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.

gabriella kessler

Hi everyone,

I'm French-American based between Paris and New York (mostly Paris for the last few years).

I'm going to Houston on the 24th of January for 2 weeks to do a research/trailer trip on a documentary about women who fall in love and marry prisoners who are either on death row or sentenced to life without parole. I am particularly interested in the dichotomy between these love stories and a judiciary system that is not built on rehabilitation or redemption, and does not encourage social reintegration. I am hoping that these love stories will allow for a greater reflection on forgiveness and reinsertion, in contrast to a prison system that is often times built on a vicious and violent cycle from which it is difficult to break.

An integral part of the film will be the weekly radio program called the Prison Show (recently profiled on NPR's All Things Considered), which, as its name indicates, is a radio show that discusses the Texas criminal justice system. It's a fascinating show, which has listeners who call in and leave messages for inmates, hosts and airs weddings by proxy, among general conversations about death row and prisons in Texas.

I'd love to meet any Houston doc filmmakers while I'm in town, or hear about anyone's experiences filming in prisons. Also, I'll probably need a PA for a couple of days work (paid), so if anyone has any advice on any of these fronts, I am open to all suggestions.

Many thanks!

Doug Block

Welcome, Gabriella. You can do an Advanced Search on the top of any page to find D-Word members from Houston. Good luck with the film, sounds like a really fascinating one.

Tehmina Ahmed

Hello, I'm a Producer/Director/Screenwriter based in Karachi, Pakistan.In my other life, I was a print journalist, but I now work full time in documentary film production.
Issues I've worked on include madressa education, the police system in Pakistan, workers and union issues, the environment.
All the best


Jacob Brady

Hi All,

I'm new here. I am currently making a documentary about a network of controversial adolescent drug abuse programs which I was a member of for five years. We've just released a pitch trailer to try to raise the funding for the project and launched an IndieGoGo campaign. I'm hoping to find some guidance here on how best to run the campaign and make the film as good as possible.



Doug Block

Welcome, Tehmina! Very glad that you found us, and hope you'll feel free to leap right into the discussions.

Welcome, as well, Jacob. You might want to check out this special discussion we held here on Crowdfunding with Jennifer Fox and Katherine Nolfi.

Jacob Brady

Thanks Doug. I read the entire thread yesterday and shared it with the rest of the team working on our film. I found it to be very insightful.

Ajay Brar

Ah I forgot to introduce myself and went straight ahead to the mentoring forum. Anyway,

Hi Everyone,
I'm a writer / director based in Melbourne, Australia. Straight out of film school (Australian Film Television and Radio School) where I majored in directing, I'm currently working on a documentary on the Maoist movement in India and the underlying issues of land, tribal rights, mining and development. There is a rough trailer online at:
I'm working on getting production support before filming the second part of it. Finally, James Longley's Iraq in Fragments is a strong inspiration and my all time fav documentary.


Yvonne Apollonio

Hello everyone,

My name is Yvonne Apollonio. I worked in the post production side of advertising for some years, but I stopped when I gave birth to my daughter two years ago. I am now returning to a documentary project that I had put on hold. I am very glad to be part of this community.

Mike O'Connell

I read Ajay's post and realized I've done the same thing, I went straight to the classified topics. I'm based in Pittsboro NC the d word was suggested to me by another filmmaker here in town. I've finished up a new film and am working on two others right now. Look forward to all the great information and support that is here.

Elliot Sokolov

Greetings, I'm Elliot Sokolov, a composer for film specializing in documentaries. My many credits include scores for the Oscar-nominated documentary "The Restless Conscience" and most recently "Kings Park: Stories From An American Mental Institution". (see the trailer at ) I love collaborating with documentary makers! Please check out my work at

David Herman

Welcome Elliot. Moving trailer, very moving score.

John Burgan

You're all very welcome at The D-Word, Yvonne, Mike and Elliot.

E. Ablorh-Odjidja

My name is E. Ablorh-Odjidja. I am based in the US but have been spending a lot of time (the past three years) in Ghana, Africa, shooting and producing documentaries. My current works are:
1. A New Face for Africa
2. The Asantehene
Both films are in dvd prints now, with trailers on YouTube.

Rhonda Moskowitz

In reply to gabriella kessler's post on Tue 17 Jan 2012 : Welcome to the D-Word, Gabriella. Your project sounds compelling. I've filmed inside 5 different prisons in NY and FL, so here's my two cents: All prison officials – kiss ass, kiss ass, kiss ass. In addition, be nice to guards who are jackasses. (You can win an Oscar for this!) Make sure you let the person who grants you access, (public affairs or warden), know it's not your intention to make the prison look bad, (even if it's a hellhole, which most prisons are). Keep this same person informed about what your project is about and how it's evolving. Filmmakers are a bureaucratic pain-in-the-ass for prison officials, and also a security risk. Also, you might want to do a kiss ass interview with the warden if he or she is willing.

Cassidy Dimon

Hello! My name is Cassidy and I am producing my first feature length documentary with a wonderful team of journalists and filmmakers. We have an extensive repertoire of journalism, multimedia and short films in the bag but we are venturing into new/scary/exciting territory here! On top of that, we are launching a Kickstarter for post funds shortly, I'm feeling a little frightened but also, very exciting, I hope to have more to post soon! Thanks for this wonderful forum! Website for the film is here: The trailer is rough (too one sided for our liking but we are still in production so its far from finished).

Kevin Spahr

Hi all,
I'm Kevin Spahr and I have completed my first doc and I'm working on completing my distribution deal.

The doc is called "Glen Rock Fae" and it is about the world's largest and longest running fairy festival – yes, fairies – colorful wings, pointy ears, etc.

Clay Zimmerman

Hi, my name is Clay Zimmerman. clayzimmerman(at)

I am a filmmaker and editor wanting to reach out to the documentary community in LA.

I edit non-fiction TV for the most part by day, having done many shows for network and cable,
and in 2004 I edited the award winning doc Gay Republicans. While I research my own projects,
I am on the lookout for a good doc to get involved in later in the year (I have a 2 month old at home right now).

Also wanted to share with the community here on D-word a short experimental doc I made recently:

Thanks and glad to have found the site!

Shayne Weyker

Hello all,

I live in the Baltimore/DC area of Maryland. I switched careers from academia to video back in 2006, a few years after I finished a dissertation on TV war reporting and public opinion formation (where I taught myself to edit video).

I thought news and documentary video was a cool way to show people how the world worked (or wasn't working). I remembered how great I thought those David Burke technology history shows and the movie "Roger and Me" was.

After a year of production classes (and the NPPA TV News Storyteling workshop) I wound up working instead in event video and, eventually, as a shooter/editor for business school marketing communications office for a few years doing a several mini-doc, promo, and testimonial type pieces, some with a former PBS producer.

I've been freelancing since June 2010 doing some shooting and editing, a little grip work, and a lot of (video and web) software training. I also was one of the volunteer editors who put together those daily packages on the SilverDocs 2011 youtube channel during the festival.

The most "doc" things I've done are that I put together a short piece on youtube called "Athar the Bike-Man" about a guy who manages his OCD and other issues by riding his bike all over town every day. I also recorded a friend's team through three days of a 50-mile fundraising walk for MS and taped several concerts by a band I like.

I am interested in working on professional doc or advocacy projects with a social/political and/or technological focus. Aside from my production and post skills I'm a good researcher in those areas.

I've long been thinking about starting a project that follows several badly injured war vets through months of physical therapy and would appreciate any tips on how to get the military to permit extended taping in physical therapy and interviews with patients.

I have a decent Sony EX1 kit (six hours of cards, good wireless lav, good tripod, large+small battery, .8x wide adapter, zoom controller, 24" LCD monitor with component in) and will let others shoot using my gear as long as I'm around. I have a very reasonable day rate for DC.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


weykervideo /at/ gmail /dot/ com

Doug Block

Welcome, Jonathan. You should also consider registering for Professional status here. It allows you to gain access to all 50 discussion topics.

Kathlyn Horan

Hello, all – Kathlyn Horan here. I'm a filmmaker and photographer living in Los Angeles. I've been working on a prison based documentary for the past three years called The IF Project. More info here, I have just finished my pitch reel and am on the hunt for finishing funds and a stellar editor. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Cary McQueen Morrow

Evidently I'm not alone in skipping the intro section and moving straight to posting!... But better late than never, right?

I run a nonprofit called Art With Impact that works to directly link the power of film with opportunities for people to get engaged in social issues they care about. We are a new organization (just now entering our second year) and are learning a lot as we go. I look forward to learning from the filmmakers on this list how we can best serve independent film makers, and get their work out to interested/engaged folks around the U.S.!

Mike Shen

Hi there,
My name's Mike Shen. I'm an Avid and Final Cut Pro editor based in Oakland, California. I've done tons of work for Current TV, in addition to shows for PBS, HBO, NY Times Television, and National Geographic. I'm looking forward to meeting other filmmakers and being part of this community. Thanks to all, especially Doug and co. for creating this site.

Maysam Akbarin

Hello everyone,

My name is Maysam Akbarin. I am a Software Engineer based in Alabama. I have done close to nothing in this field( actually nothing ! ) .

However, I have some ideas for a documentary. But before I do anything I want to start learning about how to make one first then see how things goes from there.



Doug Block

Greetings, Maysam. For starters, you might want to look at some of the archived discussions we've hosted here (they're listed at the bottom of our homepage). Even though some took place years ago, they're still quite relevant. And it's like having a mini-tutorial on documentary producing and practices.

Patrick Han

Hi Doug!

I joined because I was on a desperate search for your movie "Home Page". I watched it in class led by Professor Peggy Vail at Columbia University a couple years back (and you visited as well!) – I was completely awestruck. I had forgotten what the internet used to be like, (or did not realize, at the time, that the advent of the world wide web used to be populated with such strange and "new" things) in the 90s.
And now, I want to watch the movie again, somehow, but there doesn't seem to be any place selling, renting, or streaming the movie.
If you know where I could get a hold of a copy, please let me know!

Doug Block

Yeah, my apartment. On vhs. The good news is I'm hoping to do a digital release at some point this year.

But why worry about what the internet used to be like? You're on The D-Word, Patrick. This is where the internet is at right now!

Patrick Han

True, but sometimes you need to know the past to understand the present. Also, I just really enjoyed your movie, that's all! Hopefully it will be digitally released – let me know when it does. I'll be jumping on it.
In reply to Doug Block's post on Wed 22 Feb 2012 :

Doug Block

Sure thing. Better yet, if you send me an email as a reminder, I can put you on my mailing list and let you know when it's available. doug(at)d-word(dot)com

Lisa Magnas

Hello All, I am a doc film producer and made 3 films a few years ago, one that I had commercially picked up (it dealt with terrorism). While I had no professional (publicist) help, I managed to get into a few film festivals, but really found the "public eye" through the news/media, who wanted to use my footage...which I gave them freely of course. This said, I have joined some friends in post production of their film, which deals with the Middle East but a past snapshot in history...dealing with a peace treaty/Carter Admin. I have been working on getting us into film fests – NOT for the sake of winning prizes, but simply for getting "seen"...I know the "big mainstream" ones, a few which we have already been accepted to, but I was hoping to hear from ANY of you in this Forum about some other "more obscure" ones. Can anyone tell me about the Maine Int'l Film Fest and the Pittsburgh Independent Film Fest? Thanks!

Lisa Magnas

I should have included my email address for feedback from ANY of you. My personal one is: LMagnas(at)gmail(dot)com

I'm the person asking about the 2 films fests (Maine and Pittsburgh) – thanks again!

Joanna Colbert


I just completed my first doc called Casting By which is about the range of influence that casting has had on film history. I have a few questions about how to sequence our credits for the locked there a 'standard' as to the placement of Director, Producer etc cards or is it entirely up to us? Thanks!

Doug Block

Welcome to The D-Word, Joanna. I'm fascinated by casting so can't wait to see your doc! Please keep us posted on when and where we can see it.

As to your question, it's always up to you, but if you want to learn what's standard I'd simply watch a few other documentaries and see how they do it.

If the credits are at the beginning, it generally ends with Produced by and Directed by. If at the end, it begins with Directed by and then Produced by.

Justin Prymowicz

Hello everyone, I am an audio engineer that has worked on documentaries and other post audio projects. I just wanted to introduce myself and let you know if you needed any help of info about sound i would love to help!

- Justin

Constance Ryder

Hi, I've edited many many hour-long documentaries for French TV, and am currently working on my third one as a director (réalisatrice). The economic crunch is pretty disheartening right now. Would like to stay in touch with other professionals, share information, develop international potential for our films.
My current project is a portrait of an amazing artist who spent over 10 years doing the reproduction of the prehistoric Lascaux caves.

Anthony Rydzon

Hi everyone, my name is Anthony Rydzon but my friends call me Tony. I'm a documentary film producer, director, and writer living and working in Chicago IL. I'm looking forward to sharing ideas, making new 'Doc-Head' friends, learning from some of the best and brightest minds in the doc film community today, helping other filmmakers by passing along information to screenings or crowd-sourcing links, bouncing around new ideas with you guys in the discussion rooms, and whole lot more too.
Whew, I shouldn't have had that last cup of coffee!
Currently, I am working on my first feature length doc,"Finding Vivian Maier", a story about a "French-American" nanny who took over 100k photographs of people she encountered in the streets she walked in both NYC and Chicago- all the while keeping her passion and skill a secret till her death in 2007, when her archive of black and white negatives went to auction and was purchased by a young man living in Chicago's north side. You can learn more about the story at
Production is moving right along.
I also ran a successful Kickstarter campaign with my friend and director of the film and was selected to pitch at HocDoc's 2011 in Toronto, Canada.
Thanks everyone for giving me the opportunity to say hi and inviting me into your community. I promise to upload a profile pic soon and feel free to email me here or at mmadocfilms AT yahoo! Cheers!