Video Storytelling

Cynthiana, Ky. | Harrison County | Oct. 29 - Nov. 3

July 1registration opens

$850early bird registration | $950 after August 31

Sept. 28registration closes

Are your video productions stuck in a rut? After all your hard work and days of production, do your stories seem flat, lifeless and lack meaning? If you are comfortable with the technology but are looking for the workshop that will help you uncover, capture and edit a compelling narrative arc, then look no further.

With a coach-to-student ratio average of 1:4, the Mountain Workshops Video Storytelling Workshop can teach you how to bring the story back into storytelling. You will establish a close relationship with your subject, get up early and stay out late, stretch yourself creatively beyond your previous limits and ultimately have a career and life-changing experience.

Mountain is all about building relationships and using meaningful moments to tell a story. If you want to reach a new level in your documentary work, your coaches – some of the best visual professionals in the nation – will give you a motivating push in the right direction.

To complement your days and nights of shooting, editing and collaborative production, each evening there are inspiring presentations by the coaches from all forms of visual journalism. Any downtime you may find will be spent soaking up the knowledge of your passionate coaches and maybe catching a little sleep.

There’s this energy you experience here that you don’t get while working professionally or in school. There’s something different about the Mountain. It’s a total non-stop sprint to the end and you think you’re not going to make it, but you do.

Liz Baylen, The New York Times | Video Storytelling Coach


Each October, a group of visual journalists set up shop in a different community in Kentucky to document life and culture in a way that is rarely attempted. Raw and live, it’s all about the people and their stories, not the institutions. It’s called the Mountain Workshops, and dozens of students and professionals from around the country swoop in for a week every year to garner new skills and fresh inspiration.

It’s a crash course in visual journalism.

Participants can choose from one of five options for the week. Photojournalism, the original workshop at Mountain, has always been a big hit, but Video Storytelling is increasingly in demand. If you wish to increase your knowledge in other visual skills, the Mountain Workshops can deliver. Picture Editing pushes a traditional skill set of image selection and book design into the digital age, while Digital Storytelling takes us into a world of multiple forms of media and collaborative cooperation on a single topic.

A special workshop for K-12 educators is hosted by Dataseam, a Louisville-based nonprofit that provides resources for Kentucky educators. The K-12 Educators workshop is designed to help high school teachers looking to develop their students’ communication skills to tell their own stories.

Five workshops held in one location, in one week, with a constant flow of new ideas and one-on-one guidance by the top professionals in their fields, all add up to an intense five days of high-octane education in visual communication and storytelling.

A sneak peak behind the Mountain

2020 Headquarters location and tentative schedule


Tuesday, October 13 (all times are CDT)

  • 7:30 AM Registration opens
  • 8:00 AM Vendor’s tables open
  • 9:00 AM Welcome and production schedule, Session #1. Story Arc, video for video storytelling and the art of audio
  • 11:00 AM Lunch buffet opens (provided)  and gear checkout  and vendor visitation
  • 12:30 PM Opening ceremony for all participants, hat draw
  • 1:30 PM Session #2. Cutting the deal, how to search for story and pre-interview discussion
  • 6:00 PM Dinner on own
  • 6:30 PM Rendezvous with your coach
  • 7:30 PM MWS evening presentations
  • 9:30 PM Session #3. Interviewing, techniques and content
  • 11:00 AM Lab closes

Wednesday, October 14  (all times are CDT)

  • Morning In the field with subject
  • Noon Lunch on own. Assets drop and talk with coach for problem solving and brainstorming
  • 12:30 PM Session #4. Transcribing, storyboarding, radio cut, story pitch
  • 2:00 PM In the field with subject
  • 6:00 PM Dinner on own. Rendezvous with coaches or be shooting in the good light
  • 7:30 PM MWS evening presentations
  • 9:30 PM Session #5. The story pitch. what is the story, why should I care, explore conflict, tension and challenge
  • 11:00 PM Premiere or FCP documents are created and organizational structure to assets developed
  • Midnight Lab closes

Thursday, October 15 (all times are CDT)

  • Morning In the field with subject, follow-up interview if necessary
  • Noon Mandatory assets drop and coach visit for review and advising
  • Afternoon Continue advising and field producing
  • 6:30 PM Dinner on own
  • 7:30 PM MWS evening presentation
  • 9:30 PM Session #6. Radio cut presentation with one-on-one coach participation and feedback
  • 1:00 AM Lab closes

Friday, October 16 (all times are CDT)

  • Morning In the field with subject, last chance content gathering
  • Noon Content gathering deadline. You must be at the lab beginning your story production
  • 1:00 PM Present a 20 character or less headline and 150 character maximum nutgraf
  • 5:00 PM Submit a poster frame for title and web presentation
  • 6:30 PM Dinner on own
  • 7:30 PM MWS evening presentations
  • 10:00 PM Rough cut ready for one-on-one with coach and peer review, critique, discussion
  • 2:00 AM Lab closes

Saturday, October 17 (all times are CDT)

  • 8:00 AM Production time. Audio sweetening and color grading
  • Noon Ceremonial close of content and group photo
  • 3:30 PM Final project due, quality control check
  • 4:15 PM Session #7. Wrap up and what's next for your career
  • 5:00 PM On your own, dinner with coaches, peers for reflection
  • 6:00 PM MWS closing ceremonies and presentation viewing
  • 9:00 PM Vendor sponsored pizza party
  • Midnight Workshop closes


The nearest airports are Lexington (LEX),  Louisville (SDF), or Nashville (BNA). We have noticed drastically different rates depending on where you are coming from, so be sure to shop around for the best deals. You will need to have a vehicle for the workshop and there are car rental places at all of the airports.  If you are in the Picture Editing workshop you may be able to share a car rental with others in that workshop. Once you apply and are accepted to the Mountain, you will be invited to a private Facebook group where you can coordinate with others about the possibility of car and hotel room sharing. Keep in mind that the video, photo and digital storytelling workshops will require driving and it is best to have your own car during the week.


You are required to provide your own hotel and dinning arrangements.  Suggested housing options will be announced once we secure our community location.

What You Do

  • Draw a community member’s name from a hat and be encouraged to find “the real story”
  • Gather video during the five-day workshop, followed by daily intensive one-on-one critiques with your coach
  • Experience the pressure of a well-managed and guided production deadline of your project using Adobe products on a Macintosh platform that is provided for you
  • Capture beautiful moments by building a personal understanding of your story subject
  • Learn strategies to build trust with subjects
  • Develop your personal style
  • Use personal and public critiques to improve your videography and edit
  • Put humanity before videography
  • Construct a narrative arc of your story
  • Learn how to effectively use audio to convey emotion
  • Collaborate with visual journalists of different skill set

What You Create

  • A two-to-three-minute short-form video documentary that will be published in the Mountain Workshops website and displayed in the traveling gallery
  • Moments of learning that rapidly propel your skills forward
  • A network of friends, colleagues and connections that will remain a part of your life throughout your career

Who Should Come

  • Pre-professional or early professional visual storytellers looking to increase their knowledge in the art of storytelling
  • Any visual journalist or commercial videographer in need of inspiration or a week away to experience visual immersion to rejuvenate their passion
  • College students interested in documenting communities and the people who live in them