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Phillip Suda
Mon 1 Mar 2004Link
Hello all,
I am very new to documentary film. In an attempt to gain
knowledge and advice, I joined this site. Hopefully this isn't the
fanciful idea of a 22 year old. I really want to get started and
have no idea where. Anyway, hello and thank you for this wonderful
site.

Phil

Doug Block
Tue 2 Mar 2004Link
You're entirely welcome, Phillip. Buttering up your hosts is always
a good starting point ;-)

I recommend you start right in by reading some of the confererences
we've held and have archived here. Should take a while.

Matt O
Wed 3 Mar 2004Link
Hello Everyone,

I'm so excited to have found this community and know there will be tons to learn here. I'm about to embark on a documentary project after a long hiatus from filmmaking that dragged me through the muck of high-tech and landed me in the funeral business, which is the subject of my project.

I'm really looking forward to reading the posts and discussions here and would always greatly appreciate any information and suggestions anyone has.

Thanks in advance, Matt


Doug Block
Wed 3 Mar 2004Link
that's why we have the Mentoring topic here, matt. feel free to seek
specific info or advice there. and welcome.

Ed Hill
Thu 4 Mar 2004Link
Hi Doug & all,
I live in Atlanta, and previously spent 12 years in Florida working
in broadcast & corp TV ( mostly as a news videographer and editor)
Then switched to writing and editing corporate video, shooting
freelance, and made a half hour doc about 1930's and 1940's aviators
and their aircraft. Becoming frustrated with distribution and the
lack of money I left TV to become a web programmer from '93 to 2001.

Now I have just produced another corp sales video on DV and edited a
musician demo. I am developing a couple of non-fiction concepts that
I want to take to cable distribution. I am trying to learn
everything I can about the business side because that was always my
problem in the past. DV solves half the problem of creating your own
docs. But distribution is always the big question.

I'm here to learn or share whatever I can. It's good to have a way
to talk to other Documentary/Reality TV makers.

Ed Hill
Atlanta

Doug Block
Fri 5 Mar 2004Link
Welcome, Ed. Lots of great conferences here for you to learn about
distribution. Happy reading ;-)

Jessica Mathis
Sat 6 Mar 2004Link
hi everyone,
Just wanted to say hello and thanks for providing such a useful
site. I'm working on a film dealing with women that are abuse
survivors and outside of making a film about it, we are offering a
workshop for abuse survivors where they will be able to learn about
video medium as a way to express themselves and further their healing.
www.doggeddrama.com/Docudrama.htm

I am in Kentucky of the U.S.

Just thought I'd say hello.

Jessica

Doug Block
Sat 6 Mar 2004Link
Just thought I'd say welcome, Jessica. A very important project
you're doing. Happy if we can help out in some way.

Jessica Mathis
Sat 6 Mar 2004Link
Thanks for the warm welcome!

Well, I guess the biggest help is passing the site around....we're
also collecting donations of products and what not for our
fundraiser...

or post a message of encouragement on the message board for the
survivors who post there

Thanks for the offer!

Jessica

Doug Block
Sat 6 Mar 2004Link
you mean your website? (if so, what's the url?) i'm a little
confused.

Jessica Mathis
Sun 7 Mar 2004Link
www.doggeddrama.com/Docudrama.htm

the "D" in Docudrama must be capitalized

Jess

Kate Slovich
Tue 9 Mar 2004Link
Hello All,

My name is Kate Slovich. I'm a producer, mainly focusing on
anthropological documentaries. I'm currently producing a documentary
on inner city education. I'm hoping to pick up some tech and
equipment tips on this forum, specifically relating to audio.

The director has asked me to provide a suggested equipment list and
the tech side of the biz isn't my strong suite as a producer. I'd
love any suggestions that the group could give me so I can present a
great proposal.

We're working with a $10,000 equipment budget (not including DV cam)
and we'll be shooting in inner city schools, homes and neighborhoods
over the next two years. Thanks in advance for the help.

Doug Block
Tue 9 Mar 2004Link
welcome, kate. you'll need to join the community to get tech tips.
you certainly qualify: www.d-word.com/community/join

Deborah Brunswick
Sun 21 Mar 2004Link
Hi everyone......

Wow...what a great site!!! Im new to documentary film and have been searching for a way
to get into contact with others who have experience and passion for documentary
filmmaking.....i could use all the knowledge and advice I can get!!! Im a 21 yr old student
who is about to graduate in 2 months and move back home to NYC where i will enter the
"real world." Im quite overwhelmed and dont know where to start, so if anyone has any
advice...please dont hold back!!!!. i look forward to talking to many of you and changing
the world through revealing truth!!
much peace and love,
deborah

Samuel Michon
Mon 22 Mar 2004Link
Hi Everyone,

My name is Samuel Michon. I'm a production designer and
visual artist based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
I've been wanting to move into documentary filmmaking
for quite some time and have gone to all the major
festivals, like IDFA, for years. I've been doing
research for a pet project of mine since '98, on the
development of the Paddington neighborhood in London
(and how domestic travel by rail has influenced the
area, it was one of the first major hubs in the UK) -
not a lot of shooting has gone into it yet though,
nor do I see the production taking flight soon.

I am however in the middle of securing capital for a
documentary on the resistance that quite a few foreign
exchange students (mainly from teh US and Scandinavia)
are experiencing with the teachers and management of
several universities in The Netherlands. There's plenty
of action there, with lawsuits and whatnot, but above
all, a personal story of one Jewish-American exchange
student foreign to Dutch language, culture, and
legislation - who is now trying a David-and-Goliath case
against the education boards, exposing this dire
situation (which because of the fragility of the matter
I can't expand on at this stage). I have the privilege
to move in before the big media do, and document it.

The biggest challenges for me in this project, I have
found, are scripting it in advance - staying on top of
what all the different outcomes can be - and
(in a trial-run) shooting in a way so that it's not just
talking heads, but actually *showing* the story.
I'm creative though, I've come up with some solutions to
that - even though I bet they're unorthodox, because
I haven't directly jumped for the aid of more
experienced doccers (as yet).

Anyhow, I've been perusing these message boards for a
while now, and it's been a real help. There's so much to
making a documentary, and while I am lucky to have a
light and sound guy, it's challenging to do the combo of
writer-director-DP-producer all at the same time
(I don't even want to think about editing; I already
feel way too content to have found a decent soundtrack
by a well-known artist who stands behind the project -
living the illusion of thinking I'll have sufficient
perspective after wrapping that I can single-handedly
edit the piece and end up with something that people
will want to see, is unforgiveable, I know.)

Great forum, I will definitely keep coming around
looking for clues here.

(btw, for some reason I can't get auto-wrap to work
on Safari 1.2 - so my apologies for the bump-'n-erase
earlier - this is a manually wrapped post.)

Doug Block
Mon 22 Mar 2004Link
Welcome, Deborah and Samuel. Glad we can offer help and a
sympathetic ear. Feel free to ask questions in the Mentoring topic
any time.

Maureen Futtner
Wed 24 Mar 2004Link
Hi Doug, Ben, & all,

I've been working as an asst. editor for the past couple years in a
post facility, and have also made some short personal films which
have played at a few festivals.
Over the last several months I've embarked on a rather large &
long-term project (my first) - a documentary about this wonderfully
talented Cuban classical pianist/cabaret singer who is a transgender
person living in San Francisco. At the moment I'm fearing I've
bitten off more than I can chew, but look forward to perusing the
forums here to seek wisdom, inspiration, advice and ... sanity?
Thanks for hosting this!
Maureen

Doug Block
Wed 24 Mar 2004Link
You're welcome, Maureen. Sanity is our middle name ;-) Happy to
have you aboard.

Christian Hede Madsen
Thu 1 Apr 2004Link
Hi Ewerybody.

I am a 17year old filmmaker. I have several fictionfilms( and stille
are), but I have always had a passion for documentaries.
I am making my first real atempt at a doc. as I am writing this.
I believe in the "personal-documentary" and one of my favourite films
are FAMILY, a danish documentary about a young filmmaker trying to
find his roots.

That was it.

I hope I will learn alot in here.

Ben Kempas
Thu 1 Apr 2004Link
Welcome to The D-Word Forum, Maureen and Christian.

Don't listen to Doug, Maureen - sanity is out of stock here. :-)

What's the subject of the personal doc you have in mind, Christian?

Gary Mack
Thu 1 Apr 2004Link
Hello Everyone !

My name is Gary Mack,

I live in Washington state, USA.

Just finishing up a documentary about Therapeutic Riding for Special Needs
Children. This project was very interesting and educational.

The documentary was shot with a Canon XL1s and edited in Final Cut Pro.

I enjoy documentary work involving the outdoors and horses.

I'm in the planning stages of a doucumentary about the history and curent use
of an area located in southwest Washington called Indina Heaven.

Alway looking for documentary ideas and production techniques.

Looking forward to reading about your projects!

Gary

Doug Block
Thu 1 Apr 2004Link
wlecome, gary and christian. glad you found us.

Lora Covrett
Fri 16 Apr 2004Link
Hi. My name is Lora and I am also new to filmmaking. I've made
three fictional short films. I am currently working on my first
documentary about the paranormal and am looking for information and
guidance from any resources I can find on the net.
This site has been the best resource I have found so far.
I look forward to learning!

Lora

Doug Block
Fri 16 Apr 2004Link
hey, lora, welcome. glad you found us and good luck with your doc.

Kathy Elder
Fri 30 Apr 2004Link
Hi all,

First, an introduction. I am an independent producer working on my first
documentary (I've worked in corporate video for many years). It is about
fragile X syndrome, which is the leading known cause of inherited mental
disability and autism. There is a load of information about the doc on our web
site:
http://www.thinkmediaonline.com

My question is this: does anyone know where I can find legal info about the
circumstances under which I need releases from people who will appear in
our doc? I've been getting releases from primary participants (interviewees,
etc.), but what about people who are at a street festival, for example, or in a
grocery store, that end up on-camera? Do I have to get releases from them
too? Any thoughts or suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks,
Kathy

Doug Block
Fri 30 Apr 2004Link
DISCLAIMER: i'm not a lawyer, kathy, but...

i make sure to get releases from anyone who talks on camera in a
visible way. i don't worry about background people, unless the
situation being filmed might cause embarrassment.

but that's me. others might be more paranoid.

Kath Clarida
Mon 3 May 2004Link
Wow - I am blown away - to find such an incredible wealth of
experience and advice. Now I just have to figure out where to post
my questions to suck you brains - thank you for this forum! - I've
been lurking - reading and absorbing all the archives in preparation
for my fist real doc directing challenge. The biggest thing I have
noticed is that the questions that have been circling around my head
are questions that can be asked - that as a neophyte doc director - I
can ask anything and have it answered with respect - way to go D-
Word! You are an anomily.

So who am I? Worked in video and television for 20 years - most for
non-profit aboriginal orgs. and their counterparts - the last 14
years in the Canadian Arctic with the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation
and it's susiduaries in every concievable production capacity - now
have started a doc production company with a producer and we are
working to market this baby. I have focused on directing for the
last 5 years and it is where I was born to be - anyway - looking
forward to participating in many discussions - asking lots of
questions - thanks again for the forum - Kath

Doug Block
Mon 3 May 2004Link
welcome, kath. you certainly have the professional experience to
register for the d-word community, where you can really suck some
major d-brains: www.d-word.com/community/join.

dave panitz
Mon 10 May 2004Link
hi d-word,

i'm getting starting in documentary in new york this summer. i'm
here to learn about the art and trade of documentary filmmaking and
seek advice from the more-seasoned folks participating in the forums
here. looking forward to talking with all of you!

dave

Doug Block
Tue 11 May 2004Link
welcome, dave.

Gina Morsch
Sat 19 Jun 2004Link
Hello Everyone,

Just a note to say hello. I am embarking on my first documentary, and
am quite nervous, but believe in my subject. I look forward to
talking with and getting to know you all!

Doug Block
Sat 19 Jun 2004Link
Welcome to The D-Word, Gina. Care to tell us a bit more about your
doc?

Jeff Oswald
Wed 23 Jun 2004Link
Hello. My Name is Jeff Oswald. I'm a digital filmmaker from Austin TX. Broadcast sports production and other video production projects pay my rent. I have DVcam gear and editing equipment and I'm going to start a new, no-budget documentary project this week. I'm going to shoot protests outside movie theaters showing Michael Moore's Farenheit 911.

I thought it would be interesting to do this as a collaborative project with shooters across the country contributing from activities in their communities and pooling all the footage.

If you'd like to participate, please send me an e-mail to oswald@austin.rr.com.

This seems to dovetail nicely with the D-Word War and Peace project, so perhaps we can work it into that.

I'll be posting a call for participants in the appropriate thread here. I apologize for the spamming, but I just found this site and want to get this project started. I'll be more of a participant in the future.

Thanks,

Jeff Oswald


Doug Block
Wed 23 Jun 2004Link
Welcome, Jeff. Just curious whether your project supports the
protests or, as it were, is protesting the protests. I mean, if
someone is interested in participating it's always good to know what
the project is about.

Agnes Varnum
Tue 29 Jun 2004Link
Hi: My friend Erica Ginsberg is always saying good things about D-
Word and introducing me to people from here, so I figured it was
time I got on the stick. I'm the assistant director of the Center
for Social Media at American University, and work with a myriad of
festivals. I'm also working on two short films now (more on that
later, I suppose)! Do members read these newbie postings? All the
best, Agnes Varnum

Doug Block
Tue 29 Jun 2004Link
you're in the wrong area, agnes. this is the public forum. you'll
want to join the community: www.d-word.com/community/join.

Daneeta Loretta Saft
Wed 30 Jun 2004Link
Hi. My name is Daneeta Loretta Saft. I'm an independent filmmaker
based out of London but originally from the States (New Orleans).
I've just completed principal photography on a feature-length
documentary entitled Tokyo Cowboys (www.tokyocowboys.com). The film
follows a group of long-term residents for 18 months as they
negotiate themselves around the post modern urban frontier that is
Tokyo. I'm looking for completion funding so that I can edit the 450
hours of footage that I've managed to rack up. I plan to start
editing in August and finish at the end of this year. I graduated
from the London Film School after spending 7 years in Tokyo working
as a writer.

Doug Block
Thu 1 Jul 2004Link
welcome, daneeta. you might want to check out the "selling in the
international marketplace" forum here {LINK NOT IMPORTED} - as well as jan and
diana's 45-pg. report (see the banner link). the info is still very
current.

Karim Missouri
Thu 8 Jul 2004Link
Hi folks,
I would like to thank the D-WORD for this interesting forum, and
also thank all the contributors. I am not a documentary filmmaker
but would like to seek some advice on how to create a documentary.
do I need any licenses? as for the equipments I know I 'll need some.
I am Moroccan residing in the US. I used to work in the social work
field, responsible for social activities such as violence against
women, child abuse, Rape, Divorce, Prostitution, traditions, etc. We
conducted various researches, the only thing back there we didn't
have the equipment and techniques to create a professional
documentary films. Actually I have a limitted badget,tons of
experiences and ideas, optimism,guts, Languages ( speak
Moroccan/Egyptian/Middle Eastern Arabic, Tamazight, French, English
and some spanish. my aim is not only dealing with social issues but
cultural, political and religious ones. I welcome anybody who shares
the same ideas and ambitions.
sp please what would you recommand of creating a documentary film
for a novice person? Any information would be so appreciated.

Doug Block
Thu 8 Jul 2004Link
Welcome, Karim. Have you tried taking a basic documentary production
course? That would seem the obvious first step. Good luck.

Karim Missouri
Thu 8 Jul 2004Link
Thanks dbblock, I haven't really tried to take any basic documentary
production courses, simply because I don't know where to get them.
btw do you recommend any book or web site etc? thanks in advance.
as for conducting researches/surveys, writing reports, interviewing
people, dealing with the goverment administrations etc I do have
some experiences and knowledge.
good luck to you too dbblock.

Erica Ginsberg
Thu 8 Jul 2004Link
Karim, knowing where you are based in the U.S. would be helpful in
recommending a production course. I would recommend that before a
book or website because you will probably benefit by having access to
the equipment and others who are doing the same thing you are. Very
often you can find cheap, basic production courses at your local
public access television station or community college. This might be
a good place to start. Here are some links to some public access
stations in the U.S.:

http://www.sfctc.org/usaccess.htm
http://www.openchannel.se/cat/linksus.htm
http://www.world.std.com/~rghm/alpha.htm

Karim Missouri
Fri 9 Jul 2004Link
Hi Erica, thanks for your interesting input. the links are so
helpful. I live in Fayetteville, Arkansas and that community access
television building is not that far from where I live. I am going to
go ahead and contact them. I eally do appreciate your help Erica and
everybody who contributes in this forum.
have a great evening.

Cameron Page
Wed 14 Jul 2004Link
Hi there, just thought I would introduce myself. I'm a medical
student about to embark on a documentary about the 43 million
uninsured people in this country. Yes, I've heard that Michael Moore
is making his next film about the U.S. healthcare system, and I
figure him drawing attention to the issue can only help.

Anyway, I have a very basic camera (Sony PDx10) and an Azden wireless
mic, and a bunch of friends willing to help out. I'm looking for
tips on common beginner mistakes, and any suggestions that you
grizzled veterans would be kind enough to throw my way. Thanks!

Cameron

Karim Missouri
Thu 15 Jul 2004Link
Hello Cameron,
If your question in the forum was addressed to me. I am so sorry to
tell you that I am a novice too and don't know much technically
about film documentaries, I've just start taking classes about the
production etc. but I do have some experiences in documentation and
conducting researches and surveys. so my advice to you is to put
everything on the paper first.
- Write a script about your subject
-divide your script to different scenes
- Make some researches on your subject (if somebody has already done
etc)
-Human resources (make sure to get some commitments from people who
will help you not only verbally but also written in return to give
them credits or something like that.
- Financial resources (who is your sponsor, funding etc have you
gotten any written
Assurance etc.
-Technical resources (is your equipment audio-visual are operating
properly and professionally? are you or do you have any reliable
people who knows well about directing, lighting, sound etc?
also you might need some authorizations, I don't know about the US
but in Morocco you will need the authorization of Moroccan
cinematographic center to start filming then you need the music
clearance authorization from the copyright center, if you are going
to use somebody’s music in your documentary.
Finally I always urge newbies like me if they believe in the subject
to go for it.
Good luck

Robert Goodman
Thu 15 Jul 2004Link
Welcome. There are lots of good books on making docs.
Some have been discussed in The Mentoring Room: Ask the Working Pros.

Will Blesch
Fri 16 Jul 2004Link
Hi there folks,

I am a beginning film maker living in the Houston (Soon to be Austin)
area.

A partner and I are about to embark on a documentary journey that I
am pretty excited about.

I was given the link to this site by someone in the Austin film group
(A yahoo group.)

I am totally looking forward to reading these forums and asking
questions and learning in general!

Erica Ginsberg
Fri 16 Jul 2004Link
Cameron, first of all, clarify your topic and your likely audience.
Obviously you can't talk to 43 million uninsured people so find one
or a few who can serve as representative of the whole. Think about a
way to surprise us and tell your story in a way that is different
from how you would see it on the evening news or if Michael Moore
were telling it. How are the uninsured having an impact on our
economy in ways we don't usually think of (i.e., beyond emergency
rooms being used for primary care or mothers choosing welfare over
work because at least their kids will get some kind of health
coverage).

Identify your audience from the start. No film can be marketed to
everyone, so think about whether you are preaching to the choir or
trying to influence legislators, medical professionals, small
business owners, etc. Are you trying to encourage change in one
community, one state or the country as a whole?

In terms of production, if your friends have no experience in film,
count on them to help with ideas, production assistance, outreach,
and helping to keep you motivated. Ideally get a real cameraperson.
If you shoot it yourself, practice a lot first (maybe doing some pre-
interviews with potential subjects) and invest in a good tripod. And
do get an experienced soundman. The biggest mistake of many
beginners is trying to do too much yourself when you really need to
focus on directing. So-so camerawork is forgiveable for a compelling
topic. Bad sound is not.

Doug Block
Sat 17 Jul 2004Link
Welcome, Will. Glad you found us and good luck with your doc.

Tim Hardy
Mon 19 Jul 2004Link
Hi folks-

I'm Tim and I'm heading to Africa. Anyone with a camera & skills want to come?

Tim

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