The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

Mentoring Room

  • Public

This is a Public Topic geared towards first-time filmmakers. Professional members of The D-Word will come by and answer your questions about documentary filmmaking.

carla oppo

In reply to John Burgan's post on Sun 11 Jun 2017:

 Hi John, thanks for the answer. The problem is that the competition I won finances me only for one course. Right now I'm hesitant between a short course in Cuba and a short course in NYc.

Fania Balabanova

Hello D-word people! I need a piece of advise please.

I plan to make a documentary on the life of people with bipolar disorder in Russia (I'm bipolar myself). I've already found some people, mostly screenplay writers, that are willing to help me with this project.

As this will be my 1st documentary (I only have an experience of making a 10-min short), I'm thinking to take a one-month documentary course at Central film school

Do you think it's a good idea? Or shall I give it a try as is, without taking any course? I feel quite unconfident, to be honest.

John Burgan

I don't know anything about this specific course, Fania, so can't comment on it but there are other similar short courses in London at the London Film School and Met Film School you might consider as well.  

There's a limit what you can do in a month but it could be a valuable experience. It's likely to be fairly traditional in its approach, which is no bad thing; what you're planning, however, is rather more ambitious and not just a standard "documentary".

Are there any other films you know that resonate with you? Jonathan Caouette's Tarnation is worth looking at. You can also learn from Doug Block's work, also his checklist for "personal docs"


Kelsey Killeen

Hi everyone. I'm reaching out to see if anyone on here has their master's in social work, or if you know anyone with their MSW who has transferred their skills into documentary production. Social work and documentary film/storytelling seem to go hand in hand, and yet I'm struggling to find social workers in the creative field. I'm a clinical social worker on a mission to be involved in documentary film or audio production, so I'm looking for some guidance. Thank you!

Join this discussion now. You need to log in or register for free if you want to post.