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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.

Reid B. Kimball
Sun 10 Jul 2011Link

Thanks John.

Here's the link: http://vimeo.com/26208010 and the password is epatients.

I'm interested in all feedback. Especially if the video makes sense since I don't do a lot of explaining. If anyone has trouble with watching it on vimeo, you can try the YouTube link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M4DeGBXKu6Y (no pass req.)


Dièry Prudent
Sun 24 Jul 2011Link

I'm urgently Seeking a Camera/Sound Tech for a doc shoot in Brighton, England August 2, 2011

I'm asking the D-Word community for help locating a skilled videographer with a decent light/camera/sound kit in that area. I'm in search of a pro who'd be willing to shoot this interview on a deferred payment basis. Shooting/sound credit assured. Does anyone know of a jazz-loving professional camera/sound/lights artist who would be up to the task?

The job consists of framing, lighting and sound-recording an hour-long interview on location at the manager's home. The whole job, from setup to strike, can be completed within 2 hours.

If so, they may call me directly anytime at +1 917.975.5940

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best wishes to all,

Dièry Prudent, producer
"Moody's Mood for Love: the Story of a Song"
www.moodyfilm.wordpress.com
+1 917 975 5940


Stephanie Caruso
Thu 28 Jul 2011Link

I'm about to meet with a potential subject for my new documentary. Is it necessary that I have him sign a non disclosure agreement? And if so, any suggestions to where I can find an example online?


Anna Fischer
Thu 28 Jul 2011Link

Hi, I am currently subtitling my film, Lucky Express, and I need advice about how to subtitle? Two questions:
1- I have put the translated subtitles as they are spoken...so sometimes the sentence is finished on the next image. Do I use an elipsis because the sentence is not finished?
Example:

He went to the store and bought ...
(and then next image) ... some milk and some bread.

Do I use the elipsis or not? Am very confused!

Question 2:
I have to subtitle my lead character because even though he is speaking English, it is really bad and basic English. So when I correct him, how much can I correct? The tenses? The words?
As long as I stick to the meaning of what he is saying, is it alright to put words into his mouth?
Right now, I have tried to use the exact words he is using even though the English is wrong. My theory is that all people will be able to understand the basic idea of what he is saying, even though the English is wrong.
When I corrected his English too much, later when I was reading the subtitles, I noticed that it was harder for the brain to fully understand the meaning, because what he was saying in English and what I was reading were similar but different.
Does this make sense? Its so hard to explain!
Anyway, is there a basic Rule Book for handling subtitles correctly which I can refer to?
Many thanks,
Anna

Edited Thu 28 Jul 2011 by Anna Fischer

Ramona Diaz
Thu 28 Jul 2011Link Tag

Ann – for starters see hidden section. These are not rules, just guidelines.

Show hidden content

Anna Fischer
Thu 28 Jul 2011Link

Thanks that was helpful!
Now I still have to get some help on how to translate accurately?
Stick to bad English or translate and correct the English but confuse the reader?
What to do?
Anna


Ramona Diaz
Thu 28 Jul 2011Link

That's always tricky. First of all, is he really difficult to understand? Do you really have to subtitle him? I've vowed in the past not to subtitle characters speaking English but because of outside pressures (like broadcasters, distributors), I've had to do it. So I treat it like I would treat other subtitles, I "translate" it so it's grammatically correct. Offensive all around but if you have to do it....


Rina Sherman
Fri 29 Jul 2011Link

Anna, hi
You can also have a look at this:

http://translationjournal.net/journal//04stndrd.htm

All the best,

Rina Sherman
www.rinasherman.com


Nefin Dinc
Fri 29 Jul 2011Link

Hello,

I am planning to apply for a grant to make a documentary and they are asking for "letter of commitment" from the advisors.

Could you tell me where can I find a sample for a letter of commitment?

If I were to create it myself, what should I include in it?

Thank you,
Nefin.


Reid B. Kimball
Fri 29 Jul 2011Link

I would suggest you subtitle exactly as your subject speaks. Documentary films are supposed to be accurate, representing truth. If a deaf person learns that the subtitles were not reflecting actually what was said then you lose credibility. Also, I don't think your subject would appreciate words being put in their mouth.

If your subject is really that hard to understand, then can you not include them in your film? I always vet my subjects for camera presence before I spend the money and time with them.

Ramona, that's a shame you don't want to subtitle your films. I'm hard of hearing to point where I need to wear $6,000 hearing aids. I absolutely must have subtitles for me to watch a film and understand most of it. Then there are people who are completely deaf and they need subtitling too.


Ramona Diaz
Fri 29 Jul 2011Link

My films are close captioned for the hearing impaired. I think that's what you're referring to.

Subtitles are a completely different matter. I subtitle my film if they are not speaking English and it's for b'cast in this country or distributed in English speaking territories. My point about not wanting to put English subtitles on someone already speaking English to begin with is that it is offensive to the person filmed. But sometimes, due to distribution contracts, it has to be done. And if I only choose subjects who are easy to understand (and who will define "easy to understand" to begin with?), then I'm hosed.


Rina Sherman
Sat 30 Jul 2011Link

Hi,
I have an hour long timeline in Sony Vegas sub titled with a media generator legacy plug in. About 40 minutes into this hour SV started crashing repeatedly.
I have tried and tested all and any solution that various colleagues have suggested, to no avail.
I have several more hours of of sub titling to do and I am now looking for an alternative method. I need to print to tape and DVd authoring, so my titles cannot be made purely during the DVD authoring.

Any suggestions welcome. My sub titling is from Otjiherero to English and the same to French – two versions.

I will be looking at Subtitling Workshop, but any other ideas?

Thank you in advance,
Rina Sherman


Doug Block
Sat 30 Jul 2011Link

Rina, the Mentoring Room is basically for Enthusiasts who don't have access to most of the discussion topics. Some Professional members drop by here but not that many. Now that you have Professional status, you should move any further questions about sub-titling to the Editing topic.


Bonnie Friedman
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Hi everyone,
I have just finished my first doc and now need some advice on the business side. Against my better judgement I took bad advice and did not get cast or crew deal memos and now an intellectual property attorney tells me that broadcasters will require these in addition to other clearances. He says all crew, but not necessarily the cast, but other research tells me all cast and producers only. I want to do what is needed and I would like to only ask people once. So first question is : from whom do I need these deal memos? and second: are there standard forms to use (both pre for next time and post for this one.)
Many thanks,
Bonnie


Doug Block
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Bonnie, you'll need what's known as release forms for the key people who are in the film. Anyone who speaks prominently, for sure. It's necessary in order to get Errors & Omissions (E&0) insurance, which broadcasters require.

Crew deal memos are important more in case you get audited by the IRS. I've never needed them for any broadcasters, and I've worked with PBS, HBO, Bravo, IFC and many big international broadcasters.

I should add I'm not an entertainment lawyer, and I highly recommend you consult with one before proceeding.


Bonnie Friedman
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Thanks so much!


Bonnie Friedman
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Hi again Doug,
forgot to mention that the cast was French. Should I use a french release form, a translated form or both? Where might I find a french standard form? Also I suppose I should get releases from the narrators? I have one for the English version and one for the French version.
thanks again,
Bonnie


Todd Yi
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Could anyone recommend a good film lighting workshop in New York? Any suggestions would be really appreciated.

Thank you!!!

Edited Tue 2 Aug 2011 by Todd Yi

Reid B. Kimball
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

I'm having difficulty scheduling someone I want to interview. They sound enthusiastic about being in the doc. Have said, "provided I have time." Am going to the same conference as them. I've said I'm available "anytime". And they keep saying "if I have time." How do I get them to commit to a time? It's like the person isn't looking at their schedule at all.

Is it better to lead and suggest times than to leave it up to them to tell me what time works?


Jill Woodward
Tue 2 Aug 2011Link

Reid, I would suggest semi-stalking that person during the conference and getting a commitment for maybe the next morning or later that afternoon. They'll probably be wanting to fully participate in the conference and not sure which talks or whatever they can't miss. During down-time they may need to do socializing which can typically only take place during a conference setting. Maybe the morning after the conference ends would work.


Reid B. Kimball
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

Thanks Jill, good ideas. I'll try suggesting later in the afternoon or evening after the 1st day events. The speaker leaves the morning after, so my opportunities are limited.


Doug Block
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

In reply to Todd Yi's post on Tue 2 Aug 2011 :

Lighting workshops are hard to find, but DCTV has one every so often, I think. If they don't, I'd call and ask them if they know of any.

In reply to Bonnie Friedman's post on Tue 2 Aug 2011 10:17 EDT :

Bonnie, you can probably just translate a standard release form into French. And, no, you don't need to get a release form from your narrators since they're not appearing on camera.


Bonnie Friedman
Wed 3 Aug 2011Link

Perfect – thanks Doug


Monika Davidsz
Tue 9 Aug 2011Link

Hi there,
I'm fairly new on D-word and a first time documentary maker, originally from Amsterdam. I've started research for a documentary in New York, the result is the following work in progress trailer:
http://www.vimeo.com/20832541
Question, now what? I would like to put together a crew (director, dp, researcher) and produce myself. Any tips where to start, the process is a bit overwhelming.


Jill Woodward
Wed 10 Aug 2011Link

Monika, if you have funding for your project, the next steps should be pretty easy! Watch the films you like or aspire to be like, find out who worked on them, and see if they are available. Welcome to NYC by the way. I was living in Amsterdam for a couple years not so long ago.


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