d-word \ ' d-word \ n: 1. industry euphemism for documentary (as in: "We love your film but we don't know how to sell it. It's a d-word."). SEE: catch 22, self-fulfilling prophesy; 2. virtual watering hole for those crazy enough to make d-words. SEE: The D-Word, www.d-word.com
The D-Word began in 1996 as a series of online journal entries by filmmaker Doug Block depicting the joy and angst of making and selling his feature documentary, Home Page. It was meant to inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of working or aspiring documentary filmmakers, or anyone else interested in the filmmaking process, for that matter.
After Home Page went into distribution in 1999, The D-Word evolved into a virtual community and its focus shifted to hosting free discussions on documentary film and production, as well as all other matters in life as seen from a "D-Worder's" perspective. Now everyone could inform, inspire, humor and depress the hell out of each other!
Since that time, entirely through word-of-mouth, The D-Word has grown to become the pre-eminent online community for documentary filmmakers, currently numbering more than 13,700 members from 127 countries.
Organized in two sections, The D-Word offers general and mentoring topics for documentary enthusiasts, and a host of topics only for working documentary professionals covering all aspects of the process including fundraising, production, camera, sound, distribution, legal and many more.
It’s also a place to make friends and vent about what can be a difficult and frustrating process. Although The D-Word is an online community, the relationships formed there carry into the offline world, including formal get-togethers and events, as well as the opportunity to create relationships at events in your home town. A number of successful professional relationships have started on The D-Word, allowing filmmakers to connect with like-minded peers to collaborate on their projects.
The D-Word also hosts a series of 5-day public topics, allowing a wider audience to ask questions of some of the leading experts in the field. Recent 5-day topics include distribution, crowdfunding, pitching and more.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the community is the warmth and generosity of its membership. If you are looking for contact information for a particular distributor, chances are someone will share it with you. Need a fixer in Nairobi? Ask The D-Word. Submitting a trailer to ITVS and looking for feedback from past successful applicants? Post it on The D-Word. Need your synopsis reworked? The community will be there for you. Since everything on the professional side of The D-Word is private and unlisted by Google, you can share these questions and more without the whole world knowing about it.
In September 2014, The D-Word celebrated its 15th anniversary as the online community for all things documentary. Thanks to a member-funded campaign for a full design and functionality upgrade, April 2015 saw the release of the brand new D-Word 3.0 interface.
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Co-Hosts of the D-Word