Introduce Yourself: Sign In Here First

Introduce Yourself

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Welcome to The D-Word! Stop in and sign the guest book - let us know a little (or a lot) about yourself.

Please note that this is one of our Public Topics, so best to enter email addresses with (at) to prevent them being harvested. Spam will be deleted.

Dick Rodstein
Hi, my name is Dick Rodstein and I'm a narrator. I wanted to hang out
here to better understand how documentary makers see the world and how
they put their projects together.

I've narrated for Discovery Channel, National Geographic Explorer and
Canal Plus, as well as for the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the
National Gallery. Recently, I've narrated some trailers for
unfinished documentaries. These short presentations are being used for
completion pitches.

Mostly I'm here to lurk, but if I can answer any questions about
writing for the spoken word, or the best way to get what you want out
of a narrator on a recording session, I'll be happy to.

Ben Kempas
Welcome to everyone and a special welcome to Hermann Barth, the only
D-Worder who didn't ignore my birthday!

Some members of The D-Word Community don't read in this public forum,
so you should introduce yourself in our private forum as well:
Doug Block
Welcome, Dick. Nice to have your golden tonsils here.
Dani Dion
Ben, did we miss your birthday!? :o
Welcome Dick and Hermann!
Ben Kempas
Yes you did, Dani. I'm pretty sure I left a clue somewhere ...

Hermann, wann sehen wir uns in {LINK NOT IMPORTED}? Wir haben da
sogar ein deutsches Topic!
Deleted User
Greetings! I'm a filmmaker (12 years in the industry) and I'm about
to embark on my first documentary feature.

My topic is rather unique, so I can't reveal it online. Due to the
timely nature of my piece and my relative inexperience in the field,
I'd like to ask some seasoned pros a few key questions regarding:

1. acquiring film clips and still photos, fair usage laws and public
2. the discovery of copyrights for films already made, plus
discovery of underlying literary rights of such films.

Any help would be appreciated! I can be reached at

Thank you.
Ben Kempas
Welcome Steven!

Replies to these questions please in {LINK NOT IMPORTED} where the same posting
was made.

(This is to say we don't double-post at The D-Word. We read
everything ...)
Deleted User
Hello all!

I am new to the world of film production. I have no experience, but
I have desire, drive and a potential project. I am currently a
member of a non-profit organization devoted to peace education within
inner-city schools. In the 5 years the organization has been around,
they've never studied the impact of their program upon the
community. I plan to follow a documentary format and use the film as
a PR tool for the organization to develop more opportunities for

Starting out, are there any tricks of the trade I can utilize to make
sure that I get either specific shots, or should I follow my inner
creativity and just let it flow? Also, I have access to a mini DV
camera through the university I attend. Would anyone specifically
recommend using it as the primary camera for shooting? Or could I
use something else and use the mini DV for scenes that require detail
to separate by importance of the message?

I have access to local filmmakers, but wanted to throw my name into
this community. I do this mainly because of the War and Peace
Community provided through this site.


Doug Block
Welcome, Adam.

Your inner creativity is a good thing, but it's best to know the
essentials. There are a number of good books out there for that. I'd
recommend one written by one of our D-Word members, Denise Ohio,
called "Five Essential Steps in Digital Video." You can read more
about it at:

A mini DV camera will be pefectly fine for your project. Lotsa luck!
Deleted User
...just stumbled across this forum looking for Reed College...

I made a documentary once:

But I think I mean something different than you folks....

Robert Goodman
actually no - identical though different media.
A terrific site - only harbored a glance but loved the yearly photos
linked to rememberances. And the family tree was equally interesting.

Okay - now all you have to do Miles is turn it into a film.
Erica Ginsberg
Miles, it looks very much like a documentary to me. It makes me
think a little of Alan Berliner. I actually prefer the interactive
nature of your piece and am not sure it would work as well as a film
as it does as a website. How long did it take you to construct and
what gave you the inspiration in the first place?

P.S. My dad went to Bronx Science too, but he's about 7 years younger
than your dad.
Dani Dion
Welcome Miles - I'm curious about how the FAQ's failed to ask why you
never use names in the pictures of your children. Just curious.
Deleted User

Well one might question the wisdom of posting pictures of one's children on the web at all "in this crazy old world of ours...."

Not using their names seems like an obvious precaution, given that I have chosen to be public with their images. Maybe you have to be a parent to see how obvious it is?

Why not ask it in my FAQs? Well I never ask it, and you are the first person to ask it.... so it isn't frequent yet I suppose... ;-)


Deleted User
Erica, Thanks... I honestly don't think that my life is "yet" a good subject for a film documentary... At 43, I still have vague hopes that it might turn out to be a good subject, but at the moment a web autodocumentary seems like a much more modest and appropriately scaled kind of documentary. I mean, I think I'm fascinating and all that... but not feature film fascinating, if you know what I mean. My web site is a celebration of the ordinary... or would be if it wasn't so not ordinary to celebrate the ordinary...

I'd like to see a world of hundreds of documented lives, portraying the face of ordinary life. I'd like my web site to be an inspiration for others to represent their "ordinary lives" (which of course cease to be ordinary as soon as they are represented). A few people have told me that my web site has had that effect on them, making them want to look into their past and document the reality of their lives... Nothing makes me happier than to hear that it has that effect on people, to hear that when they look at my life, they begin to think about their own life and want to represent it.

Thanks for your comments!


Deleted User
...oh and Erica, you asked how long it took to make... maybe a year or so, with many evenings in front of the computer scanning, looking for the right photo.... It is of course not finished, since their are many other old photos, sometimes "better" ones, that I may yet use, and of course I'm planning to live the rest of my life as an ongoing documentation project, so every year there will be a few new photos to add, a few new stories to tell.

Even worse, one quickly realizes that one's past doesn't stay the same as one ages, so that the true story of my adolescence or young adulthood keeps changing, and will need to be retold....

This raises the question of what to do with the "old" versions of my past.... See the representations of my past on the web site are really representations of myself at the time they were written, circa 2000 and 2001.... but now its 2002 and I have new truths about my past that I understand....

... and so I really need to archive each version of the entire web site with each passing year to see how my auto-representation changes over time... Well you see the problem this could create if one had too much time on one's hands.

Fortunately, I have other things to do, so I hope to avoid that level of complexity. I will probably just discard the old versions of my past, as time and wisdom lead to new understandings, although they may be saved in some great Google index in the sky somewhere....

Besides, although the words I write will change, the pictures themselves constitute a kind of solid data point that is fixed, even as the meanings I ascribe to them in words may change. Post-modern issues with photographic representation notwithstanding, I think photos ultimately are data about reality, and they have a certain reassuring solidity that my changing words about the past will always lack.

Erica Ginsberg
To me, the most powerful documentaries are the ones which are
celebrations of the ordinary. I guess many others feel the same and
that is why you have had enough of and impact to make others want to
do the same thing.

As for your question about adding information to past years, maybe
you could add little postscripts to each year as you "discover" more
about your past rather than creating multiple versions.
Robert Goodman
personally i love the idea of layering your impressions of years
past. How did Miles feel about turning 40 when he was 40 and when he
turns 50. In fact you could make a website that would be just about
one year in your life seen through the mirror of time.

my free idea for today.
Deleted User
I like your idea Robert... but perhaps it requires a level of self obsession that even I have not yet risen to? :-)

Thanks Erica also..

Deleted User
Hi all,
I've just decided to re-pursue a passion I've had since I made my
first doc fim in '89. Worked in the industry for two years in
Montreal and Paris and then had to get a "real" job to pay my
student loans. Here I am, eleven years later, loans paid off and a
film burning to be made inside me.

I'm looking forward to getting to know what I'm about to embark
on...words of wisdom...(no need for the warnings, I've already
gotten lots of them from friends and family!).
Doug Block
Welcome, sucker, er, Donna ;-) Just don't take out any loans to make
your doc, ok?

Seriously, I admire your persistence and passion. Good luck and hope
we can help.
Aleksandra Sarcevic
Hello Everyone,
This is my first time being registered for such a thing as this one
is. And it is nice to be here!
Ok, Let's see... I am a great documentary lover... I have a nice and
interesting experiences in producing and financing documentaries...
and I think I know world documentary scene quite well...
I am coming from a small country, from the Balkans, and I am looking
forward to talk to you...

All the best

Doug Block
Nice to have you join us, Aleksandra. We would like it even better
if you would join The D-Word Community, which is our ongoing
discussions for documentary professionals from around the world:

That goes for all other doc professionals out there.
Erica Ginsberg
Yes Aleksandra. We need more Balkan spirits in the D-Word Community.
Aleksandra Sarcevic
Thanks for welcoming me, Doug!
I already sent an e-mail (subject: acces) to The D-Word Community,
and I am waiting for the answer...
Let's hope the best.

Also, thanks to Erica for the support!
The Balkans spirits are now here!
Let's enjoy!
Deleted User
Hello! This is my first time on the discussion board. I am a
documentary filmmaker doing a program on the activist/historian
Howard Zinn auther of "A People's History of the United States."
We are trying to find the donnet fund. Does anyone have an idea
where they are?
Deleted User
My name is Denis Mueller, I'm new here, and I am producing a
documentary about Howard Zinn the activist/historian. He is
known mostly for his book "A People's History of the United
States." I'm looking for the Donnet Fund. Can anyone help me?
Doug Block
Welcome, Denis. If you accidentally double post again, you can
simply click on the yellow Erase button to the top right of the post.

You can write to the Donnet Fund at 302 West 12th Street, #10E, New
York, NY 10014, attn: Jackie Donnet.
Deleted User
hello all,

well after turning 30 this year, i decided to rethink my career and
take the big jump to go back to school to pursue documentary
filmmaking (for love if not for money). i'm trying to build up some
knowledge and experience before applying, so i'm currently taking my
first documentary filmmaking class through an extension program. it's
been an *interesting* initial experience to say the least. i'm glad i
came across the d-word and think this list will be a great resource.
Doug Block
Welcome, Aileen. Glad you realize this is a "labor of love" kind of
career. Hope you saved your pennies from the previous one ;-)

Lotsa luck.
William Ross


alerted to the existence of this previously unsuspected community, I have come to poke about.

I'm web geek, not film geek, but responsible for and and generally up to my arse in video nonsense at the moment, and therefore interested in (and probably able to help with) questions about streaming video and the form of the online documentary and all that.

Doug Block
Good to have you here, Will. But pleeeease join us at The D-Word
Community, where all of our members hang out.

Just email me your Utne user name and password and I'll register you.
Churchill Roberts
Hello. I'm Churchill Roberts, professor and co-director of the
Documentary Institute at the University of Florida. I teach courses in documentary film
history and, along with three colleagues, produce documentaries for
the PBS network. Our most recent documentary, "Freedom Never Dies:
The Legacy of Harry T. Moore," aired last year on PBS. I enjoy
discussing documentary and learning what others are doing. When we
are not teaching, my colleagues and I travel a great deal and, when
we don't have a shoot, try to attend documentary conferences. My
colleague Sandra Dickson will be attending a RealScreen conference in
New York this month and next month I'll be going to Berlin for the
World Congress of Producers of History. My other two colleagues
(lucky devils) will be going to Sundance. In July I visited the
Munich Film School and was most impressed with the faculty and
students there. I look forward to corresponding with
Deleted User
Hello All,
I am a newby to this scene. I have a background in various media
(audio, still photography, graphics,and of course video). Doing docs
has always been something that I wanted to do but never had the
resources until about 3 or 4 years ago. Docs are,(in my humble
opinion)an incredibly important tool for voiceing topics and
information that mainstreem media can't or won't do justice to. I
hope to contribute my two cents before I check off this planet.I have
two projects I am working on. One being a look at the Jazz history of
Baltimore from the grass roots to the present.Your forum is
invaluable because this kind of knowledge and insite can't be taught
or bought. I look forward to taking part in as well as learning from
your forum.


Doug Block
Hey, John, it's nice to have you here and do take part. I applaud
your eagerness to leap into the daunting docu-making fray. It's a
long haul making a doc, so hold onto that spirit.
Erica Ginsberg
Oh that knowledge and insight could be bought...

Welcome Churchill (or do we call you Professor Roberts?) and John.
Sound like great projects. John, are you based in Baltimore?
Deleted User
Erica and Douug,

Thank you for the welcome. Dough, I just Hope with much help
determination,and inspiration that I can contribute something
meaningfull and informative. I look forward to the forums. Erica, Yes
I am based in Baltimore (Maryland).In hind site, I would agree that
it is possible to purchase knowledge and insite (the purpose of
college I would conclude). But that is just from a single instructor.
The total knowledge and insite available from so many sources and
experiences in a forum like this is priceless.Your Point is well


Erica Ginsberg
I like the Baltimore (Maryland). Is there another Baltimore? (I'm
in Greenbelt, myself - that's why I asked).

Most colleges/film schools charge enough dough (not to be confused
with Doug) to provide more than one instructor. But life experience
and contacts with other likeminded filmmakers are indeed priceless.
Deleted User

Believe it or not there is another Baltimore. Baltimore, Ohio. After
finding that out I dont assume anything anymore. Life experiences was
probably a beter term to use. These days with Ebay you can buy just
about anything.Untill next time.


Deleted User
Hi everyone!

I'm currently in post production for my first (legitimate)
documentary on Activism (interviews and footage at the G8 leaders
summit in Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada.) I've been trying to get into
the film industry for awhile and finally decided to make my start by
doing my own project. The learning curve was steep, thats for sure.
I look forward to future discussion here.

Deleted User
Hi, My name is Victor Huey, a Chinese-American film maker based in
New York. After working on IATSE Feature Film world for 25 years, I
have dropped out of that world to return to grad film school, to take
time off to work towards the completion of my epic 20 year
documentary film about the underground music scene in China,
entitled "Rocking the Great Walls.
Deleted User
Hello I'm from New York and I'm currently working on an Independent
film "Wonder Boy", but, I also have documentary films playing on one
of my websites. I'm looking for feedback and what it's like on the
film festivl circuit, if anyone is into that. I'm looking for
whatever help I can get from people. please visit us and watch our

Thank you
Doug Block
And I'll be the second. Chris, feel free to fire away with questions
in the Mentoring topic, but it's hard to respond to general ones. Try
to make them as specific as possible.

Victor, I applaud your tenacity. Like casting in fiction films, it's
75% of the battle in making docs. Keep us posted on your progress.
Deleted User
Ok question #1)Funding for documentary films. Do you guys know of
any way to obtain funds other then my own pocket.
#2)Also do you guys know of any good places to buy equipment from in
new york or online that has cheap prices.

I'll think of #3...

Robert Goodman
B&H has good prices and a nice showroom.
Funding for docs falls into grants from foundations, commissioned
programs from broadcasters or cable, self-funded, filmmakers with
reputations who can get presales money from broadcasters or cable to
fund some or part of production.
Deleted User
I'm currently filming my second documentary. The first was
funded by Fox, this one is funded by my credit cards and the
kindness of friends. I produced commercials for 8 years, so
there are some people who owe me favors and are pitching in
on this! I'm hoping to find some insights on this site by others
who have been there. (Specifically where to get cheap
Deleted User
Hi! -- Finally succeeded in logging onto this list serve. looking
forward to reading about distribution here, esp. as I"m looking
forward to beginning that phase of documentary post-post production
in the near future. I'm nearing completion on a documentary I've
been obsessed with for eight years. I forget who I'm paraphrasing
but someone said he pitied people who were not obsessed by
something. Not sure I agree -- I would love to feel my time was my
own -- but it does take some of that quality to get one of these
things done.

My documentary? It's a personal doc, and it's a family documentary
and it's about my brother, who was born with a very severe
developmental disability, and who was institutinalized at a young

To make this description short, I'll refer anyone who wants to know
more to my website:

Looking forward to reading, and writing more later.

Doug Block
Greetings and welcome, Susan. Just so you know, The D-Word is NOT a
listserve, which is when the posts come to you as emails. You have to
log on here because it's web-based. And all the posts are archived
according to topics.
Deleted User
Hi all,

I'm Pamela Turner and while I don't work in documentary, (I'm an
animator)I teach in an undergraduate video and animation
area (at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA)and often
advise students regarding grants, distribution, and graduate schools.
I am very interested in the documentary film and find that when at
film festivals I inevitably veer towards them when having to choose
screenings. So I am sure this forum will be educational for me!
Deleted User
Hello, I'm a filmmaker with one short film completed so far. I do
most of my work in Cuba and live in Los Angeles. I come from a
background in digital art and technology. I was a digital arts
artist and consultant on "Babe", "Coca Cola Polar Bears". Now I
am a emerging filmmaker wondering how to finance this habit.

My short autobiographical film "Havana Witch Club" screened at
the Cineaccion Film Festival and the Berkeley Film and Video
Festival where it won Best of Show for experimental .. though I
entered it a documentary. One woman's real life can look pretty
experimental, I guess.

Looking forward to sharing information with others here on all
related topics.
Deleted User
hi everyone,
this is veena almad from india. i am a student of mass media and
wish to be a film maker. i also like know filmmakers like you all and
would like to take suggestions for my future.
I have assisted in ad film production and also going to asisst
in editing but i dont know how to work on real film please advice me
how to join a production house of film.

looking forward to talk to you.
veena almad
Deleted User
Hi. I am a new doc producer, working on my first project
"Fulani for All Fifty."

Fulani for all Fifty is a one-hour historical
documentary giving voice to a team of ordinary people that brought
the first black woman to the U.S. presidential ballot in all fifty
states for the 1988 election.

We are currently in production, and learning our way around
distribution alternatives.
Doug Block
Hi Jennifer, Veena, Lisa. Nice to have you joining us and hope
you'll learn a whole bunch about distribution this week (sheesh, it's
10:40, NY time, on the first day of our panel and no one's shown up
yet - do distributors just sleep late :-?)

Veena, we'd be happy to answer any questions you have in The
Mentoring Room {LINK NOT IMPORTED}, but you'll need to be a bit more specific. What
do you mean by "real" films, exactly? Do you include documentaries in
that category (some don't, you'd be surprised)? And are you looking
to relocate? If so, to where?
Stephen Goldberg
Hi. Im also a relatively new doc producer working in DV. I have
several co-productions currrently being shopped at various cable
networks. I am also working on a feature about a Needle Exchange in
Manhattan. I also have exhibition experience.
Deleted User

I'm Brigid Kelly. I'm about to start post production on a film about
a 31 year old man with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. We are
setting up a G4 with Final Cut 3 and want to start digitizing this
week. I'm sure I'll be asking lots questions about post
Doug Block
Welcome, Stephen and Brigid. Happy to try and answer your questions.
Sahand Sahebdivani
A warm welcome to all the new faces.

Jennifer, do you mind if I send you an e-mail asking you about
working/studying film in Cuba?
Nina Gilden Seavey
I think I have to sign in here to join the Distribution discussion,
but I"m not sure. I'm not very good at this internet stuff all the
Ben Kempas
It would be great if all people who are planning to join the
discussion in our online panel, MAPPING THE DISTRIBUTION LANDSCAPE,
would quickly introduce themselves here.

This, of course, does not apply to the actual panelists since they
were introduced in the topic itself {LINK NOT IMPORTED}.

In order to avoid chaos, Doug lets us "normal folk" only read (and
not post) in that topic for the first two or three days, but he will
open up the discussion to all of us after the first couple of rounds

Hope this makes sense to you now, Nina.
Erica Ginsberg

You can click on cinecitizen above to find out more about me.

Pleased to meet you all.
Eric Stacey
Eric Stacey here. Just returned from the IFP Market where I was
pitching a feature project, but also plan to continue making
documentaries... since 1997, I've co-produced one 6 hour series for
PBS, a half hour one off on the health effects of air pollution, which
on about 15 PBS member stations, and a 1 hour doc on Waldorf education
methods used in a number of public schools across the U.S. I'm
looking forward to sharing and learning here, but signed up especially
for the Virtual Doc Conference with Albert Maysles and Susan Fromeke.
Eric Stacey
Thanks Ken. I've just sent email to the D-Word Community.
Ben Kempas
You're welcome, Erin :-)

I'm sure Doug will handle your access request shortly.
Deleted User
Joining discussion late. But happy to be joining.
I'm an independent documentary producer based in Charlotte, NC. Always
looking to learn more from other producers and to find effective means of
Deleted User
Are we to sign-in here? If so:
Rod Pyle
Cinema Pacific Productions
Pasadena, CA
TV and sell-thru docs. Also affordable visual effects for non-
fiction (my partner and I worked on Star Trek:DS9 in a previous

Email is
Deleted User
Office Manager/Awards Coordinator/Web Mistress for the
International Documentary Association. I look forward to
learning from and contributing to this community.