many organizations such as NPR, for instance. We even started to see network shooters, of all people, show up. They wanted to learn storytelling, rather than simply doing their daily turns.

Now, in the last two years, we have suddenly seen a flood of military photojournalists take the classes. We were curious about that until one told us, "We can learn more about video and storytelling in one week of Platypus than we could in months of military classes."

At our most recent workshop at Texas State University in San Marcos, we had photojournalists attending from the U.S. Army and Air Force Combat Camera. And a team from Canada - the Canadian Forces Combat Camera.

Platypus Graduates, Texas State University 2012
Stand in front of statue of Lyndon Johnson as a student
Front Row L to R: Sgt. Norm McLean (Canadian Forces Combat Camera), Matt Siemion (U.S. Army Reserves), Chris Kowalczyk free lance, Zack Seaberg (U.S. Air Force Combat Camera), Necole Mullens (U.S. Air Force Combat Camera), Dirck Halstead, Beth Corwin,(Digital Video Instructors), Master Corporal Julia BĂ©lisle, (Canadian Forces Combat Camera) & Tom Wolsky (FCP Instructor) Back Row: Jonathan Snyder (U.S. Air Force Combat Camera), Yasser Zhang, Xinua News Agency, Beijing, China, Guillermo Canton, free lance, Buenos Aires, Argentina

In addition, we had a freelancer from Argentina, and a photojournalist from Xinhua News Agency in Beijing. Yasser Ning said, "The course taught me how to think different while shooting video." Many commented that the most important part was watching all the critiques. It is a great teaching tool that made them aware of their past mistakes.

Our instructor team includes Beth Corwin, a former ABC Network cameraperson, and Tom Wolsky, the author of the new book Final Cut ProX for iMovie and Final Cut Express (Focal press, 2012).

Our next workshop starts on October 14, at the Maine Media Workshops in Rockport, Maine. To avoid missing out - please register early. Contact: Kerry L. Curren at

For any questions, please email me at, or go to our Platypus page on

Hope to see you soon,
Dirck Halstead

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