Introduce Yourself: Sign In Here First

Introduce Yourself

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Welcome to The D-Word! Stop in and sign the guest book - let us know a little (or a lot) about yourself.

Please note that this is one of our Public Topics, so best to enter email addresses with (at) to prevent them being harvested. Spam will be deleted.

Robert Goodman
I'm a documentary writer/producer/director living in Philadelphia. I'm
currently in postproduction on a feature doc entitled, "Gifts in the
Mail," about the 100 year history of the American Picture Postcard. My
other credits include: America's Dream Highway, The Road Taken,
Philadelphia Green, From Seed to Flower, and Going Digital. I'm also a
contributing editor for The Independent Film & Video Monthly,
Videography, and Digital Cinema (a new magazine launching in October).
And one of the authors of "A Guide to Digital Television" and the
forthcoming "American Society of Cinematographer's Digital Video
Leif Utne
Welcome to the Café, Doug and Robert. Here's hoping the
D-Word community really takes off.

Also: here's Doug's website, unwrapped
Doug Block
Thanks, Leif. Welcome, Craig. I should add that Robert and I are
members of The D-Word Community. I'll let the folks there know to
identify themselves as members when they sign in here in the future.

Feel free to contact any D-Word Community member who comes in here by
clicking on the link next to their name, which will give you their
email address.
Ben Kempas
*** WARNING *** This is a D-Word Community member. *** I bite, but not
on a regular basis. ***

I'm Ben Kempas from Munich, 27 years young.

I'm somewhere between graduating film school and establishing as a
documentary director, earning a iving from all sorts of camera work
and editing, both of fiction and factual stuff.
Our company is which also gave me that im-pressive
So far, my documentaries have been in the political/social/cultural
I am kind of bound to Scotland ... three of my last four documentaries
dealt with Scottish issues, and we even have a branch there.
Mark Birnbaum
I produce, direct, shoot, and edit documentaries from my home base in
Dallas, Texas. I'm currently shooting an ITVS-funded film, "Larry v.
Lockney," about a small town in West Texas that has adopted the
toughest high school drug testing policy in the US. Also shooting
"¡Salsa Caliente!", about the art, lifestyle, and music of salseros,
who live to dance.

Small format digital cameras changed my life. And now, with the
advent of desktop video, like Final Cut Pro, I'm living the Socialist
Dream: the tools of production in the hands of the workers! I am a
truly independent producer.

Looking forward to continued discussions, here at the Utne Cafe.
John D. Williams
Hi, Mark! We're neighbors. I live in Cleburne, Texas about 57 miles
down the pike (U.S. 67).

Glad to see D-Word up and running. I was a member of the original
incarnation having seen Doug's film at the Hot Springs Documentary
Film Festival in October 1999. At the time I was teaching video and
film classes and managing the university's LPTV station. Since then,
however, I've returned to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. in
Rhetoric at UT-Arlington. I no longer teach the production classes
or run the TV station. When I learned D-Word was moving to a new
host, I decided it was best not to follow. Then Doug e-mailed me (as
a current member) that at Cafe Utne there would be a public space.

This part of D-Word will be perfect for me. Whoever thunk of it is a
prince [bet that's you, Doug :-) ]

Doug is responsible for getting me connected online with a lot of
wonderful folks. One year later my life is much different. Much
richer. I'm a trained conference host and run a conference for my
students and alumni. Thanks, Doug. [Ha-ha! made you blush!]

All for now, I guess.
Deleted User
Hi, My name is Greg Pierce from Portland,Or. I have only produced a
few short films at The Northwest Film Center in Portland Oregon, but
very good ones I must say. Although I am rather inexperienced in the
film industry, I have so many people here in Portland that are very
excited about my current project. The film is called "e" How much do
you really know? This film focuses on the "many truths" surrounding
ecstasy, a highly unkown and controversial drug. It hopes to show
both pros and cons, and focuses on the unexplored aspects of the past
and present. We are 10 months into the projects and have interviews
with Users, Dealers, Goverment Officials, Raves, Psychiatrist,
Doctors, Researchers, Harm-reduction activist, and many more.

I am currently a member of a group of independent filmmakers at AMP
Studios. We have a full editing suite, cameras, lighting equipment,
and a fabulous staff of creative talent. I am even using one of the
3D animation specialist there to create a virtual walkthrough of how
MDMA interacts with the brain and possible neurotoxicity when over
used. We are being very careful to follow what has been the latest
research, and my God it's been a very painful process. The science is
always changing. Everyone at AMP pays a membership fee per month and
we get access to tons of equipment and invaluable talent from
compassionate artist willing to spend a day or two on another members

As far as where this film will be shown, we have high hopes that HBO
or Showtime will pick it up here in the States. PBS would be a last
resort. I am up for other suggestions though. I feel HBO has the best
target audience and we can show the film in it's entirety. Another
edited down version which would be shown through the school systems
would be another goal of mine. I will also be touring with the film
to different documentary festivals around the country. Resfest may be
the first since we have shot most of this film on 3 chip digital

My next trip out from Portland would be to Wayne State University in
Detroit. There is a neurotoxicity study being done there. From there
I would come out to Montreal and get an interview with a couple of
authors of the latest book on E. If other funding becomes available I
would be looking into the UK ectasy scene. I would also be going over
to Holland and Switzerland as well for other purposes.

My main concern as of now is the lack of funding to finish this
project. I want to have complete control of the content of the film
and the way it's edited. My hope is that one of you who may have a
passion for this subject would help in guiding me to the right
source. I am also wanting some information on distribution matters. I
have no clue what a company like HBO would pay for a feature length
documentary. If you can help, please give me a reply.

Hope to hear from one of you soon.


Greg Pierce
Stephen Colvin
Greg, Hang in there baby! If you make a specific request, maybe one
of our editors and producers can help finish your project, mindful
that you want control of the final cut...Steve at
Jen Williams
Hello. I might be the only non-professional posting here so far. I
am here because I love to watch documentaries. I'm a writer, and I
appreciate the tremendous capacity for storytelling inherent in this
unique artform. These films have brought me into worlds and
experiences that in some cases I would never have had. They can
illuminate history beyond the power of a textbook, comment on current
events without the sensationalistic tenor of news media, show us the
humanity behind art, and the heroicism of simple existence.

I am a devotee of public television, mainly because of the
documentaries. I like the biggies--Ken Burns' work, American
Experience, Nova, Frontline, etc., but I also look forward to P.O.V,
which showcases some lesser-known talents. I'm always scanning the
video shelves at the rental places and at the library for things I
might have missed. If I ever get cable t.v., the access to more
documentaries would be a factor in my decision.

I'll probably lurk here more than anything, because there are other
places on Utne for people like me to talk, and i'm interested in
hearing about life behind the camera. I'm really happy to see this

Good luck with your projects, everyone! Maybe one of these evenings,
i'll have the opportunity to settle into the couch and let you take me
somewhere. You have my admiration.

Doug Block
Welcome, Jen. I remember you well from your postings on the
Documentary conference at Cafe Utne: posting:Film.63.223

I'm really glad you found us here and hope you'll come back often.
I'd love to hear more about yourself and your writing.

Greg, you have enough experience to qualify for The D-Word
Community. Drop me an email ( with REGISTER in the
subject header and a brief note reminding me that I invited you.
I'll send you registration instructions.
Andrew Noddin
Im Andrew Noddin and im in my 3rd year of a Television Broadcasting
Course in Belleville, Ontario. Originally when i started i was
interested in the News aspect of Television but that quickly changed
when i realized the lack of production and creativity that it SEAMS
to involve. During my 2nd year here i started directing short 8 and a
half minute documentaries that has aired on the community cable
station for our schools show called Quinteview, which focuses on
stories developed through the Quinte region of Ontario. I have
directed documentaries on Hemp and its environmental uses, on an old
theatre in Picton called the Regent Theatre, a profile on a community
based hockey team called the Picton Pirates and on a Senior Citizens
big band called the Quinte Living Center Band. Directing is not
exactly what i want to do because i don't believe i am vocal enough
to be a director but i try to get the directing experience because i
believe it gives me a better overall sense of how documentaries are
produced and it will help me put together stories as an editor. I
have chosen editing documentaries as my field of specialty during my
last year here at Loyalist college but i have also chosen to direct
one aswell for the experience.

The documentary i am directing (i should actually say co-directing
and co-producing with Brandon Ogden)is a 30 minute documentary on a
Festival in town called Festival of trees, which we are beginning to
shoot in two weeks from today. I believe this program is a very good
program and i am learning a lot and getting loads of experience from
the course itself. Teachers are great and very interactive with all
their students. The only concern with this school concerns the Dean
of the program for lack of organization, equipment and respect for
the NEW 3rd year Television Broadcasting course. Our course consists
of 12 students(6 specializing in Documentaries, 6 in news) This
semester we are obliged to do 5-30 minute documentaries, 6-10 minute
news features, 12-industrial videos for real clients, and all the
preproduction involved in 2 television pilots and 1-1h and 30min
movie, all to be done in 4 months by 12 students and as many
volunteers as us students can get. Personally its seems kind of steep
but i really wouldn't know how steep the workload really gets in the
workforce so im not really complaining about that. The thing i and
the rest of my class are petitioning about is the equipment problems
such as the fact that we only have 2 cameras dedicated to our class,
the fact that there is only ONE media van which is shared between 2nd
year TV, 3rd year TV, 2nd year Broadcast Journalists and the Print
Journalism class, lack of hard drive space on our 3 Avids(each has 36
gigs and is used both by us and 2nd year tv students), our cheap dv
decks having been jamming tapes and costing some students important
footage,and there is a whole list of other things that is on our

Anyways i have joined this community hoping that i could meet some
interesting doc filmakers and also as a source of advice when needed,
aswell as to learn what the real documentary filmaking community is
really like. "IN RETURN KNOWLEDGE" sorry that's a quote from one of
the tv pilots we are producing.But seriously i will try my best to
offer advice or ideas as much as possible.
Samuel Ebersole
Hi, I am Sam Ebersole, associate professor in the mass communications
department and center for new media at the University of Southern
Colorado. I teach documentary producation and have been invovlved in
producing/shooting/editing docs since the mid 80's. Currently my
documentary class is in production of two documentaries; one on
skydiving, and the other about our local mental health facility and the
changes in treatment in the past 4-5 decades.

We are shooting in DVCam and editing using non-linear editing. We are
quite fortunate to have high quality equipment to work with...after
many years of S-VHS and cuts-only editing!

My students are studying the documentary genre, watching a lot of
classics, writing papers on documentary directors, and producing half-
hour projects...while taking other classes and working. It's quite a
busy semester for them to say the least.

Anyone else out there who teaches the documentary production process?
I'm using Rabinger's book (have done so for 6-7 years) and love it.

Looking forward to the dialog-

Deleted User
Hi, my name is Larry. I started a video production company in Jan
2000 shooting mostly sporting events of the extreme variety as a way
to hone my video skills, make some $ and give me an excuse to
purchase video gear to do what I would really like which is wildlife,
environmental, and natural history documenatries.
I am based in NJ.
I have been learning more about tax laws, forms, contract law than I
have about video.
I am hoping to get to a point soon where I can devote more time to a
few projects I have in mind, but only time will tell.
Doug Block
Howdy, Larry. Tax laws, forms, contracts... sounds just like
documentary filmmaking to me ;-)

Good luck and hope to see you back here again. Let us know how
things are going.
Deleted User
I was kind of hoping to hear surprise!
I thought maybe I was doing something wrong!
I have to go now, I need to write a check to the state for Sales-use
Sandra Throness
Hi! I am a grad student in psychology whose masters' thesis will be
the traditional written document as well as my first small
documentary. Maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew but I have
always loved documentaries and this is a great way to ease into making

I attended a camera, lights and sound workshop a few weeks ago (using
a digital camera) as a start to learning what I need to know. I have
a year to complete it all.

Looking forward to getting to know everyone and hearing about your
Doug Block
Welcome, Sandrat! The only way to make your first doc is to bite off
more than you can chew.

What subject are you thinking of doing it on? Keep us posted.
John D. Williams
Finally got back here. So many new folks came through the door that
I'll just say "Welcome New Folks!"

As you explore this public face of the professional D-Word Community,
keep in mind that a lot of the folks you will meet here travel to
documentary film festivals around the country -- and if the
filmmakers don't travel, their films certainly do. Larger colleges
and universities often have documentary films screenings which are
open to the public. So those of you who are curious about
documentaries and the people who make them, this space will help
connect you to documentary filmmakers who just might show up at
a "theatre/screening near you."

I keep hoping Doug will make a trip to the Dallas/Fort Worth area so
I can thank him in person for (1) creating the D-Word Community (both
public and private) and (2) making "home page," a film which has had
a profound influence on my life and career.

There are plenty of good folks here. I hope all of you who have
walked in will stay a while.
Jen Williams
I, for one, would like to know when anyone or their film will be
coming to St. Paul/Minneapolis. We've got several little theaters
that show good stuff, and i'd like to get out to as many as possible.
Maybe in the announcements thread?

Sandra Throness
Thanks Doug. My documentary (sheesh - I am still getting used to
saying that!) will be about a jazz combo as it moves from early
conceptualisation of a piece to a performance intercut with interviews
with the individual musicians.

My thesis is on the psychology of creativity in collaboration.
Doug Block
Wow, sounds very interesting, Sandrat. Jazz is something I always
imagined as mostly improvised-- don't think of it as conceptualised.

Thanks for the kind words, John. We'll definitely keep you, Jen and
others notified about screenings in a theater near u. Funny, 4 D-
Word members were recently out at Hot Springs, Arkansas, showing
their works at the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival.
John D. Williams
Rats! I was going to go to Hot Springs again this year, but graduate
school kinda got in the way. :-(

Maybe next year!
Jerry Williams
Currently producing a bio doc about artist Jennie Brownscombe, 1850-
1936. This will be my first e-producer role. I've been involved in
docs with PBS affiliate and nonprofit history organizations for
several years,in most capacities except camera. I'm looking forward
to the support of more experienced people.

My interest in docs is in the joy of telling the story and the
experience of being in the midst of vibrant, creative people.