Hello: I am a professional historian who, having spent a great deal
of time as a "talking head" on the tube or on the radio doing
interviews about various contemporary international issues decided a
few years ago that I wanted to learn how to get behind the
camera/microphone and learn to make documentaries myself. I have thus
far produced a number of short mini-documentaries and am working on a
much larger piece. Since I am trying to learn as many aspects of
documentary film making as I can, from the creative to the very
technical, I am hoping this forum will be the right place to do that.
My name is Kathy and I currently reside in Beijing. My
experience so far in film has been writing and producing
fiction back home in Vancouver, Canada, but I've always been
fascinated with documentaries. Signed up to look for more
information about how to start making a documentary (where
to begin!), and to see if there's anyone in Beijing who
would like to start a project about the quickly disappearing
hutongs. Thanks and looking forward to being a part of this
Welcome Kat! Of the people who have introduced themselves, I can't
remember anyone being from Beijing. But someone has to do the first
So what are Hutongs again?
Hi, my name's Erin.
I'm assisting on someone else's project in an effort to learn more
about the process of production. I actually did quite a bit of
documentary work as a student, but it was very low-tech and shoe-
string funding. So now I'm hoping to be introduced to the world of
people who do this professionally.
Welcome to The D-Word, Erin!
Thanks for the warm welcome! Hutongs are old courtyard housing for
families (children, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents
would live in the same compound but in different quarters with an
open courtyard in the middle) and they've been around for centuries.
With the 2008 Olympics coming, they're being leveled fast and the
ones that are being preserved are becoming very touristy. Are there
books or on-line resources you recommend to give an overview or an
idea on where to start (do I start with footage and see what I get
from that or do I begin with a story in mind...)? I probably have
very basic questions. Thanks!
hi, all. i am a working filmmaker and the director of the 5th
annual channel islands indie film festival (sept 10-15 2002) in
ventura county, ca. we also curate a monthly series of
microcinema (shorts). we regularly screen docs addressing
progressive issues. we would love to see your film. cheers.
Welcome Phillip. I'm sure we'd all like more info on the festival,
if you have the time.
Thanks for starting this resource, Doug. And hi, all!
I'm currently prepping for "Yanomami: The Last Stand", which
will be following one of the last of the Orinoco Cowboys back into
the Amazon. What raised my interest is, he's going to help curb
a global epidemic the old-fashioned way. Should be fun, if not a
complete trial by fire for me.
With my previous background in children's television and music
videos, this project has really restored my passion for the real
world again. It'll be great sharing time with like minds, who also
want to bring their visions of the world to audiences that may
never get a chance otherwise.
Welcome to The D-Word, Scott!
Dragonfly Motion Pictures is a small (one-person) independent documentary production company located
in Toronto. Owned and operated by Rick Miller, I create low budget social issues documentaries. Dragonfly
also provides post production services to a variety of broadcast clients. Since graduating from York
University's film school in 1987I have acquired in excess of 100 editing credits on documentaries for
Canadian broadcasters TVO, CTV, CBC, History, Discovery, Bravo, and Vision.
Dragonfly Motion Pictures has three documentaries in production. "David, his bubby, and Goliath" profiles
a family of radical activist who follow the ancient Jewish tradition of Tikkun Olam: healing the world
through social action. "The Cost of Copper" documents the history of remote northern Quebec mining
village which is in the process of becoming a ghost town. "Beer: A Love Story" is an examination of
Canada"s love affair with beer.
I hope that The D Word will provide me with a forum to acquire advice on issues that arise from time to
time when I produce my documentaries. I often have questions about ethics and story development that
I've not been able to find answers to anywhere else on the web. I'll also have questions about the craft of
documentary making. I also hope that I'll be able to make a positive contribution to your forums by
sharing my experiences with fellow filmmakers.
June 21, 2002
I have been interested in documentaries since childhood. I
enjoyed "The Atomic Cafe" thoroughly as an example of popular culture
I am a native of the Detroit, MI, USA area. I am a writer by training
and have a college degree in journalism. What I need is education in
filmmaking. I am interested in meeting another person with a film
background who would like to collaborate with a writer.
I have an idea for a documentary that was spawned by recent historic
events, that I believe could be done with taste and care if it is
As a fan of popular culture, I am interested in how the events of 11
September 2001 had an impact on the "high" and "low" arts of the USA
and overseas. In other words, I would like to work on a documentary
about the popular culture of 9/11 that examines both professionally
produced items and "folk art" from ordinary citizens.
1. For example, the commemorative items, from high quality books and
memorial items, to the "kitsch" that remembers this dark date in US
2. I am also interested in how 9/11 had an impact -- though brief --
on popular entertainment. From erasing the Twin Towers from movies,
to star-studded benefit concerts, reactions in corporate America
3. Another aspect of 9/11 pop culture involves the Web, such as the
folklore ("Tourist Guy"; Nostradamus) and endless memorial sites and
4. Symbolism, iconography and jargon of 9/11. What person who lived
through this era does not know the meaning of "Ground Zero," "Let's
roll," towers with US flag behind them, or what a looped, red, white
and blue ribbon means? Major events often gain their own language and
symbolism, that when presented years later, will still evoke memories
of those who lived through or studied them.
The body of materials produced in reaction to 9/11 is a snapshot in
time, a reflection of recent American history. Even the tackiest
item -- a sequined purse sold in Australia showing a jet hitting a
tower -- tells us of emotions, opinions and reactions of the era.
Welcome Victoria, Rick & Scott. Good luck with all your projects.
What global epidemic is Yanomami fighting? I thirstily await "Beer: A
Love Story" while clutching my sequined, tragedy satchel...
How do I go about looking for a filmmaking partner to pursue this
documentary idea? I can write, such as scripting, but I need a person
with the technical know-how; i.e. camera operation, selection of film
or digital video, etc.
Start by contacting the film office in Detroit or Michigan. Ask about
all the professional organizations - network - find out who's doing
what. There are plenty of talented people out there - you just need to
find them. Another avenue is to look at the credits on shows that you
like and contact those people. Locally produced docs would be a place
Some advice - the most powerful docs are those with a central
character who undergoes change. We want to see people not ideas.
Figure out how to tell story with a person at the center.
My name is Bill, and I am a journalism student at the University of
Minnesota - Twin Cities. Most of my work has been in print, but I am
becoming more and more interested in documentary film. I have a
little experience in the classroom, but am always looking for outside
opportunities. I have talked with a number of professionals here in
the TCs, and was referred to this site. So, here I am, looking
forward to hanging out, catching the buzz, and asking questions...
I've been away for a few weeks and nice to see so many new folks
here! Welcome Phillip, Scott, Rick, Victoria, Bill. Keep asking
those questions (although the Mentoring topic is the best place to ask
them, at least after your initial introductory post).
I'm an Avid/Final Cut Pro editor and documentary filmmaker in
Los Angeles. I'm originally from Chicago and like docs about
just introducing myself. i'm sitting here in echo park california
listening to the cracking of neighborhood fireworks. it's a beautiful
night aside from the shooting that happened at LAX today.
i'm a filmmaker, performer and co-artisitic dir. of a theater company
here in LA. just a general artist who likes to make things. i am
working on a doc with a number of experienced doc people and i thought
i would get involved with this forum. we're curently making a doc
about a husband...his wife...their lover and their white bengal tiger.
love to have some tips on the various styles there are when writing/
presenting a treatment as a tool to get completion costs. if no one
has specific advice it would be much appreciated if someone could point
me in the right direction.
Welcome, Harris. I just got your registration email for The D-Word
Community. So please introduce yourself there, too.
Hello fellow docomakers!
My name is Axel Grigor and I'm the director of an Australian film
company currently shooting an exciting verite documentary that's
scheduled to air nationally in Australia early next year and
hopefully hit many foreign shores soon thereafter. I'm fairly new
to the long-running-time doco game, but I'm enjoying it
I have heard many good things about your forum and don't want
to stay out in the cold any longer. I hope to form many new
industry connections through this service and hopefully help
someone get closer to realising their own budding non-fiction
It's nice to be part of this group!
My name is Michael Kennally and I live in the UK. I did some
documentary work at university a few years ago now and have spent the
last four years using video and multimedia technology as an aid to
communication for people with severe learning disabilities.
I am interested in dabbling with the medium again and wanted to see
what goes on here.