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.

John Burgan

Congratulations on completing your film, Stephen and welcome as a full D-Word Member too – feel free to explore the place. You may also wish to re-post your request for interns (perhaps with some more details) in the Public Classifieds Topic

Mandy Rose

I’ve just joined the D-Word, thanks to John Burgan for the connection. It seems like a terrific space/collective resource. I hope to make a useful contribution. Here are some headlines re my background.
These days I work at the intersection of documentary and participatory media. I was co-founder and producer of BBC2’s award winning Video Nation project, for which people across the UK recorded everyday life in the 90s, which we edited, with their approval, into over twenty hours of diverse TV output. I was Executive Producer of the BBC Capture Wales digital storytelling project, the first major initiative of its kind in the UK, which was informed by the work of The Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, and resulted in a wealth of autobiographical stories made in workshops around Wales, and contributed to a storytelling culture here.
I still live in South Wales though I’m now a Research Fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, at the University of the West of England in Bristol. My research explores the emergence of collaborative online documentary. I’m interested in how a collaborative approach and the online network might enhance documentary’s role in the public sphere.
I blog at
In the 90s I was a producer/director of documentary and arts TV. My work pursued themes of culture and identity – in Hilda at Darjeeling for Channel Four British women looked back on their role in India under the Raj, in Meeting the Masai Mob for BBC2, Aboriginal Australians met with Masai people to share experiences over land rights. I’ve also made work about culture and media – Pictures in the Post (BBC2) was a history of the 20th century told through postcards and their messages. Verite Today (BBC2) looked at ideas of truth in British documentary and included interviews with Jean Rouch Nick Broomfield and Richard Leacock. How the West was Lost (Channel 4) looked at Native American representations in Hollywood, and in Navajo Media.
Right now I’m looking for participants for a web based collaborative project. Within my practice based research I’m revisiting Jean Rouch and Edgar Morin’s seminal 1960 documentary, Chronicle of a Summer, in particular the question which opens the film, in the classic vox pops sequence, Are you happy? You can see a clip on the site homepage –
I’m seeking collaborators who are interested in getting involved by asking that question on video in their locality. This could be an interesting brief for media studies or documentary students. 
If that interests any teachers here I could offer a briefing via Skype, and could put the call to action into context, both of the original film and of the growing field of collaborative online documentary. (I should mention that I have some teaching experience. ) 
Thanks for reading. 
My email –

Doug Block

What a fascinating background, Mandy. We did a bunch of collaborative projects here at The D-Word in our first few years, but sadly none since then. A shame since such great potential exists for it within a strong and supportive worldwide community like this. So certainly hope your presence helps inspire some more collaborations.

John Burgan

Great to have you here, Mandy. I will definitely be encouraging colleagues and students to participate in the Are you happy? project

Mandy Rose

Thanks Doug, John. I look forward to D-Wording. Have a good weekend.

Jeff Girard

Hi D-Word community,

My name is Jeff Girard. I’ve been an activist since 2000 primarily in the area of bettering the LGBT community. I started the first visible LGBT group in my hometown in 2003, led it through the end of 2007, and then became employed as a volunteer recruiter and trainer with the NO on 8 campaign in San Francisco and Sacramento. Since 2009, I’ve been in the east bay.

In late 2009, I bought a program to hook up my VCR to my computer to transfer my home movies to digital format. It came with a simple video editing program and once I started using it my creative side was reinvigorated after having been set aside while I focused on activism. It started to occur to me that I could merge my creativity and activism by making viral videos and films.

My areas of interests regarding activism and documentary filmmaking include:

-initiating sustainable gay groups in rural/isolated areas, which is needed in many places in CA

-LGBT equality

-preventing the destruction of the human food supply

-voter empowerment: required open debates; instant runoff voting; repealing Prop. 14; the advancement of alternative parties and independents

-access to affordable genuinely-healthy food for all

-healthy sexual education inclusive to LGBT teens; opposition to the glorification of un-protected sex

-freedom from the big-brother/nanny state


I am here seeking collaborators and mentors. Please email me at if you would like to collaborate with me or offer a mentorship opportunity in the Sacramento, east bay, or southern CA areas. (Note: I apologize if sharing email is against TOS but I am unable to find whether or not it is)

We’ve heard a lot about “it gets better” for LGBT folks recently. I hope that promise is not just for teens but for the LGBT folks who endure adversities in their adulthood. I’ve found it to be a challenge to find mentors in the LGBT community. Maybe I just don’t know the right people. To be clear, I am open to working with people of all walks of life – not just LGBT folks.

I want to continue to do good works as an activist – I just need to make enough to pay for my vehicle and food. My hope is that I can find a mentor who sees the record of good works I’ve done as an activist to mentor me and help me become even more equipped to do good in the world while being able to take care of myself too.

With all humility, I was the only person in my family to graduate high school and not get into drugs or become an alcoholic. I come from a tough background with no examples of successful people in my family. When I became an adult I had to start working to survive and since then I have avoided student loan debt. I may not be a college educated person, but I’m certainly an intelligent and creative person. Well, I did take one public speaking class. I got an “A.”

I became unemployed last November and am trying to do all I can to find a place for me to utilize my passion for activism and creativity. I’m hoping to work on projects and partner with or create a nonprofit to fund my projects. I’m living in my vehicle by choice and I could not be happier about it. It’s equipped me to push myself harder to move forward. In case you're wondering, I shower utilizing couch surfing. I'm quite clean and organized considering I live in a vehicle.

Because I am living in my vehicle, for now, I can go anyway. For now, I’m still in the east bay near San Francisco.

Thank you for your consideration.

-Jeff Girard

PS: At you can see an example of my work. I directed, wrote, edited, and appeared in the project.

Doug Block

Welcome, Jeff. Feel free to take one more step and register for professional membership here. It'll give you access to all 50 of our discussion topics.

And keep up the good work.

David Pelcyger

Hello. I've been reading the constructive and generous posts here for a few months- it's time to introduce myself. I work for a weekly documentary show named World Report. The segments aired are a mix of traditional news (with correspondents) and more impressionistic pieces. My specialty is the latter. Here are a few samples:

Look forward to adding whatever I can to the discussions.
Thanks, David

Doug Block

Good to have you posting at last, David. Sometimes wonder what we have to do to lure the lurkers out into the sunshine and light of the written word ;-)

Karina Whitmarsh

(Trembling as I type)It's either a post-nervous breakdown, mid-life crisis or a recent trip to India that has me working backwards to becoming a documentary film maker. I was asked to photograph (I'm a classically trained professional photographer making money by doing weddings and freelance work for periodicals)AND "film" for a project dealing with spinal cord injured persons in India last November. With a handycam and digital recorder I "documented" what escip does (look at I've come back inspired to go back to what I started to do (1st year of college; cinematography major) but didn't complete due to a series of unforeseen events. My goal and agenda at this point to continue bringing social awareness to our generation and inspire the future to also be inspired to film. I would like to teach eventually, how to film in 3rd world countries as a way to heal from pasts that were harmful and painful. I'm at the zenith of my creativity and am ready to share it with the world!!! So, hello and encourage me if you can! NAMASTE

Doug Block

No need to tremble, Karina. We don't bite and we do encourage. Really glad you found us and screwed up the courage to jump right in and start posting. That's the only way we can get to know you.

Welcome and all the best with your ambitious goals.

Rachel Shuman

Hi Everyone,
I've known about D-Word for so long that I can't believe I am only now joining. For the past couple of years I've been attending the Stranger than Fiction series at IFC in NY and have loved the little community that has formed around that event so I am hoping to broaden that now on the D-Word. In the past 7 or 8 years I've worked primarily as an editor, but do occasionally direct my own work as well. I look forward to learning from everyone here as well as sharing some of my own experiences from the field. Samples of my work can be found here:
Thanks for taking a look!

Doug Block

Banner day at The D-Word! Finally. We. Get. Rachel. To. Join. Us.

(Sorry, folks, but we go way back. And it's taken years.)

Welcome, Rachel, and feel free to leap right into the discussions.

Rachel Shuman

Thanks, Doug, for the warm welcome! I know...I can't believe how long it's been, but just glad to be here now. It's impressive how much the site has grown; what a wonderful resource and place for community. I hope to see you soon.

Dean Lenoir

Hey Everyone,

I'm completely new to documentary film-making, and was recommended to the D-word as a place to connect with others in the field. Here is a little bit about my background:

I'm currently a M.A. student at The New School studying Political Science. The issues that drive my studies include: economic inequality, poverty, and human rights to name but a few. My plan for about 5 years now was to pursue a career as an academic, addressing these issues through classroom teaching, research, and political activism. Teaching and research are exciting for me, so being a professor seemed like the most logical route for me.

About a year ago however, I began to think about film (specifically documentary) as a medium for researching and communicating the ideas that drive me. Documentary film-making seemed exciting; it provided a new, and seemingly broader, medium to research and communicate with people about my areas of concern. The type of research I have been working on in graduate school has been geared more towards academic crowds – indeed this is the norm, and necessary for career advancement. I've always been interested in communicating with broad audiences though, and above all, that is why I am now turning to documentary film-making. Putting together a real-life account of the lives and experiences of others is REALLY EXCITING for me. I admire those documentary filmmakers who have pulled this feat off with success, and I hope that I can one day do the same.

I should mention that despite my enthusiasm for documentary film-making, I did not pursue it initially. There are several reasons for this. First, I was already so invested in academia. Second, I knew very little about film-making, and did not know anyone personally that was in the film-making profession. Finally, I don't have the funds for film school, and wasn't interested in taking out more student loans to do so.

Despite these obstacles, my desire to pursue documentary has only grown during the past year, to the point where I needed to address it!. About a month ago I finally did, when I set out on my first documentary on subway musicians, which I am currently working on. I'm learning a lot from being on the ground, and have came across some interesting people and resources along the way that have really helped my development. I'm hoping that the D-Word will be another great resource where I can share my experiences, and gather knowledge from other filmmakers. Additionally, I am interested in finding work with documentary film crews, so that I can learn more about the art and draft of documentary film-making (I will post an ad in the classifieds stating that I am looking to find work with documentary crews).

Okay, I'm going to stop now because this introduction is probably entirely too wrong, but thanks for having me here, and I look forward to getting to know all of you!


Tim de la Torre

Hi everyone,

It's great to join this amazing resource and on-line community. There's not a lot to tell about myself. I studied Television and Film Production for undergrad but took several years off in between and after serving with a non-profit Christian education and development organization in the Philippines. I was able to do some filming while there but my work kept me too busy to do much filmmaking. I've actually travelled to quite a few countries in South America and Asia putting together short videos on the work various church organizations are doing but it's always felt unfulfilling... there was a specific agenda and target audience that I didn't want to be stuck with.

I came back to the states and got married in 2008 and now my wife & I are a traveling production crew. It's been great to work together as a team on various corporate/volunteer projects and we're hoping to branch out into more independent type work that can actually pay the bills... and if not, hopefully the stock footage I sell from some of these projects will help at least!

I kinda took a gamble and used all my money to buy a used Sony EX1 on craigslist and jobs just started coming. I'm still using that EX1 but I've kept reinvesting in equipment as much as possible, learning from my own mistakes, and doing the best I can for each job. I'd love to move towards a DSLR at some point but I'm so heavily invested in my Sony setup that I'm going to work on honing my skills, saving my money, and be comfortable with the equipment I have for a while.

Right now, my wife & I are working on a story of a friend that was a bush pilot in Venezuela that went missing with a plane load of people in a Cessna 182 about 2 years ago. There's an incredible local and international grass roots movement to find the wreckage and get closure for the family. I'm hoping to use the search effort(from scientists at NASA to a private unmanned drone company, satellite images, ground searches through the jungle) as a platform for also examining the kind of person this pilot was: a volunteer pilot with no stipend or salary 100% sustained on donations who saved hundreds of lives flying into ~900 foot runways in remote jungle villages. Ya, it's probably going to have a Christian theme to it because that's who he was and part of the reason he did what he did, but I still believe the human interest aspect of this story could hold someone's attention regardless of their faith or lack of it... I don't want to make another "... and this is why you should be a Christian" film... I want a "do something that matters and die in the saddle" angle... but who knows at this point. If you're interested, has some info on the whole search effort.

Well, that's a bit of an introduction. Thanks for having me on The D-Word. I look forward to getting to be a part of this community.

Doug Block

We like long intros, Tim. Welcome to The D-Word.

Niki Bhattacharya

Hello Everyone –

I have heard about this list for a while, but just jump on board. This seems like a great online community resource.

Previously I worked on staff at Show of Force, a NY based non fiction production company and currently I work as the Director of Operations at the new MFA in Social Documentary Film Department at the School of VISUAL ARTS in NY. We have a great group of students and amazing faculty. I look forward to using this site to glean industry knowledge, faculty, guest lecturers and potential students.


Niki Bhattacharya

Adam Hodgkins


My name is Adam Hodgkins. I'm a lecturer in film and visual media at the University of Westminster, London, England where I've been teaching for about 12 years. Previously I've taught at Goldsmiths, Southbank, TVU, Cardiff and Wimbledon Art School (all in the UK). The British Film Institute brought me to London, to study an MA in Cinema Studies, and that city has been my base ever since.

I'm mostly a film theorist/historian, though I do teach on practice-based courses. My areas of specialism are independent and experimental film, distribution and exhibition, and gender, though I teach more broadly. I have no specific specialisation in documentary – though I do spend a substantial proportion of my viewing time seeking them out.

I used to programme an art house cinema in a far flung outpost of progress in the south west of England. This involved organising festivals and events too, something I continued for a while when I got to London.

I am generally frustrated by the lack of serious online discussion around moving image and have spent most forum time on New Music sites since they seem to attract a more thoughtful and thought-provoking enthusiast (fewer casual fans – more committed artists and academics). I've been reliably informed this forum hosts such rigorous debate! So I'm eager, when time allows, to get involved and hopefully stimulate some discussion.

I look forward to getting to know you...

Mika Kiburz

Hello all! My Name is Mika Kiburz. I am a non fiction film and video artist, with a degree in cinema from the University of Iowa. I am currently working on environmental and social issue documentaries, and I just found out about this site from another documentary filmmaker at Sundance Film Festival, this week. Im excited to be a part of this network! I have a great interest in avant garde filmmaking, film theory, and new ways of experiencing cinema. Im looking forward to meeting other film enthusiasts!

Ashley Hillis

I'm thrilled to be a part of the D-Word community. Thank you for having me!
A little bit about me... I'm a northern California native, living in Manhattan and I'm attempting to make my first feature documentary. It's been a labor of love (and sometimes rage and hate and frustration) that I started about 3 years ago and I've made my way to the editing room at last. Every day brings new challenges and learning opportunities and I'm eager to be part of a network of others who may be going through/have gone through something similar.
If you have any wisdom to impart, lay it on me :)
I would love to tell you more, but I must get back to editing.

Doug Block

Welcome, Adam, Mika and Ashley. Great that you've found us.

Becky Hire

Good evening
I am Becky Hire and I live in the metro Atlanta, GA area. For years I have worked with others on documentary film projects while working in corporate video for my day job. Now I am looking to my own documentary project(s) and hope to gain invaluable insight from the good people of the d-word.

Emily Mode

Hello All,

My name is Emily Mode, I live in NYC, and I just learned about The D-Word. A brief background: I did my undergrad work in sociology and fine arts, then I got an MFA in painting. While in grad school I began working for a documentary maker as a PA and second camera person, which then led me to use video in my artwork. After college I continued working on documentaries as well as for visual artists. In 2007/08 I realized I prefer working in moving images, so by 2009 I completed my first single channel experimental documentary. It showed at a number of festivals and internationally, and I realized I have the bug. I hope to work on many more of my own and others projects. With my own work I like to play with the boundaries and form of documentary, but I love working on interesting topics no matter the form.

Doug Block

Great hanging out with you and Sally in Helsinki, Emily. And equally great having you part of our online community. Hope you'll post often.

Lily Keber

Hi everyone-
My name is Lily Keber and I live way down in the swamp city of New Orleans. I've worked freelance camera/editing down here for 5 years; interned at the community media center Appalshop before that. I'm wrapping up production on what (knock on wood) will be my first feature-length documentary, a portrait of James Booker, the "best black, gay, one-eyed, junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever seen". There's a 4 minute trailer for it on
D-Word in an invaluable resource. I'm glad I'm finally getting around to introducing myself on here...

Doug Block

We are, too, Lily. Hope you'll continue to post away on the other topics. And best of luck on the Booker film.

Jill Woodward

Lily, sounds fun! good luck, look forward to hearing about the film.

David Herman

Lily, love the trailer. Saving the memories of the forgotten greats is blessed business!

Myrthe Mosterman

Hello everybody,

My name is Myrthe Mosterman and I live and study in Amsterdam, Holland, at the Dutch Film and Television Academy. I am 27 years old and I am studying cinematography. I am in my third year now and I will graduate next year.
In a few weeks I am starting to film a small documentary about hiphop in Skopje, Macedonia, and I am thinking of hiring a camera (video hd) over there. Does anybody have experience filming in Macedonia, or knows a good camera rental company?

Thank you

John Burgan

Welcome to The D-Word, Myrthe. There is a D-Word member in Macedonia who runs Asterfest – Goran Trenchovski – who might be able to advise you.

Rob Buscher

Hi all,

My name is Rob Buscher and I work at the Greater Philadelphia Film Office. Before living in Philly I spent the last 5 1/2 years between the UK and Japan working in film production, curation, and distribution. My expertise is Japanese Cinema.

I joined this forum to see what kinds of opportunities are out there for local documentary filmmakers in the Greater Philadelphia region. Anyone local please get in touch!


Brenda Essahaty

Hi everybody,

I came across D_WORD while searching for some information on how to make a documentary and where to start.I'm still learning to get around D_Word.

D-Word looks a nice little warm community.I hope I will find what I need from D-word.I should keep track of my logins on facebook and twitter in case I forget my passwords.

Please Professions help me out here if you can.I am very passionate about real issues cause to me they are what shapes our communities.

Thank you for having me on D-Word..:)

Doug Block

Welcome Brenda and Rob. Rob, surely you know about Philly D-Word members Jon Foy and Fiona Otway, whose respective films won top honors at Sundance. If not, just click on the People link at the top of every page and do a search on their names. You can then go to their profile pages for contact info.

Maeve O'Boyle

Hi – Maeve O'Boyle here. I was lucky enough to be Doug's editor last year on The Kids Grow up and have finally joined this great forum which I have heard so much about. Thank you Doug and sorry it took me so long. Other credits include Frontline: Heat for PBS, Carrier for PBS, Left of the Dial for HBO and other bits and pieces. Glad to be part of the D-word community.

Doug Block

Maeve! I can't believe my eyeballs! Oh, rapturous day!!!

Only took well over two years of talking up The D-Word to get here here, folks. What an impressive salesperson I am.

Sahand Sahebdivani

Hi Myrthe, welcome from another Amsterdam D-worder. Good luck in your skopje project, sounds like a blast!

Caitlin Kelley

Hello. I am the founder and executive director of Africa Volunteer Corps, an NGO based in Tanzania that places African volunteers to work with African -initiated development projects. I joined D-Word in order to connect with filmmakers to participate in a fundraising series we are starting, the Visualize Change Film Forum. We are looking for films showcasing empowering and positive stories about Africa, especially the importance of local control of the development process. We are aiming to make Visualize Change an annual fundraising event so I look forward to connecting with others trying to tell the positive and inspiring stories of Africa that typically go untold.

Doug Block

Welcome, Kaitlin, and thanks for the great work you're doing with Africa Volunteer Corps. Best of luck with your fundraising.

Jeanie Finlay

Hello D-Worders

I'm and artist and filmmaker from the UK. I make films about music, outsiders, strangers and people who change how they look to be themsleves. I made large scale video artworks for years before moving into docs about 7 years ago. My films include TEENLAND (BBC4), GOTH CRUISE (IFC). I'm currently making two films – THE GREAT HIP HOP HOAX for BBC and ORION: THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING.

my latest film is SOUND IT OUT, a crowd funded feature about the very last record shop in my home town, Teesside (North east UK) which will be premiering at SXSW in March.
See more >

I'd love to hear from any other D-Worders with advice for SXSW – and I'd really appreciate it you could help spread the word about our campaign on Indiegogo to get there.

Thanks and looking forward to meeting some new doc folks! JF

John Burgan

Welcome to The D-Word, Jeanie. Sounds like you're in the right place – check out the Documentary Festivals Topic for more on SXSW and also use our SEARCH function to see what advice people have been giving in the past.

Doug Block

It was great talking with you the other day, Jeanie. Glad you followed up and registered. Welcome.

Your trailer is charming and beautifully made, it so makes me want to see the film. Hope you raise oodles of money. And get the list of industry people attending from the festival (on the password protected part of their website) and contact them about a week before it starts.

Christine Daley

Hi! My name is Christine and a friend of mine suggested that I get on here and see if anything clicks! I have been an actor for years and about two years ago I took off across the country and abroad volunteering at various not-for-profits. Changed my world. Now I'm looking to get involved in hosting, writing and creating work that's about real people. This is a link to my most recent hosting gig on solar energy. If anyone has any leads, knowledge of where to look or projects, I'd greatly appreciate any advice!