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.

Ruby Yang

Hi everyone,
This is Ruby Yang from Beijing, my home/work base for the last 5 years. Relocated from San Francisco in 2004, I am still fascinated by Beijing and the rest of China.
Thomas Lennon, my colleague has been telling me about this site. Glad I am now part of this professional community.

Doug Block

Welcome, Ruby! I've known of you through Tom for many years now, so it's great to finally have you joining us here. I guess modesty prevented you from mentioning the documentary short Oscar you and Tom won last year for "The Blood of Yingzhou District", but not me.

Richard Eisenstein

Hey Documentary community. I am Rick Eisenstein of Los Angeles and I am working on a documentary about the mortgage meltdown leading to the the foreclosure fiasco.

Rob Ferguson

Hello, all!
I'm very new to the documentary production process. I am helping a friend raise money to realize his dream of making a documentary questioning the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Edgar Allan Poe against the backdrop of the socio-economic and political realities of 19th century Baltimore.
He's been working on this for well over a decade now, and has a very detailed and well-thought plan, in addition to some participation arrangements with successful documentary filmmakers, so I am confident in the "bedrock" of the written materials and accounting data upon which I am building our funding strategy.
I am familiar with fundraising for social service agencies, higher education, and the visual arts, but this is my first foray into documentary film and it looks like there are significant aspects of documentary funding that are unique to the discipline.
I've found some solid information online and even a few leads worth pursuing, but would definitely be grateful for any wisdom and advice I could gain from those more experienced than I.
Most notably-what are good ways to get leads/ideas/contact information for organizations that issue grants for documentary films (particularly those focusing more on the American history and/or literature fields)?
Thanks for any guidance anybody should provide!

Lynn Casper


I am merely an amateur who is just getting into filmmaking. My real passion lies in Social Media. I am the Social Media Strategist for a nonprofit organization called Working Films. We work with a lot of documentary films and help create audience engagement strategies so that their films can really have an impact on the social issues they are about. I am really interested in seeing how filmmakers are using social media to get the word out about their films and to engage their audience.

Are there any filmmakers here who have been using social media tools in their film campaigns?

Doug Block

Welcome Richard, Rob and Lynn.

Lynn, you might want to browse thru the Marketing and Distribution topic, where a number of filmmakers are discussing social media and networking tools (most lately, Angela Alston).

Jody Hassett Sanchez


I'm a reformed network news producer who has spent the past 2.5 years shooting in India, Pakistan and W. Africa for a broadcast-length doc called SOLD:Fighting the New Global Slave Trade. It's about three courageous people who defy death threats, carry out daring rescues and challenge powerful interests in the battle to end child slavery in the 21st Century. It's not another film about what's wrong with the world, it's a film about a Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim who are kicking butt and making a difference. (I'm still trying out my loglines ... as you can guess).
Mira Nair has just signed on to be our narrator and we are working with several NGO's on our outreach campaign. I'm navigating the foreign broadcast sales world right now and look forward to the wise counsel of those who have already trod this thorny path ....

Jody Hassett Sanchez

Jody Hassett Sanchez

Okay, I already screwed up. Was trying to insert that odd picture into member slot. Figured I'd let you guess which one is me. – Jody

Thomas Lennon

far and away the best self-portrait in the dword to date – welcome Jody, and glad to see us spicing things up

Doug Block

Jody, clearly you're the one humping the column, right? Smart undercover disguise, I say. Good luck with your film, sounds kick-ass, for sure. And welcome to The D-Word.

Jody Hassett Sanchez

Yeah, that's me. Same outfit I wore while filming in central Pakistan. Got several requests for the head cover.

Brian Lio

Greetings everyone,

My name is Brian Lio, and I am excited to have found a community of so many established documentary filmmakers. I just recently got into this space about a year ago when I founded a small production company with my friends and left a job in marketing to see if we could strike out on our own and make something work. I had not so much as held a camera when this whole thing started, so it has been quite the whirlwind learning process for me along the way.

We have been shooting a weekly documentary reality show called Jet Set Zero that follows the lives of a core cast as they attempt to start from nothing and fund their travels around the world living, working, and interacting locally.

Our goal is to try and tell the stories of what it is like to really live in a culture though personal experiences, and show that it an accessible dream to everyone by having a cast that funds themselves and opening the finances. We have been filming and releasing content for the past 9 months and have been shooting in Seattle, Saigon, Bangkok, Tokyo, and now Seoul. Its been an amazing experience and I am lucky to have a great team to learn from.

I look forward to getting feedback from everyone here and learning about what it takes to make a documentary series really successful. You can check out my work at


Doug Block

Hmmm, great content + great promotion = successful series. As long as we don't talk about funding, how's that for a formula, Brian? Anyway, sounds like a great idea and loads of fun (if you're young). Welcome to The D-Word.

Girish Sharma

Hi Everyone,

I am an aspiring filmmaker (is there a word like "aspiring filmmaker"?). I haven't done any productive work yet. I was looking for some guidance to start and do it. Can someone suggest which camera (new or old) we need to making short movies? Any other suggestions for aspiring filmmakers? :)

James Longley

about cameras for short films / low budget – I'm a big fan of the Panasonic DVX100A.

Simon de Swardt

Hi everyone
Just joined following a link from I am a very new documentary film-maker who has just jumped into the deepest of deep ends. I have two huge projects going on at the moment: one of which, considering my location, is politically sensitive and so will remain a mystery, but the other one I am keen to get some input on.
Basically over the years I have worked in many different capacities at a big Harare arts festival called HIFA. The festival is a complete miracle considering the economic and political context and I want to capture the sense of wonder and incredible achievement as the directors of the festival battle with the worst inflation in the world (over a sextillion percent), a cholera epidemic, a shattered economy, terrible phones and internet, arrogant foreign artists, indignant local artists, highly demanding corporate sponsors, difficult diplomats, etc. It is an exciting project, and I have just begun it. Started filming on Saturday – I have about 6 weeks before the festival starts. The real good footage will come in the last few days before the festival starts, but in the meantime I am laying the groundwork, trying to get some b-roll, building trust (a huge exercise, even considering my many years successful relationship with the organisers), practising some run and gun handheld shooting, etc.
Any recommendations, ideas, tips?
I am pretty worried about the millions of releases I am going to need. The dance rehearsal I just shot had 30 dancers in it! and that is only day two of shooting. Also, worried about incidental music appearing in shots, and the whole host of problems associated with clearing rights for that kind of thing. Seeing as this is an arts festival there will be a huge amount of artistic copyright issues I imagine.
Also I am trying to get as much observational stuff as possible and not interview people formally if I can avoid it. so what seems like a good shooting ratio in this kind of scenario, 60:1 ? I am trying to make a saleable end product which will have the duration of a tv hour – about 50 minutes. I am hoping to try and sell to tv stations etc, as I believe the topic will at least have some novelty value, and it is theoretically current affairs related as well. Anyways, any thoughts from anyone, any pointers as to possible difficulties I am going to have, warnings, tips?
This is my first post here, so this is almost certainly not the place to ask such detailed stuff, anyway – at least you know who I am and what I am up to!
Oh, I have a Sony EX1 and various mics etc. i don't have enough media or batteries, but maybe you never do?