experts section. If you can answer, please do!! :)
I'm an aspiring studenty type wanting to make docs when i grow up.
Just wanted to ask if anyone has any opinions on the future of
documentary making in relation to new digital technology
(especially cinematography). pity the poor festival programmers
wading through all the crapola. still, any number of gems are getting
made that never would have otherwise: tarnation, dig!, etc.
greetings from Amsterdam, home of IDFA, one of the largest
documentary film festivals in the world held each year in November.
I'm joining because I love documentaries and to talk about them, to
answer any questions about IDFA, your opinions about IDFA and of
course to hear about interesting documentaries made in whereever you
live. Don't hesitate to ask anything. My personal favourites from the
2004 edition are Darwin's Nightmare by Hubert Sauper, Liberia: an
Uncivil War by Jonathan Stack and James Brabazon and last but not
least The 3 Rooms of Melancholia by Pirjo Honkasalo. If you have a
chance to see them, go! Greets
In 1976, age 19, I wrote a wish-list of what I wanted to do & explore
in life, memorized it and tucked it away.
In 2000, I stumbled upon that old list and noticed I had seen and
done a little over half of it.
Also realized I really didn't want to do the rest of that list
So I pondered and wrote a "wish-list" sequel for the rest of my life
on this stage. I carry it in my wallet, it contains 11 written goals.
The third one is, "Produce a TV Documentary Series".
Hmmm, well that may prove to be the most difficult one on the list,
but it's time to start that ball rolling.
"a few years" . . .Yea I realize, lol. I've prepared myself to allow
5 to 10 years before I see an internationally televised doc series.
But I've got 26 years of material gathering behind me, so I'm not
going to toss this goal aside, too much passion. I think that a
significant audience wants to hear what's in my head, as they're
already pondering these things privately. However very few (if any)
are doc'ing this stuff cross-culturally & religiously respectfull
enough to be marketable for national TV.
Like most up-start doc producing dreamers, I think I've got an edge.
We'll see. "I've got a dream", hope no one shoots me.
Very glad I found your work here Doug. Thank you.
I'm a new media gal gone old media - from Web production to radio and
now film. I've also been a freelance writer for about 15 years so
video production is like a revelation - a whole new way for me to
express the visuals! I'm in the middle of producing a 12-part series
for Wyoming Public Television about social issues faced by families in
the state (domestic violence, economic assistance, child support
For anyone wanting to break into producing, check your local public
television (PBS, not local access) station. They have smaller budgets
but in smaller markets are very open to newcomers.
The experience has been invaluable, and my husband and I have invested
in equipment and lined up a project in Alaska where I'll be moving in
June for a year. I have a few other personal projects I'd like to work
on as well - one in particular, about miscarriage - will be my labor
(so to speak) of love.
I'm excited to be hear, to learn and share. And I'm glad to reconnect
(virtually) with Doug!
world! and now hope you'll join the d-word community, where the pros
hang out: www.d-word.com/community/join
I am a partner in the law firm of Abdo Abdo Broady & Satorius and
practice entertainment law.
I have worked extensively with documentary filmmakers and
organizations including Independent Television Service and TPT. I
have provided legal counsel to many documentary filmmakers who have
won Academy Awards and nominations, Peabody Awards, Emmy Awards, and
numerous awards at the Sundance Film Festival.
I have served on the Board of Directors of the IFP MSP since July,
1987; president 2002-2004. I was instrumental in organizing the IFP
National and serve on that board.
I have also produced documentary films and have a MA in film
production from the University of Iowa. I am an active member of
the American Bar Association's Forum on the Entertainment and Sports
Industries and serve as the Associate Editor of the ENTERTAINMENT
AND SPORTS LAWYER. I just returned from the Sundance Film Festival
where I chaired a seminar on Independent Film Financing co-
sponsored by the American Bar Association and IFP.
You can find out more about me at our website at www.abdoabdo.com.
terrific feature doc, "the danny williams story" (which i happen to be
producing with esther). in no way did he solicit this but he has my
unqualified endorsement. welcome, dan!
missed running into you this year. Esther is wonderful and the
project is wonderful. I am glad to be working with you on it.
to do sundance this year. alas.
noticed you registered for the community. look forward to continuing
the conversation there.
stories of rockers. I am working on the story of the late great Laura
Nyro. If anyone here has film, photos or stories of her please contact
me. Mostly what I am struggling with is funding (of course!) I would
benefit emmensely discussing funding. How? Grants drive me nuts. But,
have to do I guess.
recent conference we did here on fundraising for docs:
LINK NOT IMPORTED-
I am trying to launch. Thanks so much.
helpful, as well. Particularly Jan Rofekamp's on selling in the
LINK NOT IMPORTED-
World Productions, is to use the power of media to raise awareness of
social issues. We're in LA. Right now, I'm making several
them are Her Meth Secret: The High Highs, the Low Lows (the powerful
way the methamphetimeine epidemic spreading across America impacts
women), Comparing Notes: Building an Arab & American Sisterhood
(women in both cultures share best practices to deal with their
challenges). Always looking for collaborators that want to have some
fun, make some money, and make positive change in the world. Contact
me for more info if you're interested!
you there, too ;-)
im a student in melbourne, australia. i'm on holidays at the moment,
waiting for the school year to start. got a dv camcorder for my
birthday just recently and thought i make a lil documentary on a local
workshop educating kids on the elements of hip hop music.
meanwhile, just doing some research on how to get things started and
happened to stumble across this forum... feel a lil 'ameaturish' tho,
but we all gotta start somewhere :)
erased your post because you double posted there.
the mentoring room (where it belongs) and i've answered you there.
please, folks, do NOT post the same thing in two different topics.
working with a nonprofit. We're using video for internal communication
and are starting a project to produce educational videos for
commercial distribution. The experience has gotten me really excited
about the possibilities of documentary videomaking, and that's why I
ended up here. I live near Durham, NC, the home of the Full Frame
Documentary Festival - will any of you be attending?
and at the festival. it's a great one.
I'm currently in the post production phase of my first feature, a documentary. I was looking for a good place to come for advice on finishing my film, it seems like this is the place. So you'll probably see me posting some questions in other areas.
I look forward to talking with you.
and decided to try and connect with other doc filmmakers. my web sites
are: writinghome.com, and beingMEdia.com. if anyone is willing to
share, i'm really interested in seeing sample funding proposals. also,
i'm interested in meeting people in the chicago area who are working
on documentary projects...
helfand's grant-winning proposal for "a healthy baby girl" is online.
hope it's helpful:
to it. gets immediately erased. so don't bother, folks.
a place where people share the same passion for documentarys. I'll see you often
around the site . here is my web page: http://www.inthecosmos.com
based in Mexico or Germany or elsewhere?
Im based in Germany since one year an a half in a little city called Bamberg, Bavaria.
for the moment i'm working as a free-lancer but I have to say that in this town is not
so easy to have something to do with video and specially with documentary.
Nevertheless I have the opportunity to work around Germany. My last documentary
was in Hamburg and now I'm in the post production ( long but satisfied work). I travel
to Mexico very often and I try to do it also around Europe. I have to say that my
interest for documentary began mainly because of traveling and because of a feeling
of engagement with our plantet ( and also because is a very funy and creative tool).It
is not easy to choose video as a tool but I find it really efficient when one knows how
to use it.....
professionals. this is our public forum, where there's far less give
and take with other doc makers. to join, go to:
this in the IDA and thought it would serve a tremedous help in
my current doc. I will be posting here and hope to find some
creative ideas...my brain is fried after a year of shooting and planning.
I posted my project on the mentor section, but wanted to say thank
you for having such a place to come and seek guidance and
inspiration. I admire those who "do it." You did it. Now I want
to join your ranks.
All my best,
I'm about to go into production on my thesis film for my MFA which will be my first feature
length documentary. I'll be shooting it throughout the Rocky Mountain West for the next
year or so. I've been making short independent documentaries for a number of years
(mostly from the perspective of my anthropology background) and have been supporting
myself as a freelance shooter, final cut pro editor, and dvd author. I have a very strong
connection (and commitment) to Verite style observational filmmaking. I guess it's my
I'll be poking around here a bit, asking questions and answering others when I feel
All the best,
My name is Octavio and I am a first year MFA doc. student at City
College in New York City. David Davidson and Andrea Weiss are my two
I am starting the pre-production phase of my graduate thesis. I have
many questions, production and structural, and will be seeking help.
So thanks for being here and I look forward to joining your community.
thesis. Shows you're getting into the film mindset.
I'm new to the forum, so I'm doing the intro thing...
I earned a BA in Photography (1990) and an MFA in Film (1993). My
thesis was a documentary. My intention was to make my way as a
documentary filmmaker, but things didn't turn out that way. I found it
impossible to secure funding for my own projects, so I started cutting
tv commercials to pay the bills. The problem was, I was working 80+
hrs/wk in commercials, so I didn't have any time for my docs.
Then I had this idea: why not take some other sort of job that's only
40 hrs/wk and pays better? Then I can make docs on evenings and
weekends (oh, and also spend time with the wife and kids!). So I
became a web developer. Well; that turned out to be 80+ hrs/wk too!
Ugh. But the pay was good, so I stuck with it for 8 years.
So to get to the point... I've been doing everything BUT make docs for
the last twelve years, and I've had enough! I quit my day job in
January, and I'm pursuing doc work full time. I put together an
entry-level Avid workstation, and I'm cutting a 30-min piece for a
nonprofit called Musicians for World Harmony. It's pro bono, but it
feels great! I'm so happy to be back.
I just hope I can figure out how to make some money (just a little
bit, please!), so that I don't have to go back to corporate yuck.
earn a few bucks that allows you the time to work on your docs is
always the big question. hope you have a goodly amount saved up ;-)
good luck and keep having fun!
York (about 4 hrs from NYC). I'm interested in relocating to a place
where I have access to more resources and potential collaborators. But
I have to balance that with my family's desire to live a rural
lifestyle (we raise dairy goats). It's a difficult balance.
Anyone interested in starting a documentary filmmaker's commune
somewhere in rural america? :-)
My name is Skip and in a month I'm finishing up my undergrad at the University of Texas
where my focus has primarily been documentary production. I've made a couple shorts
and shot a feature last summer about a group of bicyclist that rode from Texas to Alaska
in order to raise money for cancer research. Put that on hold during the school year, but
this summer and months to come afterwards I'll be in post. My primary interest is in
producing science and nature docs, but if any story (such as the bike one) moves me
enough, i am willing to work on it. I'm also a member of Filmmakers for Conservation.
Joined up because I am want to further/start my career in the Doc business. Thought this
looked like a great place to learn from others in the business and network. I'm looking for
opportunities to get more experience and hopefully paid. I'd love to keep just doing the
indpendent thing, but I don't think its the best route for me until I gain more experience
and can myself on feet.
Just introducing myself, my name is Laura McHugh and I a currently a
final year student at the University College Winchester. I am coming
to the end of my degree in Screen Production which specialises in
documentaries, to be honest I am joining this site primarily to gain
research for my dissertation so be nice, please!
good luck w. the dissertation.
school that I might as well see what there is to learn here on the
street. A strange way to get started in the film biz... working my
job and somebody says, "hey, what you're doing is pretty
interesting, I think it'd make a good movie." And so, four years
later, here I am; executive producer and producer of a film about an
endeavor that I play a role in. It makes for interesting paradoxes
if nothing else.
Anyway, the film is called Trout Grass. In it, we follow the
transition of bamboo from a living plant in Southern China to a
finished fly-rod on the rivers of Montana. I'm a guy who goes to
China to select bamboo poles for the fly rod building market.
Luckily, the end product of my endeavors go out to some really
amazing people who are very much in love with their
hobby/passion/sport and we've been able to make a pretty cool film
about "the pursuit of passion" and the intangible spiritual elements
that come into play when humans cast aside reason in favor of some
strange emotion that drives them to go stand in rivers, trying for
hours-on-end to trick an animal with a pea-sized brain, only to
touch the wild creature and let it go. We were lucky enough to have
a fairly well known writer, David James Duncan, sign on as a writer
and narrator (and a guy fishing in the film) and we also have
another writer of note, Thomas McGuane in the film.
So were done. And now? Holly smokes, you mean I've gotta go out
and try to sell this thing now? Crimony. Adding this chore to the
overflowing job list is a challenge all in itself but there is a
pool of information for me to learn and I'm diving on in. We've got
a "place-holder" web site up but hope to have the real one up within
a couple of weeks: www.troutgrass.com
Cheers and I'll be picking some brains very soon!
I'm from Jakarta, Indonesia
First of all excuse me if my English is not good*. I usually work
with NGO*s and International organization in making community
development video and also about environment issue
The video that I made usually to provoke people in some way so it can
be used in discussion for organization, ngo, government etc*.there*s
a leasson learn that they get from the video and hopefully they will
know what to do if they want to solve a problem
I don*t know if what I do is in documentary category, but I sure hope
to learn a lot from this forum.
feel free to join the d-word community for doc professionals:
magazine. Cool. I'm currently starting production on a one hour TV doc
on couples who have chosen to be "Childfree." I've been writing
screenplays for the last four years and doing research, sociological
surveys, and pre-interviews for this doc. I decided that no one was
going to throw development money at a first time filmmaker so I used
some savings to produce a rough sample tape and now I'm looking for
production partners and funding. Looking forward to chatting with
image chain for negative --> tape transfer ----> DVD that eliminates the need for
pulldown. My transfer house, Magno in NYC, has never seen it before, so it may a first. In
any case, it saves transfer costs, improves MPEG quality, and I'd be happy to share the
steps with anyone who's interested.
I'm also here because my current project deals with sexuality in a frank and explicit way.
I've spent the last few years engulfed in the world of pornography (some of you may dub
what I do pornography as well), which does not offer many opportunites to discus the art
or craft of filmmaking with colleagues. I'm hoping this forum will provide some relief from
a growning sense of isolation.
the d-word community (this is the public forum). now that you've
gotten onto utne, i can probably take care of the rest shortly. and
good luck with your project - always thought it could be a great
subject for a doc if done well.
Brian and I have no experience with film making, just a strong desire
to learn what it takes to make quality docs. I promise to try not to
ask too many stupid questions.
years ago I decided to stop theorizing about documentaries and start
making them. I've made four low-budget history documentaries sort of
in the Ken Burns style. In universities we are always worried about
adjudicating what is scholarly and what is not. So recently I talked
a Dean into giving me $1000 to submit my latest doc, "Lincoln and
Black Hawk," to film festivals. I stumbled in here while reading the
forums at Without a Box, where I've now submitted to about ten
The festival business gives me a headache. My guess is they are
looking for more cutting edge material than what I am doing, although
I really believe my work has its own "edge." Do any of you know
festivals where "History Channel" is not a dirty word? I did win
some awards at the Silver State Documentary Festival a few years
back, but they don't seem to be running any more.
If you're interested, "Lincoln and Black Hawk" examines Lincoln's
participation in the Black Hawk War, which was the final step in
Indian removal in Illinois. Black Hawk was an interesting Sauk
warrior who led a resistance movement that ended in a massacre of his
people in Wisconsin. Lincoln used his militia service as a spring
board towards his political career.
I've enjoyed reading around on your site so far and am looking
forward to participating in the future.
(Iowa City here).
I, too, do work that would not be considered "cutting edge" so I
know the frustration you face. Try CINE or Telly, which are not
festivals but contests that take all kinds of programs. As to
festivals, your best bet is a gathering that specializes in
historical work. Willing to bet one exists, but I'm not sure where
to find it.
2 years with The Documentary Guild in Allston, MA. I helped on
several shows for WGBH.
My film is about a Boston-area rock climber who took a very long
time to establish a new climbing route on Cannon Cliff in
Franconia Notch in New Hampshire.
Filming has wrapped and we are in post-production. I have tons of
questions and would love to have a community of folks to bounce
them off. I have no desire to re-invent the wheel.
My deadline is approaching rapidly - Aug. 5th for the Banff
Mountain Film Festival.
My name is Shazad and I am a university student studying both film
and sociocultural anthropology. I am thinking of getting an MA in
Visual Anthropology and feel that my interest in cinema leans towards
such a raw and culturally-aware style.
Currently I am taking a summer course but also working closely with a
friend of mine who has started his own business. He has developed an
amazing software that can electronically process audio/video into
text, which is a godsend for documentary filmmakers in need of
transcribing, organizing and editing hours of field tape.
Just to let people know, I would like to offer any of you filmmakers
out here a free 1-hour transcription to not only evaluate our speed
and efficiency, but also help you out with any current projects you
may be working on.
Please take a check out our website below and if you have any further
questions or comments feel free to reply via e-mail or call me at
soon. sounds v. promising for docmakers if the software is accurate.
Thank you and your welcome.
As a filmmaker myself, and based on my experiences with SimonSays
having worked with several documentary filmmakers, I can honestly say
that this service is a impressive. Not only do you get to skip the
tedious process of transcribing your field taste, but you get to
invest this energy into the more creative aspects of your craft.
The software can recognize multiple speakers and comprehend thick
accents. After the software electronically processes the audio or
video, the time-code stamped transcript is then reviewed by a our
staff to guarantee 100% accuracy.
What this allows is for us to offer the best turnaround, which is
usually up to 5 hours of audio in 24-hours. This also depends on the
format you're working in as well as how quickly you can get it to us.
For highest efficiency we have an FTP server that allows you to send
your samples instantly.
Anyway I shall look forward to hearing from you,
I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
I'm brand spanking new here -- but I've been a member of Cafe Utne for
years and years.
I'm working on my first documentary script, on "car culture", its
history, development, social and eco-enviro impact, and the little
known history of "resistance". I might in fact be mad. True.
Remember to wear it whenever you post.
I wish I had something to give to you. You want some New Mexican chili?
Reading Andy's post, I was just about to ask if he'd run into David
James Duncan there in the Missoula area (and then...), where I missed
meeting him by two minutes at a book store where he left just as I was
coming in to ask where in Western Montana DJD lived. You see, I had
just read on a dust jacket (River Teeth) that he had moved there from
Oregon. I asked the bookstore gal, and she said he just left the shop!
... Is that weird, or what? - - - Anyway "The River Why?" sunk itself
into my riverine soul back in the day, and it has barbed hooks, so
it's still there. David is a great and beautiful man!
public forum. In the D-Word community for professional docmakers,
the subject of shaping docs often comes up in "Works in Progress."
I'd say you're eligible to apply to that community, though the final
word goes to Doug Block, who will probably be along shortly.
idea to write as much of the script as you can before production,
but since reality throws us a lot of curves, there's a limit to what
can be written before rolling tape. Have you done any taping yet?
Seem like good places to hang out.
We better take this over to "The Mentoring Room." I'm surprised Doug
or Ben hasn't been in here to shoo us out after the pleasantries.
They're the local bouncers who enforce topic boundaries.
the Mentoring Room.
basic criterion for the d-word community. the public forum is open to
all, but it's not really geared for the usual utne back and forth.
usual utne back and forth."
What is it geared for? I don't see a lot of recent activity.
as have others, but we don't force people to join. Part of the lack
of posts, too, is that the "mentors" who answer are often
overwhelmed with their own tasks. Doug is editing his film to appear
on HBO. With that kind of pressure, it's a tribute to him that he
gets around here at all. Look at it this way: Due to the lack of
competing questions, you have everyone's attention -- even
if "everyone," for the moment, is me.