Susan's talk was inspiring. It showed me new ways to be inventive and look outside the usual 'documentary' genre to make more exciting films.’

Rhonagh O'Donnell, Dir. BBC Arts,

Talks – Storytelling in the Edit

I give regular talks on Storytelling in the Documentary Edit. I speak at my own events, universities, film festivals and film and television organisations like WFTV. If you would like me to speak at an event you are holding, don’t hesitate to get in touch through my Contact page.

Storytelling in the Documentary Edit, Doc Nomads, Budapest, Hungary

February 2019

The Doc Nomads MA is a 2 year masters taught in Budapest, Lisbon and Brussels. I was invited to Budapest for a half day lecture to the international MA students on documentary storytelling in the edit. They were particularly interested to learn that their creative, observational documentaries can still use a tool box of story rules to help shape their films for maximum impact.

Storytelling in the Documentary Edit, Scottish Documentary Institute

January 2018

I was invited for a second time to run a one day course on story structure for Scottish filmmakers. I talked about the story elements required to create film stories with real drive and momentum.


Planning Your Feature Documentary, Edinburgh College of Art

November 2017

I was invited to give two lectures to MA film production students. I explored sourcing ideas, story structure and emotional journey for their feature documentaries.

Storytelling in the Documentary Edit, Scottish Documentary Institute

January 2017

I was invited to run a one day course on story structure for Scottish filmmakers. I talked about the story elements required to create film stories with real drive and momentum.

Grierson Trust Doclab, Sheffield Documentary Film Festival

June 2016

I presented ‘Hip Hop Hijabis’ to the young filmmakers selected for the 2016 Grierson Doclab. Why does a documentary film change so much from shoot to edit and what techniques can you use to shape it to best effect?

Storytelling in the Documentary Edit – Weekend course

March 2016

Commissioned by Creative Skillset, my weekend course brings techniques from narrative filmmaking to documentary. I reveal the story elements screenwriters use that can be adopted for non-fiction to shape your film’s structure and hone the emotional journey.

Women in the Media

London branch Scottish National Party, April 2016


I was invited to speak at the SNP and talked about how women fare in the British media today. I focussed on women as creatives, where we work, in what numbers and what we want next.

Women Make Movies

Bradford International Film Summit, March 2015


I researched and hosted a panel of women in games, documentary and fiction filmmaking interviewing them about their careers and screening their work.

Sound Ideas

Women in Film and Television, March 2015


I researched and hosted a panel of women from the Association of Motion Picture Sound: a sound recordist, a sound designer and a re-recording mixer. Creative use of sound enhances any film and I was keen to promote it.

Asian Story Structure

WFTV, August 2013


Is there such a thing as an alternative story structure? After 18 months living and working in Singapore, I would say there is. This talk explores what Asian storytelling might be and how Western filmmakers could use this approach to enhance their own filmmaking.

Don’t Mess Up Your Documentary Edit

WFTV, April 2013


I encourage filmmakers to start thinking about their edit from the start of their project. What elements does a great film story needs and how can you plan for this during your shoot?

Editing The Imposter

WFTV March 2013


Three acts and the thriller genre helped make ‘The Imposter’ a huge box office success. I interviewed the editor, Andrew Hulme, about how he used techniques from fiction film to draw the audience in.

Fixing it in Post

WFTV, October 2013


I interviewed Colin Vaines, Exec Producer of feature films like ‘Gangs of New York’, ‘Coriolanus’ and ‘My Week with Marilyn’. Screening clips, he showed how insightful changes during editing turned films around.

Finding Your Story

Cambridge University Watersprite Film Festival, March 2013.


In this talk at Cambridge University, I explained in simple steps how to find your story in your rushes, to give you the best possible outcome from your material.

Editing and Emotion

WFTV, February 2013


What techniques can be used at the edit stage to enhance the emotional journey of your documentary film?

Structure Basics

WFTV, November 2012


What can Three Act Structure do for your documentary film?

Can You Make a Comedy about the Taliban?

Frontline Club, May 2010


I interviewed George Gittoes about his documentary feature ‘The Miscreants of Taliwood’. A roller-coaster of comedy and horror, it depicts two competing film industries in Pakistan, Taliban be-heading videos and Pashtun musicals.