Dick Ross is a lecturer in the use of story in documentary and film production. He worked for 15 years in the BBC as a journalist and documentary producer.Dick was born in New Zealand. He then worked as an editor for BBC in London from 1965 to 1980 in the current affairs, Nine O’Clock News and documentary departments. Around the same time, he began teaching art and film studies. In 1980 he became a full time professor at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1989 he became a co-chairman, with Director Milos Forman, of Columbia University of New York, then head of Tisch School of Arts, New York University. Since 1992 he is a visiting professor and freelancer lecturer for many film schools worldwide.
He has taught the art of storytelling, along with screenwriting and script development at film academies in France, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, Israel, Norway, Finland Cuba and Mexico.
As a television journalist, he wrote and produced a number of documentaries, including an award-winning 90-minute documentary about the Vietnam War (Vietnam Diary). Two years later he wrote and produced another documentary investigating the real French Connection and the role of the Corsican ‘brothers’ in the trans-Atlantic heroin trade (The French Connection: Man at the Top). This production was instrumental in exposing corruption in government and big business in both France and Britain, and played a key part in the international drive to break the power of the Marseille ‘connection’.
Dick Ross also broadcasts and performs on stage as a storyteller, continuing the centuries-old tradition of his Celtic ancestry.
Here, Dick kindly shares some advice and “case studies” on a wide range of topics related to documentary production for radio, film and television.
Recorded at Dick’s house in Provence, Sept. 2008
Dick on producing a documentary about the Vietnam War for the BBC
Dick on filming a scene with Sir John Geilgud
“The 50 Word Saga”, A training technique for aspiring documentary / film producers
These next two clips feature Dick’s advice about starting at University.