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.

Robert Arnold

Hello, D-Word. Shirley Thompson mentioned this group today, and it reminded me that I've been meaning to join for a while, so here I finally am.

I made (produced, directed, shot and co-edited) a doc called "The Key of G" (, which played on PBS in 2007 and won a Golden Gate Award at the SFIFF. It follows a young man with multiple disabilities as he moves out of his mom's house into an apartment with a couple of his friends/caregivers. I'm distributing it to the educational market via New Day Films. Since I finished that film, I've been doing some editing, shooting, and DVD authoring for hire and looking for a new doc of my own. I've also been working on some short fictional pieces.

I'm excited to poke around this site and to meet some of the other members...

Doug Block

Good to have you here, Robert. Welcome and hope you'll leap right into the discussions.

Jason Perdue

Nice to have you Robert. New Day always well represented at Sebastopol. And tell Shirley she should be here conversing as well. I never see her here.

stephen watson

I have made my first documentary and Penelope Andrews suggested I look at your site. I must say this is an excellent site and I can see why she recommended you. Keep up the good work!! I will be referring to your archives from now on and may ask a few questions when required.

Regards Steve

James Longley

Welcome, Stephen and Robert. Always nice to see new faces in the neighborhood. It's civilized but lonely here, kind of like Edinburgh.

Penelope Andrews

So glad your are checking in to D-word Stephen
Dont to forget to tell everyone on D-word a little about yourself and the film your finishing!
I would also suggest you apply to be a member as soon as you can as it a wonderful community of filmmakers and very helpful.

stephen watson

I got into documentary making because I was inspired by reading my uncles book called 'Grow Jamaica'. The book is about using ganja for food, fuel, fibre and medicine in Jamaica. My uncle (Reverend Leeroy Campbell who died in January 2009 aged 78) was a ganja activist and scientist and under the banner of 'Friends International' they incorporated Cannabis Hemp Research Institute of Science & Technology. He had worked in this field for 20 years with his wife Janice who co-wrote the book.

The documentary and the book both provide a comprehensive look at the economic, social, spiritual and environmental impact of a cannabis industry in Jamaica. Basically on returning from my annual holiday to Jamaica I rounded up my friends who were studying film at university, gave them an outline of what I wanted them to do and paid them to go to JA and make this documentary for me in 2004.

I started a publishing company called Classic Black Press and a website currently being redeveloped and we agreed a fee that they would produce the dvd for me and I would own the rights to the film. They have kept some footage for their library and gone on to other things. As luck would have it I was able to attract some names to the doc (Stephen Marley & Oliver Samuels are probably the most well known people in doc) and a short 10 minute version was credited at the British Film Festival (see utube trailer 'Grow Jamaica').

I then got call to say they wanted to show the whole film at the Caribbean Film Festival. My uncle, his wife and I went to the festival where it was the only film that everyone was talking about. The press came and done interviews etc (which were not aired, as far as I know), an impromptu heated debate began at end of film, and I was approached by David Coy from Palm Pictures, a distributer from Apple and some finance people.

However, some of the music used had not been cleared and although Apple said they could possibly work around this I was new to this business and decided to try and get clearances first and then go back to distributers (probably a big mistake!) or perhaps even self distribute! That was 3 years ago and clearances has been a 'bit of a headache' so I ended up having to do cover versions of the songs that were not cleared (about 10 songs each running for approx. 10 seconds) and edit the movie to accommodate the changes.

Fortunately the musicians and editor (Penelope Andrews brother and his friend) were extremely good and the doc has been enhanced considerably since it was originally made. I have just begun the process of applying for synch rights to enable me play the cover songs in the movie legally in the larger festivals and possibly small theatrical run. It has been a long but enjoyable journey and I have never lost faith in the documentary which deals with a very important issue from a different perspective.

I hope I haven't dragged my intro on for too long but once I started to write it was difficult to condense into a few paragraphs.

Penelope Andrews

Don't for get to put a picture of yourself at some point!
thats was really intresting...thanks for sharing

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa

The film looks great Stephen. I really want to watch it. So what will happen with this film now? Maybe move the thread to the documentary films section?

Johnny Boston

Hello. I am a documentary filmmaker who's recent award-winning documentary, "My Name Is Alan and I Paint Pictures", about paranoid schizophrenic New York-based artist Alan Streets is now available for rent on Netflix. Add it to your queue and please feel free to comment. Thanks!

Jesse Epstein

Hello! Been hearing about the D-word for a while and glad to have joined up. Let’s see… I’m in the middle of directing a project on physical perfection – it’s a series of shorts/segments that will be combined to be a feature. Three segments are finished: Wet Dreams and False Images, The Guarantee, and 34x25x36 – and while finishing the project as a whole, I’m distributing them as shorts to schools through New Day Films. Which is how I know Robert Arnold.
34x25x36 is currently airing on P.O.V. and is up at:

Like Robert, I'm excited to poke around and see what’s on this site. What a great resource this is.

Doug Block

Welcome, Johnny. And a special welcome to the awesome Jesse, who's too modest to talk about her great work keeping Shooting People going all these years. Great to have you here, Jesse.

Marj Safinia

Welcome Jesse! Still clearly and often remember your short Wet Dreams and False Images from SilverDocs. Glad to have you here.

Ciaran  Tully

Hi there, My name is Ciaran and I am a professional photographer.Last night I had dinner with my friend Onno.The conversation eventually turned to the D word. I described a film doc. that I want to make and I talked about how little I know about making one. So this morning I woke up with a link to the D-word Onno e-mailed to me, so here I am. This is my website........

Jesse Epstein

Thanks for the welcome notes. Looks like I signed up just in time for the 10th anniversary party. And, at the Bohemian Hall even.

Ted Fisher

Hi, I'm Ted Fisher.

I make short documentaries and am hoping to move to feature length soon. I blog at and and have a filmography at also. I was producer and editor on the New York Times "Frugal Traveler" video series, which won the Webby award in 2008 and 2009. I teach editing, television production and visual effects at a few different schools.

I have two shorts up at Snagfilms currently:


This Saturday, I'm screening an 18-minute piece at Rooftop Films.;Rooftop_Films_Storms_Expected

I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.


Doug Block

Welcome, Ted. Feel free to sign up as a Professional member and gain access to all the discussion topics. Here's how ...

jade wu

New to D-Word. I'm a writer/filmmaker who founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit, Golden Phoenix Productions, Inc. in 2002.

At the time, I started the non-profit for a doc film on what I thought would be a story about my, then 94-yr old, illiterate Chinese-Burmese grandmother who documented over 75 years of her life in illustrated journals by creating her own hieroglyphic language. Her story garnered enough interest to capture a little funding when funding was more available. I was a neophyte in filmmaking, so I lived an "everything documentary" world. I watched films, watched other filmmakers, I learned everything and anything that would help me tell the best story I could tell.

I traveled to Burma, post-9/11, following my grandmother back to her homeland. She had been visiting her offspring in the U.S. and it was time to return, for she feared reliving the horrors of war, something that shrouded her entire life. At least Burma was home to her. Burma was safer, provided one plays by the government's rules, speaks only behind closed doors, and never displays a disgruntlement toward the junta.

It had been 45 yrs since I had visited Burma. People warned me to stay within the tourist boundaries. My parents pleaded with me not to go. My friends kept saying, "please be careful."

I obtained a special permission note from the Myanmar Ambassador in DC. to visit my relatives in the Northern Shan States. It felt like grade school, but I had to abide by the country's laws. Who am I to disrespect another government? Who am I to feel entitled to leniency just because I am an American citizen? I did everything above board.

Despite the diligent measures taken and my special permission note, the day of my arrival in Lashio, I was arrested by the junta and detained for three weeks. They had no clue about any Ambassador nor had they any idea where Washington,DC was. Needless to say, my film suddenly swerved another direction, and for a while, I was run off the road.

I didn't know if I would ever get back to the film, but I had grown addicted to doc filmmaking by then and needed a fix, that truth fix where everything around you has a story behind it that needs to be told. I had to find the right story, one that would stir me, cause insomnia, ressurect that doc filmmaking drive again. I needed to find a story that would parallel mine in graveness, but wasn't about me.

I found that story and I've been living in it for two years now. Production is nearly wrapped on NUMBER 228, the story of Mildred Harnack, the only American civilian beheaded by Hitler's direct order for her sole American involvement in Berlin's German Resistance movement, The Red Orchestra, during WWII.

Several years ago, I secured exclusive lifestory rights to tell her tale in film, television and stage. It's been a grand ride meeting subjects who have resurrected pain and buried truth. I've had a chance to relive their past with them, and through it all, I realized that this film is the precise prescription for me to return to my film about my grandmother. Life's cycle spins in odd ways. I love what I do and I hope what I do does doc filmmaking justice.

Often I work in a vacuum, so it'll be nice to be a part of D-Word. I've been such an ostrich.

Thanks, Doug, for starting this.


Robert Goodman

that's one heck of an intro on the D-word's 10th. Welcome aboard. Our hosts must be busy celebrating. smile.