The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

Mentoring Room

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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.

John Burgan
Host

That's a pretty big question, Carla. It would help if you could give a brief overview of your level of experience as well as the territories you are interested in - Europe, North America.....

John Burgan
Host

Indeed, let's include Asia and the Pacific region as well, they all have highly regarded film schools

Hsuan Yu Pan
Pro

Hi there, anyone took The Edit Center's 6-week course before? If so, how does it benefit you in editor's career after the course? I have to decide by tomorrow if I want to take it this month. Thank you. 

carla oppo
Fan

In reply to John Burgan's post on Tue 2 May 2017:

 You are right. I just made my first found footage documentary (I won a found footage festival). I need to learn a lot, I'm just at the beginning. I'm looking for a course, not too long because I have not enough money. I was thinking about three months. I wanted to do a found footage course but I cant' find it and I am looking for a classic documentary school. In New York I saw NYFA, I know it's not the best school but the prices are ok. The problem is that the course is only 6 week. I also thought about Cuba EICTV, but it's 8 weeks (too short) or 8 months (too long). Unfortunately I have not enough budget to do very long courses. I won a competition, they will pay for my training but there's a budget. Do you know any other school?

John Burgan
Host

Problem is, I don't think you'll find many courses between 8 weeks and 6 months. If your budget can cover it, why not sign up for two shorter courses in separate locations, for instance one in Cuba and one in Europe? There might be a degree of duplication, but the contrast might be inspiring. Met Film School in Berlin (where I sometimes work) has an eight week course, for instance.

carla oppo
Fan

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
Fan

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 http://www.centralfilmschool.com/one-month-documentary/

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
Host

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"

http://filmfestivalsecrets.com/ffs/2007/10/doug-blocks-ten-rules-of-personal-documentary-filmmaking

 

Kelsey Killeen
Pro

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!


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