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Video Storytelling

Leitchfield, Ky. | Grayson County | OCT 18 - 22

June 1registration opens

$850early bird registration | $950 after August 31

Sept. 30registration 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


What we do

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.

Three 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.


Apply Now

2022 Video Coaches

Tim McLaughlin – Senior Editor, Blue Chalk Media


Tim McLaughlin is a documentary and commercial editor, producer, and educator based in Portland, Maine. His documentary work has been recognized nationally by the Emmy Awards, Vimeo’s Staff Picks, World Press, the NAACP, the Webby Awards, Pictures of the Year International, and the National Press Photographers Association, amongst others. Currently a senior editor at Blue Chalk Media, Tim is the owner of Pale Blue Dot editorial services, and was formerly editor and producer at both MediaStorm and GoodFight Media. He has created films for clients like the National Geographic Channel, Magnolia Network, USA Today, the WSJ Magazine, CNN, the United Nations Foundation, Save the Children, Starbucks, MAG America, the International Center of Photography, and the Maine Office of Tourism. 

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Tim earned his Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Florida’s School of Art and Art History, as well as a Bachelors in History from Centre College. He lives in Portland with his wife Britt, daughter Matilda, and son Fox.

Carey Wagner – Independent


Carey Wagner is a documentary photographer, filmmaker and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. A communications expert across many mediums, ranging from documentary to commercial, her recent storytelling has focused on the arts in public education, narrowing the gender gap in tech, microfinance in rural communities and connecting with a growing refugee population worldwide.

 As a two-time International Reporting Project Fellow, she reported on gender-based violence in Papua New Guinea for The New York Times and on women balancing their Islamic faith with modernity in Indonesia for PRI’s The World. With the humanitarian organization CARE, she produced the award-winning campaign Letters of Hope that connected WWII refugees with Syrian refugees. Her cinematography on the feature documentary The Long Night brought attention to domestic minor sex trafficking and the film won first place prizes from NPPA, World Press Photo and POYi.

Before going independent in 2011, Carey spent ten years as a newspaper staff photojournalist. She traveled nationally as a Nikon School Instructor for two years and teaches documentary workshops at IF/Academy in Italy. Carey serves on the executive committee of National Press Photographers Association as Regional Chairs Representative and Regional Chair for NY/International. She has also been a mentor with both the NPPA Mentorship Program and Row New York. She holds a B.A. in Cognitive Science and minor in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of California, Berkeley.

Rob Gourley – Independent


Robert Gourley is an Emmy Award-winning director of photography, editor and producer based in Brooklyn, NY. He grew up in rural North Carolina and cultivated his style as a visual storyteller while attending UNC-Chapel Hill on the Morehead-Cain Scholarship. After working as a staff video journalist at the Los Angeles Times early in his career, he left the paper to work on freelance documentary and journalism projects for film and television. His work has most recently been featured on Hulu, HBO Max, PBS NewsHour, NOVA and Curiosity Stream.

Wesley BaconIndependent


Wesley Bacon believes documentary filmmaking must scratch the itch of human curiosity. It requires an approach rooted in comprehensive understanding, grounded purpose, and an openness to re-learn what we think we know. Wesley Bacon has spent over 10 years in the field, bouncing from documentary shorts to music videos to television series to national commercial work in an agency setting. Today, she works as a freelance editor and producer who picks the camera back up from time to time to keep her eyes sharp.


A sneak peak behind the Mountain


You are required to provide your own lodging and dinning arrangements during the Workshops.  Because of the remote location of the Mountain, there is limited housing options available, so we recommend that you reserve your room as soon as possible.

Our headquarters, Rough River Dam Resort State Park has a limited number of lodges available for workshop participants. To reserve a lodge room, contact the resort directly by calling (270) 257-2311 and indicate that you are a PARTICIPANT for the 2022 Mountain. You cannot book these rooms online; the resort has blocked off the entire resort for our use. (If you try to book online it will only indicate the resort is sold out, phone reservations only)

If you are into rustic camping, the Rough River Dam Resort State Park is offering tent-camping opportunities along their airport runway for $10 a night. You will be able to make use of the pilot’s lounge and shower facilities.

On Highway 79 near the State Park entrance is St. Clair Motor Lodge, a recently remodeled hotel.

In Leitchfield, about 18 miles from our headquarters, the Hatfield Inn has approximately 30 rooms. 

There are many AirBNB and VRBO options available. Search "Falls of Rough".

Once you have been accepted AND paid to attend the workshop of your choosing, you will be invited by your registration email to join a PRIVATE Facebook group for all the 2022 participants. It is in this social space that many of our workshop attendees coordinate hotel and optional transportation arrangements.

Extremely Important

This area of the state is a popular destination location. This time of year attracts a large amount of hunting and fishing enthusiasts and rooms can sellout quickly. It is important that you reserve your room as soon as possible (we suggest as early as July) to guarantee you have housing close to our headquarters. We do not offer refunds due to lack of nearby available housing.


The nearest airports are Louisville (SDF), a 74-mile drive or Nashville (BNA), a 127-mile drive. 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 the airports.

If you are in the Picture Editing workshop you may be able to share a car rental with others in that workshop to commute from nearby hotels, restaurants, and ground transportation from the airport to the headquarters and back. The participants in the picture editing do not travel for their assignments but will need to provide their own transportation for all other activities. If you are in Picture Editing and you book a room at the resort, you will not need transportation during the week, everything is within walking distance.

Keep in mind that the video and photo storytelling workshops will require working at various locations each day and it is mandatory to have your own car during the week.

Dining Options

The headquarter location at The Lodge at Rough River has a dining hall, Grayson Landing, and will be offering buffet style as well as menu options for all our participants at their published rates. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There are several other local locations for dining while attending the Mountain.

Lake House Restaurant

14033 Falls of Rough Road

Falls of Rough, Ky.

phone: 270-257-2020

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Open Thurs-Sun


Little Daves

9536 KY-259

McDaniels, Ky.

phone: 270-902-4400

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner



406 S. Highway 79

McDaniels, Ky.

phone:  270.257.3021

Hot Dog and Soda Shop


Tom & Al’s

8637 S. Highway 259

McDaniels, Ky.

phone:  270.257.3050


Headquarters location and tentative schedule

Rough River Dam Resort State Park

450 Ic-1003, Falls of Rough, KY 40119


Tuesday, October 18, 2022 (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 on your own and gear/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 19, 2022  (all times are CDT)

  • Morning In the field with subject
  • 9:00 AM Building opens
  • 11:30 AM 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
  • 7:00 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 20, 2022 (all times are CDT)

  • Morning In the field with subject, follow-up interview if necessary
  • 9:00 AM Building opens
  • Noon Mandatory assets drop and coach visit for review and advising
  • Afternoon Continue advising and field producing
  • 6:00 PM Dinner on own
  • 7:00 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 21, 2022 (all times are CDT)

  • Morning In the field with subject, last chance content gathering
  • 9:00 AM Building opens
  • 11:30 AM Lunch on your own
  • 12:00 PM 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
  • 6:00 PM Dinner on own
  • 7:00 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 22, 2022 (all times are CDT)

  • 8:00 AM Building opens. Audio sweetening and color grading
  • 12:00 PM 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

Apply Now

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 Gain

  • 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