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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.

Dale Thompson
Sat 11 Sep 2010Link

I'm writing out some one page treatments this weekend and wanted to know if there's any specific font I should use for them. I know Courier is the traditional font for screenplays but does this also apply to treatments?


Marj Safinia
Sat 11 Sep 2010Link

No. I would just try and avoid comic sans :)

Josh Rose
Tue 14 Sep 2010Link

Does a documentary live and die by its subject?

Doug Block
Tue 14 Sep 2010Link

No. Helps, though.

Rick Dillwood
Thu 16 Sep 2010Link

Anybody out there recording their own voiceover? Got any microphone recommendations?

I'm a film student and my current set-up (basic though it may be) is a Shure SM57 straight into GarageBand. And I know it isn't ideal, but it's what I've got.

But sometimes a person might be in a position to upgrade. I'm just looking for a good vocal mic. Something in the $200-$400 range.

And if this isn't where a person should post these kinds of questions, I promise to slap my own wrist--just say the word.

Bill Jackson
Thu 16 Sep 2010Link

In that price range, a Heil PR-40 will give you a nice, fat, clean sound. Much more pleasant than the 57. And, unlike condensors, will be less likely to pick up extraneous sounds, like nearby traffic, since I'm assuming you are recording at your home.

Bill Jackson
Thu 16 Sep 2010Link

But, if you need a USB microphone, check out the Shure PG42SUB.

Bill Jackson
Thu 16 Sep 2010Link

In reply to Rick Dillwood's post on Wed 15 Sep 2010 :

That should have been Shure PG42USB.

W. James Meagher
Fri 17 Sep 2010Link

In reply to Rick Dillwood's post on Thu 16 Sep 2010 :

I know it doesn't cost as much as your target price, but I've had great results with the inexpensive and easy to use Samson CO1U USB mic.

If you want to save some of that $200 – $400.

W. James Meagher
Fri 17 Sep 2010Link

Quick (not really) question about union dancers in documentaries . . .

I have an extremely small budget to shoot a little documentary about a Canadian ballet company traveling to Israel for the first time since 1975 and Jordan for the first time ever. The logistics of taking an entire ballet company from Winnipeg to the Middle East is quite something . . . as is the financial gamble of such tours for the company.

I have permission from the company to document the tour. The ballet company itself is in no way funding the doc.

Here's where it gets sticky. The dancers at the company are all very eager to participate, but they are all members of The Canadian Actor's Equity Association. Whenever it comes to the dancers being on film the Equity Association's contract defers to ACTRA.

My interest is to document this tour from the point of view of those who are running the show and the dancers who are performing. After a brief conversation with my local ACTRA office this morning I can tell that this isn't going to be easy.

I don't need or intend on having a lot of footage of the dancers actually performing in the ballets they are touring. I am more interested in what goes on behind the scenes . . . For example, while we are there a joint Israeli/Palestinian community centre is being opened and some of the dancers are going to give some free classes to the children there. The dancers would like me to cover this. I would like to cover this. I think ACTRA and Equity is going to want me to pay for this.

I don't have the money to put a company of 28 dancers on ACTRA rates for 3 weeks . . . nor do I feel I would be making a documentary if I did.

Has anyone here ever navigated these sorts of waters before? If so, any advice would be hugely appreciated. Or I might just end up making a documentary about Bob the Production Manager who is in charge of all the lighting and sets and carnets and customs and all of that fun stuff.


Edited Fri 17 Sep 2010 by W. James Meagher

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