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Steve Holmes
Working on a script for a doc? I guess I don't follow. It's a good
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?
James River Martin
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As I see it, Steve, the particular documentary I have in mind, to be
successful, requires a fair amount of pre-production research and
writing. I realize that a lot of research and development occurs
during production in documentary film work, and that a doc script has
to be very flexible. I'm also aware that very often the writer of a
script is also the director and/or producer; but this is not likely
to be the case in my project. I want to pass the script on to someone
who can get the job done right, and whom I trust to do it well.

I'm pretty knowledgeable about my subject, and I have a unique story
to tell. Sure, a lot is gonna happen between now and editing, but I
think this project requires special handling before production
begins. Also, it's gonna take somebody like me to show that and why
this story must be told, and why it is best to tell it in the
film/video media.
James River Martin
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Oh, by the way, a lot of my footage is almost certain to be stock
(historical) footage--as old as old gets at the beginning, going back
to the first days of the automobile. I'm doing history as much as
anything, though it will move us to the present, and a lot of the
story will be recent history.

Yes, I know stock footage is *expensive* a lot of the time.

And yet, I think I can get ahold of a lot of the video footage I
need for cheap to nothing. This is relatively recent video and film
footage which is pretty indispensable to my project, since it depicts
recent protests and demonstrations, which are now past events, --
which I'm sure were filmed by participants and intersted bystanders,
and sometimes the news media. Many of the people likely to have
documented these events on video/film are natural advocates and
allies of my project, so they are likely to be super happy that I
want to use their stuff -- and I expect some gifts of usage.

We're talking "Critical Mass" bike rides, road protests, "Reclaim The
Streets" events, and the recent story (google it) about the naked
bicycle rides-protests in London and in Spain. This kind of thing. It
actually is pretty zippy imagery!
James River Martin
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Over in the regular Utne site, there is this ...

Documentary film -- script writing

... which explains a lot of what I'm up to.
Steve Holmes
A noble project, James. Thanks for mentioning the other Utne sites.
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.
Doug Block
Oops, been busy boy. Welcome, James, and, yes, shoo shoo, see you in
the Mentoring Room.
James River Martin
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Thanks for the welcome, Doug. Hope your business is good and happy

At what moment does one become a professional documentary filmmaker,
and become eligible to the other forum reserved for pros? I only ask
because this place is a little slow, and talk would be beneficial.
Doug Block
James, working professionally in the field of documentary is our
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.
James River Martin
"the public forum is open to all, but it's not really geared for the
usual utne back and forth."

What is it geared for? I don't see a lot of recent activity.
Steve Holmes
It is what people make of it, James. I've spread the D-Word gospel
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.