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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.

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.


Reid B. Kimball
Sun 14 Aug 2011Link

Looking for any feedback you'd like to offer on my latest teaser trailer, thanks: http://vimeo.com/27673492

Music is licensed from www.MobyGratis.com.


Andrea Feder
Mon 15 Aug 2011Link

In reply to Bonnie Friedman's post on Wed 3 Aug 2011 :

Hey Bonnie, I have a French release form if you need one. You can contact me by email if you want.


Bonnie Friedman
Tue 16 Aug 2011Link

Andrea – that would be fantastic! thank you. How would I find your email address?


Andrea Feder
Tue 16 Aug 2011Link

Just sent you an email with the release attached. Good luck.


Kevin Hallagan
Tue 16 Aug 2011Link

Hey everybody I have a question. it's pretty basic. I am trying to make personal business cards, but I can't figure out what a respectable title is. "filmmaker" seems too generic, but "Documentary Filmmaker" seems to be limiting. if someone wants me to just edit they would look at "documentary Filmmaker" and figure I wouldn't be ok with only doing the editing. My ultimate goal is to do all of it, the research, the filming, the editing, etc. but I'm ok with someone hiring me to do just one of those things.

What is a good respectable Title that still represents what I do?


Doug Block
Tue 16 Aug 2011Link

How about just Producer/Director? Or Producer/Director/Cameraman/Editor?


Bonnie Friedman
Thu 18 Aug 2011Link

Hi again everybody. I have more questions of course... I am planning a trip to France to screen the finally completed doc for the participants (the few who are left) and another filmmaker has asked if he could schedule other screenings there for me. I have been told that it's not a good idea to have screenings if I am planning to do any festivals. In an ideal world (for me) I could find a sales agent and go straight to a broadcaster, but if I am unable to find an agent I may yet want to try to do a few festivals for exposure.
So my questions are: yes or no on the screenings? And any ideas on how to go about trying to find an agent?
Thanks.
PS thanks again so much Andrea for the release form!


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