Alumni Documentarians

Nathan Bickell '13Nathan Bickell '13
Freelance producer, Synthesis Media Productions

Nathan Bickell ’13 became interested in the documentary studies major at Ithaca College after being involved with photography and film analysis classes in high school. “Looking at the classes in the documentary studies major at IC comprised everything that interested me, so I figured it was a perfect match,” he said.

Campus Involvement:

While at Ithaca, Bickell was involved with the college’s newspaper, The Ithacan, where he was a sports reporter, columnist, and multimedia writer. His work with the The Ithacan taught him how to conduct thorough interviews and how to work on a tight deadline. “Most importantly, my work on the multimedia section helped me prepare to work as a one-man crew, like I usually do now,” Bickell said.

Valuable Coursework:

Bickell took many production classes offered through the documentary studies major that prepared him to make meaningful documentaries. One of these classes was Non-Fiction Production with Professor John Scott. “In this class, I learned how to create a story out of hours of footage.  I also learned that in documentary, there is no script and you have to know what your film will be about before you start shooting and then you have to ‘write the script’ afterwards in the editing process,” Bickell mentioned.

He also took Documentary Workshop with Ben Crane, where he worked on a documentary short, Cornered, about a young boxer training for the title of the 2013 National Police Athletic League Championship. The short ended up winning Best Documentary at the 2013 East Coast Student Film Festival held at George Washington University. “My final project in Documentary Workshop was truly an arduous process, but in the end what we produced was truly as good as it could be.”

A Dose of Real-World Production:

After graduating IC in 2013, Bickell had the opportunity to work on First and 17, a weekly documentary series produced by The Washington Post, through his role as a freelance producer for Synthesis Media Productions.


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