Alright, you make a good argument for investing in a quality mic. Will try messing with the rubber bands just in case I can hack something together. If I start spending too much time on it, I'll just buy a higher quality mic.
The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros
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.
My documentary is health related and I'm having trouble finding a gastroenterologist who will agree to see me for a general consultation check up and be filmed while that is happening. I've talked to 2 offices and all 12 GIs have declined to go on camera during my appointment.
Having them on camera I think is really important for people at home to see what happens during these appointments. If you have ever seen the documentary, Super Size Me where Morgan Spurlock visits doctors in the beginning, you'll understand what I'm talking about.
I will keep searching, but I'm thinking of a backup plan and want your feedback. That plan is to get a small pen camera or easily concealed audio recording device and getting it on record that way, regardless of permission. Then in the editing process I will of course make sure there aren't any identifiable elements on visual and audio.
If I do this, I think it can add some needed tension to the film anyway. "What are they hiding? What don't they want you to know about?"
I'm hoping that as long as there isn't any way to identify the doctor I see, there shouldn't be any legal issues. Thoughts?
If you think the backup plan can work, have any suggestions for "spy" cameras or audio?
In reply to Reid B. Kimball's post on Tue 7 Jun 2011 :
well Reid, for one thing, they are afraid of malpractice suits, as they very well should be. drs have more to answer to than just their patients, believe it or not.
one of the drs in SSM was Dr. Isaacs, who was actually my internist for a while back when I lived in nyc. He's originally from S. Africa so I'm thinking maybe he doesn't scare easily – he certainly impressed me in many ways when I knew him – and it was a real hoot seeing him in the film.
not sure why you feel "the people at home" need to see you with your dr. most everyone over the age of 18 (and many under) have been to a gastro specialist so why is this so special?
at any rate, you might want to try medical schools. do you have a legal release ready in a pdf or fax format that you can provide immediately? and have you stated as such? that should be your top priority.
you might also call your local med asso and ask them for names of drs who do any kind of educational programming or promotional work – that might at least give you some contacts but you'll still need a hefty release.
btw, the release probably should be prepared by a product liability defense attorney since that's who would be defending a dr in a lawsuit...
In reply to Linda Wasson's post on Tue 7 Jun 2011 :
I feel it's important to get this on camera because it's part of my story of dealing with Crohn's disease and how I answer the questions they ask and how they respond in turn when they learn I'm not using conventional treatments.
I do have a release form that I call a "model release" and it's worked fine so far. Here's the link in case you want to see it: http://crohnsend.com/documents/model_release_template.pdf
Interesting idea having someone write the model release to protect the doctors and not me... if I understand that right.
Also, I don't understand why a doctor would be concerned about malpractice suits suddenly if there's a camera in the room. What's that got to do with how they practice medicine? I know, I should be asking them that question.
In reply to Jake Salyer's post in Introduce Yourself
I really liked your images. I wasn't expecting to see the whole film; I was expecting some clips or a trailer.
You might want to consider making a very short version, if you haven't already, to give people a taste of what you have done and draw them in to want to see more.
I would seriously think about redoing the narration before submitting to festivals. Not only is it technically thin, but (even though it is probably your voice) it sounds like it is being read, rather than told with enthusiasm/interest. Also, the film could use some pretty serious work on the overall sound mix.
It is a very interesting story of which I had no previous knowledge.
Others here may have better insight into how the story and editing are working. I just wanted to bring up my thoughts on the narration.
In reply to Reid B. Kimball's post on Wed 8 Jun 2011 :
the release is to protect you – by having one drawn up by a lawyer that deals w/product liability (which includes med mal) you are assuring all parties involved that you are sincerely making an effort to keep everything correct and are not trying to set someone up. I know if I was a producer on such a doc, it would be the very first thing I would put on the list of priorities with regards to interviews. a model release in this situation simply isn't adequate.
additionally, if you don't have an established track as a filmmaker, what's to prove this film will actually be finished, released and worthy of having this particular dr (whoever it is) in it? that is, you could have some alterior motive unknown to the dr.
just look at Breitbart who set up the Acorn sting as well as a couple others and then railroaded A. Weiner into a corner (ok, some say he did it to himself but personally, I could care less about this guy's sex life; he's damn good at progressive politics and that's more important to me)
Reid, one of the most important considerations to learn when making docs is whatever passion you have for the subject is of course, a good thing, but whenever people are involved, you are asking something of them. You are asking their time, input, energy, opinions, whatever and how you ask and what you ask for can have significant impact on your final production. It's critical to look at their side of it, and understand the fear, suspicion, worry, etc., that participants experience whether they are willing or unwilling.
We as filmmakers are only storytellers. without the generousity of those who share with us their true stories, well, I suppose we'd be making narrative films :)
In reply to Linda Wasson's post on Wed 8 Jun 2011 :
Hi Linda, I agree with you. I think my hang up is I don't know what is different about the product liability model release from the one I already have in specific language, but not to waste any of your time I'll try to find a lawyer and ask them. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.
I hope it doesn't mean I will need to waive my right to sue, not that that's my goal, but in principle I think citizens are giving up too many of their rights and I don't want to continue that trend. BUT! If it means getting a Dr. to agree to go on camera during my visits then I may have to sacrifice my values to get the job done.
I'd like to purchase a consumer camcorder in order to shoot some pieces for my blog. I currently have a Flip cam (r.i.p.), but would love to get something that has a better zoom and an external microphone jack. Can anyone recommend good one? I've heard Aiptek's are good, but which model?
Thanks very much,
Are you looking for a camera that can do High Definition (HD) resolutions, 720x480, or higher? Do you want a camera that gives you a lot of control over sound and picture settings?
A distributor interested in a project I've worked on insists I need to get a Title Report. There in one place that will generate it for about $375. Any ideas for a less expensive alternative?
Thanks in advance,
I am not a beginner but I can not figure where else to post this- I need some doc pals! I am doing an Alzheimer's Doc and need some feedback on my first assembles. Anyone in NYC? East Village? I am buying lunch!
for a quick look at the project go to- www.XimotionMedia.com
And since you already posted it in the Editing topic, just a gentle reminder that we don't encourage double posting, Michael.
In reply to Lillian Baulding's post on Sun 12 Jun 2011 :
Hi Reid: Yes, I'm looking for HD, 720X480 and control over audio.
Hi everyone I need your help. We are working on a doc "Life In The Balance" check out the link below for more details
We have just been fined by the gov over $10,000 and counting for not having works comp for our "freelance" 1099 employees. We have insurance for the production and they told us we didn't need that because our employees were not only employeed by us. has anyone else gone through something similar. It seems like everyone is just giving us the runaround and we want to get this resolved ASAP. If anyone could be of help it would be greatly appreciated. Also the gov said that to be considered a private contractor they have to meet all the criteria check out the link below
but clearly some of our people work on other films but don't have "their own business" and we even have a student. Does anyone know how to navigate guidance would be much appreciated.
Have a happy day!!
With a fine already assessed (by the state "gov"ernor, I assume), it is time to contact an attorney. Contact your local county bar association, for starters, if you do not know someone. You have more to worry about than just state workers comp, e.g., FICA, Unemployment insurance, and state and federal withholding...
Do some research on private contractor vs. employee. Check IRS Pub 1779 and other references. Someone in your organization needs to fully understand the distinction, especially if you intend to operate at the edges.
What sort of entity have you formed to produce the doc? I see that you have fiscal sponsorship from Fractured Atlas.
there is an agreement in place with the IRS for the film and video industry. You should read this link http://www.mca-i.org/en/art/?9
so you understand who is and isn't an independent contractor.
The simplest way to have avoided all the issues is to use a payroll service that will be the employer of record. Now I would throw yourself on the mercy of a good accountant and perhaps Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts if they can hook you up with a good tax attorney.
These threatening letters from the IRS or State department of Revenue agencies are often designed to throw the fear of god into you. In all probability, the situation is much less dire. Consult a good accountant.
Interesting, although the agreement is aimed at production of commercials or corporate videos, with a specific disclaimer as not applicable for feature films. Do you know if IRS has applied this to independent filmmakers? I would think that the logic would pretty much apply.
The reason it does not immediately apply to feature films is that Hollywood feature films are done under union contracts. Taft-Hartly applies which means that anyone working under a union contract is automatically an employee. The same logic used under this agreement we negotiated should apply to indie filmmakers. It's not much different other than less dollars involved.
I've had a few requests from interview subjects that my contract model release form allow them to review the final cut of the film before it is released so they can provide feedback.
I don't mind doing this, with the understanding that I am only allowing them to see it and that any feedback they have may or may not be implemented.
Does it sound OK for me to accept these requests from interview subjects? I want to make them feel comfortable and I think this is one way. Or is there a reason I should not honor this request?
Thanks, you've all been a big help for me so far.
I have become burnt out on commericals and wish to go into the documentary world. However, I have a wife and kids. Is there jobs out there for documentary filmmakers? A place where I can go and work on passion projects and get paid a salary?
the silence has been deafening. The answer to your question Matt is a resounding unlikely to no. My answer would be no. Some others might say there's a 1 in a 1000 shot at finding the dream job. Think you'll have to do both to survive.
In reply to Matt Gardner's post on Mon 20 Jun 2011 :
Matt, your question is far too broad and all-encompassing – and you don't even mention what aspect you wish to work on – do you mean to produce and direct? edit? shoot? write? r&d?
obviously there are paid jobs in documentary filmmaking or else they wouldn't exist. what you expect, what you can contribute, all makes a difference.
do some r&d on your on, including geographics of where you live/want to work. check out academic programs for furthering your skills.
if you are serious, it's up to you to follow your dream and make your path, no one can really answer that for you.
In reply to Reid B. Kimball's post on Mon 20 Jun 2011 :
screening a rough cut is proper and normal – but no reason to put it in the release – if someone is that concerned, offer to withdraw the request for their participation. this is your film and you retain editorial control, that should be made clear.
then smile as sweetly as you can and assure them they will look great :)