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Robert Goodman
Thu 19 Apr 2001Link
hey -it's all cool.

Kai Hagen
Sat 21 Apr 2001Link
Looking forward to that, Doug!

Morgan Evans
Mon 23 Apr 2001Link
Hi Folks,
My name's Morgan and and I'm very happy to have found the
D-Word group.
I've been in Alaska for 21 years and am working on nature and
historical documentary projects.

I got lucky and scored grant money from the EPA on the first try
for a 60-minute doco on a renowned river in Alaska covering a
time period from 12,000BC to the present. We're also in the
beginning stages of a TV doco about one particular aspect of the
Viet Nam war.

In the summer we conduct 5-7 day/night river expeditions on
extremely remote rivers around Alaska for photography and/or
fishing/wildlife. This helps feed the kids and pay the bills and
also puts us in a position to see and film a wide variety of wildlife
such as Grizzly Bears and other big game.

We've got 4 kids including a little 17-month adventurer named
Zach. Everyone's into the outdoors and I'm grateful we have this
common thread of enthusiam.

We hope to see some D-Word folks up in Alaska in the future.
Give us a call.

Cheers,
Morgan Evans

Ben Kempas
Tue 24 Apr 2001Link
Welcome, Morgan. You sound like you should join us in the other
conference ... I'm sure Doug will assist you?
I'm dreaming of a D-word face-to-face on some remote river ...

Stephen Colvin
Wed 25 Apr 2001Link
Welcome...What a great addition to this community you would be,
Morgan! Your project sounds fascinating as well as your expeditions.
Some years back, I took a 250 mile kayak trip the entire length of
the Teslin River in the Yukon (your neighbor to the east)and I must
do it again before too long. I also hope you can join the conference
and participate with all the terrific people in there.

Mark Spiegel
Thu 3 May 2001Link
Hey everyone, and thanks Doug for providing this opportunity for
connecting! My name is Mark and I am starting my first doc after
a few short film projects over the years. This experience has
been completely different though! To my mind more risk,
excitement and satisfaction than on any film project I've worked
on to date....!

My Project is called " A Small Church in Oakland"; about a 130
year old church whos congregation must come to grips with its
imminent dissolution, (25 aging members down from a high of
1000), or find some way to bring in fresh blood if it is to survive.

I am currently in the "credit card" production phase... and
furiously putting out grant proposals to cover (at least)
post-production. Yes, "Biting off more than you can chew" seems
to be the way to go with docs...Yet somehow, (I dont know why) I
have complete faith the money will come in to get his thing
made...happy to be here.. thanks!

Doug Block
Sat 5 May 2001Link
Mark, you'll want to post this again in the private conference. Go
to www.d-word.com and hit "members log-in" to get there. Scroll down
to the Introduce Yourself thread.

Morgan Evans
Tue 8 May 2001Link
Ben & Steven,
Thanks for the warm welcome. Look forward to chatting further.
Morgan

Linda Goin
Fri 18 May 2001Link
Hi folks - My name, obviously, is Linda. I just stumbled on this
conference while checking out a private conf. I attend here at Utne.
This is amazing. What talent here!

I'm a desktop publisher/graphic artist turned copywriter turned
writer/journalist with a few CO Press Association Awards under my
belt. My projects now are varied and some are getting rather deep.
One is about a woman in Zimbabwe teaching AIDS orphans (mostly young
girls) to grow mushrooms for sustenance and survival on on physical
and on a social level. Am in the process of gathering funding for
this project.

Morgan's post jogged my juices on a project my brother has been
embroiled with in Colorado - my brother is a hydrogeologist who is
currently drowning in a debate over a local dam project.

Both of these works could benefit from film. This is something I have
absolutely no skill with, although I'm a huge fan of the power of
documentaries. I'll be lurking and learning more about all of you, if
that's ok...and if you all don't mind me asking some questions along
the way, I would be most honored.

Robert Goodman
Sat 19 May 2001Link
Ask away. Always nice to see someone pop into the public conference.

Doug Block
Sun 20 May 2001Link
Yes, welcome and fire away, Linda.

Linda Goin
Sun 20 May 2001Link
I have a feeling I'll be repeating myself down the road, but I would
like to know how you all go about getting projects for your films -
are they your own ideas, or do most of you work with
writers/producers/agents?

The second question is how you get your funding? When you are tapped
for a project, do you have a fixed rate? Or are you flexible,
depending upon the project and your interest?

How's that for a beginning?

Robert Goodman
Sun 20 May 2001Link
Most documentary filmmakers get involved in a project because it's
something they care about enough to find the time and money to see it
through to completion. The idea may be self-generated, happenstance,
or from a third party who brings an idea to a filmmaker.

Some documentary films are commissioned by a network, corporation,
organization, or advocacy group. With rare exceptions, these are
actually public relations films. Documentary filmmakers take on these
assignments because they need to earn a living.

Funding for social issue documentaries comes from foundations or
individuals within that specific community circle.

Most documentary filmmakers have a sliding fee scale based on value
and pain. Their highest rates are reserved for commercial clients
who usually demand editorial control and copyright ownership. Most of
us work for free on our projects hoping to get paid after the film is
finished assuming it gets distribution. Less than 10% of the
documentaries made get any kind of distribution. Theatrical release is
likely less than half a percent. Television or on video is where most
high-quality docs end up. It's a complete crapshoot so most treat
doc filmmaking as a hobby and do other things to pay the bills.

It's my guess that there are less than 100 people in the United States
who earn their living solely from making documentaries.

Doug Block
Sun 20 May 2001Link
Robert makes a good distinction between independent doc filmmakers,
who usually produce their own ideas, and doc companies, which often
pitch a number of ideas to broadcasters, usually cable channels but
sometimes PBS or HBO, as well. Or get hired to make programming.

When he throws out an estimate like that, I think he's talking about
the indies. There are far more than that earning their living helping
produce doc series. Let's not even get into "reality" tv or
magazine-type shows.

As far as agents for documentaries, I wish. At least the William
Morris kind. But there are international sales agents (like Jan
Rofekamp of Films Transit) who (very occasionally) help filmmakers
with worthy projects find financing through foreign broadcasters like
Arte or the BBC.

Linda Goin
Mon 21 May 2001Link
"Most documentary filmmakers have a sliding fee scale based on value
and pain." _ hm. That's very similar to many of the arts I've been
exposed to. I tend to call the "public relations" as commercialism,
and I hate it. I have to keep reminding myself it's a necessary evil
to do other projects that are my loves.

I didn't realize - or think about - pitching to HBO or PBS. I've been
so steeped in the 'paper trail' that I've only looked at journalism
sources for money. You guys are really opening a new door for me
(when the student is ready...)

I'm wondering if the press leads I have would be willing to finance
documentary sides to the projects I have...

Part of all this is to learn the difference between all the names you
all are giving to the docs. I'm sure I understand the PR types, and
the indies. I'm not sure what you mean by "reality" tv or magazine-
type shows, Doug? Perhaps if you explain, I'm sure I'll know what
you're talking about.

Doug Block
Mon 21 May 2001Link
"Survivor" is reality tv. "Sixty Minutes" is news magazine.

Linda Goin
Mon 21 May 2001Link
Gotcha.

Robert Goodman
Mon 21 May 2001Link
Linda - Doug is correct about my reference to (indy) doc filmmakers
making a living solely from docs. E.g, the Maysles made a lot more
money selling their style for commercials then they ever did do docs.

Linda Goin
Mon 21 May 2001Link
My history includes a long one in marketing and advertising (a
necessity for publications, of course...). Making a statement
(oblique or head-on) - whether through film, print or art - can be
very hard to finance. That part I understand.

Unless, of course, the funding is made with the objective of having
an exclusive that is pretty hard-hitting. Even then, it's iffy.

Bindu Chander
Thu 7 Jun 2001Link
Hi People

Very interesting reading Linda's ques and the answers that followed.
I'm interested in making a documentary but am quite unfamiliar with
the process to completion. There are - like with everything in life
many ways to IT - any rough guides out there on docu making and the
steps involved?

look forward to learning and exchanging!

Doug Block
Thu 7 Jun 2001Link
Welcome, Bindu.

There are a couple of books I'd recommend on Michael Weise's website:
http://www.mwp.com/pages/books.html

The Art of Reality is worth checking out (the site has a sample
chapter you can read), and Weise's The Independent Filmmakers Guide to
Film & Video (or something like that) is a very valuable general film
book that applies to docs.

Lotsa luck!

Ron Franscell
Thu 21 Jun 2001Link
My name is Ron Franscell. I am a published novelist and newspaperman.
My second novel has been sold to film; my first has been optioned. I
worked on both scripts, and now I am striking off on my own with a
documentary project (as writer only) and an original feature script.

I look forward to invigorating discussions here! Thank you.

Doug Block
Thu 21 Jun 2001Link
Welcome to The D-Word, Ron. Care to share with folks here what the
doc project is about? Always curious what attracts media
professionals (ie. people who should know better) to try their hand
with a documentary ;-)

Ron Franscell
Thu 21 Jun 2001Link
Well, BECAUSE I am an alleged media professional (they're withholding
my union card until I learn to mainline black coffee)I was asked to
be part of a documentary about Butte, Montana. Yeah, yeah, my
reaction at the time was about the same as yours when your read that.
But it turns out this place is a metaphor for the American West, a
place where exploitation, diversity, bawdiness, violence, wealth,
culture, sex and the landscape intersected ... like a train wreck.

Doug kindly answered a beginner's questions, so now I know enough to
be dangerous. That's all.

Fortruanetly, I've published two successful novels and written a
couple screenplays, so I have a vague sense of story structure. I am
eager to see how it's done in this "new-to-me" medium. I look forward
to chatting with all of you.

Robert Goodman
Thu 21 Jun 2001Link
the same old same.

Tony Esposito
Mon 25 Jun 2001Link
Hello everyone, my name is Tony Esposito and I'm in the middle of a
midlife career change. Do to 2 back operations I had to end my career
as a master automobile tech. I have been taping weddings as a side
line and also produced some small corporate videos. When I had to
change careers, I decided to go to school and get into video
production full time. I'm currently working on a documentary on the
growth of Charlotte NC, and how it effects the quality of life. I'm
also editing some works that will be shown at The Museum of the New
South. I'm so glad I found this site and hope to learn from it and
interact with the members.

Tony Esposito

Ben Kempas
Mon 25 Jun 2001Link
Welcome Ron, are you aware of that excellent documentary film 'Butte,
Montana' by Thomas Schadt?

Doug Block
Mon 25 Jun 2001Link
Hey, Tony, welcome to The D-Word. Guess what, I do weddings, too.
Edit in-the-camera, feature-length docs of the wedding day. It's one
of the ways I stake my independence and make docs of my own choosing.
It actually got me out of shooting corporate videos -- it's more
satisfying and I make a lot more $$$$.

Tony Esposito
Wed 27 Jun 2001Link
Hi Doug, it is a very interesting way to make money and support my
other interests. I like the fact that each wedding is an event and
anything can happen. You have to be on your toes and ready for
something to happen that wasn't expected.
I have always thought that taping weddings was making a small
documentary of an event in ones life. The way the families of the
bride and groom interact is always interesting. Did they approve of
the wedding or was this wedding taking place because the bride was
expecting a little something. Great stuff to tape.
Take care,
Tony Esposito

John D. Williams
Mon 16 Jul 2001Link
John D. sneaking back in after an all too long absence. You don't
want to know/hear the LP version of what's been going on in my real
life, but the Readers' Digest version has me switching jobs and
moving from Texas to North Carolina.

After year away from the technical side of things, I'll be back
teaching production classes again. With any luck I'll get to teach a
16mm class in the near future, otherwise it's Mini DV and the Media
100. All of which means I will once again be checking into D-Word on
a regular basis.

It's good to be back.

Doug Block
Wed 18 Jul 2001Link
Good to have you back, John. It's been toooo long.

John D. Williams
Mon 23 Jul 2001Link
Yup. :-)

Alberto Hersckovits
Thu 26 Jul 2001Link
Well, let's see what happens if I start with saying 'hello' to
everybody...

Alberto Hersckovits
Thu 26 Jul 2001Link
I see. Everybody right now seems to be nobody...

Doug Block
Sat 28 Jul 2001Link
... he says, giving less than a minute for a reply. This ain't a
chat room, Alberto. But hello back at ya.

Robert Goodman
Sat 28 Jul 2001Link
Alberto this is more akin to a community bulletin board. You leave a
note and everyone wanders by when they have time. So check back in
when you have a moment and see what's up.

Jonathan Berman
Thu 2 Aug 2001Link
Hi y'all,finally checking into the D-word "BBS".
I make independent documentaries, "The Shvitz" about the
Russian baths and "My Friend Paul" about my childhood friend,
the bank robber. Recently I did a "work-for-hire", the show
Maternity Ward for the Learning Channel (now known as TLC).

Funding for my films comes from foundations and TV; "Paul" got
a good wallop from ITVS, who gave completion funding. Now
making a new film about the ideals and impact of the 1960's.

Cheers.
Jonathan Berman
jb@escape.com

Robert Goodman
Fri 3 Aug 2001Link
Sounds like a candidate for D-word pro.

Hallie Bourne
Thu 9 Aug 2001Link
Hello everyone. I am a newbie doc producer in the process of editing
my very first doc, a very short topic on sailing windmills (a type of
small one-design racing boat). I am doing this in preparation for
doing a longer project on gay and lesbian parents. I am located in
Columbus, Ohio, where there is a great community called the Columbus
Film Consortium (http://www.thecfc.org).

Bintu: I have learned a ton from reading the following three books:

Michael Rabiger's _Directing the Documentary_

Allan Rosenthal's _Writing, Directing, and Producing
Documentary Films and Videos_

Paul Kriwaczek's _Documentary for the Small Screen_.

Doug Block
Thu 9 Aug 2001Link
Nice to meecha, Newbie. Books are great but JUST DOING IT, like
you're doing with your short, is better. No substitute for
experience. Keep us posted on your progress.

Molly O'brien
Fri 10 Aug 2001Link
Hi Everyone. I'm a producer/director in post production on three
one-hour docs right now. Two for Oxygen Network, and one
independent.

The independent is about a sex worker/photogrpher who breaks
into the art world with black and white photos of her male client's
genitalia. The film also examines her relationships with a
long-time client, her live-in boyfriend, and friends. I'm close to
having a rough-cut and am looking for completion funds.

So...male frontal nudity.... Where does this doc belong? HBO?
Showtime? Or is it just a festival film? Will ITVS even consider it
for public TV? Will POV broadcast male frontal nudity? I called
PBS in Virgina but they are not repsonding.

Any and all thoughts are appreciated.
this site is a great idea. wish I had found it before.

malka

Doug Block
Sat 11 Aug 2001Link
Molly, I think you want to also post this in the private conference.

For those of you who are just visiting the public D-Word conference,
you might have noticed a bunch of new registrants to The D-Word
Community accidentally post their intros in the public conference. You
can generally tell by their level of experience. Nothing wrong with
that, just trying to explain if you're confused.

Shirley Brady
Wed 19 Sep 2001Link
Greetings, all! I am a television producer and journalist writing a
story for Cable World magazine (a weekly trade) on documentaries on
cable. Would love to hear your experiences pitching cable nets, and
to get a feeling for which networks are great to work with, which
ones aren't, is it getting easier to find a home for your docs with
the proliferation of digital channels ... ? Any and all thoughts
welcome! cheers, Shirley Brady (sbrady@mediacentral.com)

Doug Block
Thu 20 Sep 2001Link
Greetings back at ya, Shirley. This is to chock full of juicy
insider gossip and slander to make public ;-) I'll email you.

Shelley Mcintosh
Sat 22 Sep 2001Link
Hi, I am a recent university graduate in Russian and East European
Studies who would love to make a documentary film on current living
conditions in Russia and Russian culture. I recently returned from
living in St. Petersburg, Russia(and studying the language) for seven
and a half months so I have a lot of ideas. If you know anyone
involved currently in this type of project, planning one in the
future, or any other BBS's to point me to, I would greatly appreciate
the help. Thanks so much!
--Shelley S. McIntosh
ElenaSSM@yahoo.com

Robert Goodman
Sun 23 Sep 2001Link
Shelley - there are books available that could help you make your own
documentary. The tools to do so are very inexpensive.

Elliott Ruga
Fri 5 Oct 2001Link
A proposal I submitted to a state public TV network/PBS affiliate for
a 1 hr. doc was just green-lighted. I had asked for a broadcast
committment and the capability to solicit funding under their 501(c)
(3) status, which I have been provided, and in addition, they have
offerred fund-seeking, production, and promotional support. This will
be my first doc. I have worked in TV Network production & operations
for 17 years and for about 3 years I have been running my own small
production company. I am looking to D-word for some overall mentoring
and budget-writing support (they have asked for greater detail on the
budget I submitted). I look forward to hearing from, as we say in
NJ, "yous". Thanks!

Ben Kempas
Fri 5 Oct 2001Link
Hi Elliot, congratulations on that, and I'm sure this is your entry
key to our main community doors!

Nicole Betancourt
Tue 9 Oct 2001Link
Hi there. I am glad to finally be joining this comunity. I am the
Creative Director of MediaRights.org, a community Web site,
helps media makers, educators, nonprofits, and activists use
documentaries to encourage action and inspire dialogue on
contemporary social issues. We have a database of over 2,000
social issue documentaries and a database of the 700,000
nonprofit organizations in the USA . Filmmakers can list their
film for free and we will link to their distributor, Web site and
email. We are about to launch an Outreach Toolkit (with AIVF)
which helps documentary filmmakers design, fund and
implement outreach campaigns or grassroots distribution. One
of my goals at MediaRights.org is to make sure that we are
serving the documentary community as best we can so I am
always interested in hearing what resources people feel is
laking online.

Just a little background - I was an independent documentary
filmmaker and I made a personal documentary "Before You Go:
A Daughter's Diary" and I worked as porducer and camera on
"90 MILES" - just click on my username to get more info.

Ben Kempas
Wed 10 Oct 2001Link
Hi Nicole,

Welcome to the D-Word. Very impressive list of documentaries at
MediaRights.org, I'll add one or two soon.

This is actually the public conference, so make sure you join us in
LINK NOT IMPORTED and introduce yourself there.

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