The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros

Mentoring Room

  • Public

This is a Public Topic geared towards first-time filmmakers. Professional members of The D-Word will come by and answer your questions about documentary filmmaking.

Doug Block
Host

Casey, I recommend you email D-Word member Rosemary Rotondi and ask her advice.  She's super nice and is an extremely accomplished film archivist.

Erica Ginsberg
Host

In reply to Casey Elliott's post on Wed 4 Mar 2015:

If you aren't already a member of IDA, join and attend some of their Doc-Us and other programs which take place in L.A. Also join Doculink listserv which is technically open to anyone but seems to have a significant number of SoCal folks. Connect with other filmmakers. In a transitional mode like this, I might recommend (if you can afford to do so) connecting with a doc maker working on a historical doc and offering to do some part-time pro bono research work so you can build your track record and references in this area.

Casey Elliott
Pro

Thank you Doug - I will definitely email Rosemary for advice! 

and thank you Erica for all the suggestions!! I am a member of the IDA (I just went to the DocuDay they held the day before the Oscars, it was so great!), I definitely hope to attend more of their events in the future. A friend of friend also suggested to me that I join doculink - I've been reading the posts but haven't posted myself. Do you think it's appropriate to post something similar there that I did here?  

And great idea about offering up some research work, I'm happy to do this! I've contacted a few people, but it's been a bit tough finding historical doc projects based in the LA-area, do you happen to know of any filmmakers in LA that might need a little extra research help? Or perhaps I shouldn't limit myself to LA-area, since research can really be done from anywhere?

Thanks again to you both for your advice!!

Bill Jackson
Pro

Casey, it looks like you are doing all the right things. D-Word, Doculink, and Docuday, which is the biggest single day for Documentary, here in LA. Good luck!

Emma Holbrook
Pro

Hi Everyone,

This is an introduction and an asking for feedback post all in one.  I've been making little shorts and been involved on the sidelines with lots of projects for over 15 years now. I've just spent the last two years making my first doc as a director which is all about how the live arts can survive in the regions of the uk following the financial crisis and the cuts to local authorities. I've got to a stage where we're happy with the offline and we're about to do the online edit.

We have our release forms etc but I was wondering if there was anywhere on here I could post the private vimeo link so I can just share it with you guys for any creative or legal feedback that I may have missed?

I'm also trying to get some good distribution advice beyond simply monitization on vimeo etc. The website for the project is www.makingthecut.org.uk which has the film's trailer on the home page. WIll look forward to meeting some of you virtually and reading your feedback.

Thanks,

Emma.

Doug Block
Host

Emma, the reason you can't post the Vimeo link here is you're in the Mentoring topic, which is meant for members known as "enthusiasts" rather than "professionals." Since you're a pro member, you should post again in the Works in Progress topic, where we have video enabled. 

Not sure how long your film is.  If it's a feature, it's unlikely to get too much feedback.  For a short, yes.

Anyway, good to have you aboard here. You'll get the hang of navigating The D-Word soon enough.

Emma Holbrook
Pro

Ok great Doug, Yes sorry about that, just learning to find my way around at the moment. Thanks.

Sebastian Lory
Pro

Hey D-Word,

I'm a documentary filmmaker, currently embarking on my second feature film. I am looking for creative people to collaborate with on an idea I've been developing for over 5 years and that I am now ready to push forward into production. I am essentially hoping to find someone who would be interested in producing the documentary. Have I come to the right place? If so, it would be great if someone could point me towards the appropriate topic forum to discuss the idea in more depth. Thank you!
Best regards,
Sebastian

Doug Block
Host

Sebastian, since you're a Professional member, better that you post in the Professional Classifieds topic.  You're likely to find a higher caliber producer there than in here, for sure.

Bryn Hadubiak
Fan

After some research, we found out we can't put up our doc publicly in order to submit it to film festivals. So, I won't be able to show it yet, except privately or as part of my portfolio. In the meantime, I'm looking for work and have a few questions.

Funding in my province has all but dried up. The loss of the film tax credit demolished most of the local film industry - there aren't many companies doing anything but commercial work. The obvious solution is to move, which I have no problem with, but figuring out where to go and what sort of work to look for is the question.

I'm good at developing ideas into fleshed out stories. Directing, videography, technical editing, story editing - I've done a bit of everything. I've done it well enough to earn high if not always top marks in my classes at the J-School, and be paid for it professionally freelancing and interning at news media outlets.

What I want to do is to work my way up doing documentaries again. Should I be looking for work project by project, i.e. freelancing, or should I be looking for a job with a production company. If the former: how would I go about finding such projects?

I'm also working on creating another documentary until I find work.

Right now, in my spare time, I'm working together with a couple of colleagues from my previous doc. All of us have worked as journalists, and we're in the process of putting together a creative treatment. We're also meeting with a videographer on Wednesday to see if they have any interest in working with us. But while we know how to put together the form and content of a good story, all of us are relatively inexperienced when it comes to the logistics behind putting together a feature-length documentary - by this I mean: budgets, legal, etc.

I figure the best course of action for this documentary would be to put our treatment together and pitch it to an independent producer, and learn more about the process as we go. We could do it on our own, but the subject matter requires great care and we want to treat the story right. Any advice would be welcome.

Jody Lauren Miller
Pro

Hi D-Word ... Can you please give your opinion on paying for "consultations" or mentorships?

I need guidance, but don't wanna be a "docu-rube" and pay for something that perhaps a wiser filmmaker would not. 

Thank you.

Christina Neferis
Pro

Hi, I am new here to this site.  I applied for Professional status, how long does it take to be accepted?  Thank you, Christina

John Burgan
Host

In reply to Christina Neferis's post on Sun 24 May 2015:

 Doesn't appear that you had actually applied, Christina - but no worries, I've just upgraded you to Pro - welcome to The D-Word. Also as Hosts we sometimes like an evening off!

The Mentoring Room is for beginner filmmakers, questions about The D-Word itself belong in Help with the D-Word Topic

Doug Block
Host

In reply to Christina Neferis's post on Sat 23 May 2015:

Welcome, Christina. A lot of people registering for "Pro" status seem to get stuck at the "Fan" level and the hosts are actually very curious why that happens, as we'd like to make it simpler and easier.  It seems it's mostly because they feel they did register as a Pro.  Any idea why you thought that?  

Jody Lauren Miller
Pro

In reply to Jesse Zook Mann's post on Sun 24 May 2015:

HI JZM ... Thanks for responding. I think i was misleading using "mentorship" ... but i was referring to this type of thing: http://www.howtomake-a-documentary.com/documentary-mentor  - Basically it says: "You've got QUESTIONS! We've got ANSWERS! Take advantage of our 40 years combined experience in the documentary industry! Let us guide you through an entire film, or just a tough spot in your process. Our award-winning background, attention to detail and supportive guidance will get you back on the fast-track."  

There was another "consultation" dealio ( http://docsinprogress.org/services/consultations/ ) ... just unsure if this is a useful step/tool/idea or plain dumb.

i am very familiar with doing narrative work and how to pull that stuff off on any budget ... but felt like a little direction with my docu concept may be wise ... again, i dont wanna be thaaaaaaaaaaaaaat idiot, but talking to those who have been there, done that (even if its for a reasonable fee) didnt seem like the most ridiculous idea. Yet anyway :)~  - 

Jesse Zook Mann
Pro

In reply to Jody Lauren Miller's post on Sun 24 May 2015:

 I think you have a more powerful support system on this site, but who knows. It looks like they have done ok. Getting ITVS three times is impressive. I don't think any of these things are bad but I said my piece about this topic over at: http://www.d-word.com/topics/175-Our-Daily-Bread-Redux?post=325039

Getting grants is hard. You might get ITVS, and Sundance... but you probably won't. even with professional mentor help. People with academy awards are having a hard time getting funding, you are comping against the best filmmakers in the world. Does that mean you can't do it? No way. People here get grants all the time. But even in the best case scenario it is years of work to get funded. Sometimes half a decade, and then if you don't get funded... well thats a lot of years wasted, and that is more of the rule than the exception. 

So these programs leave a bad taste in my mouth because in their pitch it is so easy - just do what they say and you'll be in festivals sooner than you can imagine! Unless you can find a camera, pick it up, and have the time to start shooting... that isn't reality. A camera, free time, a macbook, ramen, and d-word are a much better use of your money than professional mentors IMHO.

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Hey Jody, I am the Executive Director of Docs In Progress. While it might seem like my "pitch" would be very different from what Jesse is suggesting, it actually isn't. The best way to learn and improve is by doing - whether you just go out there and make a documentary and turn to free support networks like The D-Word or film communities and meet-ups in your own city OR gain mentorship by working with a more experienced filmmaker.

Paid advice works in very specific circumstances -- feedback on a cut or a proposal or, for some folks who treat it like a personal trainer -- to give them the regimen to keep them moving. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution.

The consultation program of Docs In Progress is actually the smallest program we offer but most we do offer (filmmaker roundtables, work in progress screenings, classes, etc.) take place in the DC area. So I would probably recommend you seek out film communities where you are (Philadelphia? New York?) as well as the fine place you've happened upon called The D-Word.

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Oh and Jesse, only those with Pro status can see your post over in the Our Daily Bread topic. Thanks for re-posting part of it here so the Fans can see it as well.

Jody, you should apply for Pro status as well since your bio indicates you are hardly a newbie.

Jody Lauren Miller
Pro

In reply to Erica Ginsberg's post on Mon 25 May 2015:

Thank you EG ... i will def apply for "pro status"! I've written and shot tons, all in the ad space for the past 10 years ... so i thought your "pro" was for "pro DOCU" level exeprience ... i do have a decent base of experience since i started my career at NFL Films and that was a great training ground for docu style shooting, etc ... Thank you for your time and advice!!! Now back to picnics for you and JZM :)~ 

Doug Block
Host

Jody, thought I'd save you the bother and just promoted you to Pro status.  Clearly you qualify and now you'll have access to 45+ discussion topics.

Daniel Simmonds
Fan

Hey everyone.

I'm Dan, I'm an amatuer and working on an idea for a documentary. If anyone would like to offer some advice, right now I'm focusing on the story. I have the premise and outlined the selective parts and I want to develop it into a great story. Can any offer non-specific tips or maybe books to read on creating great stories.

Thanks

Michelle Maren
Fan

Hello D-Word - I codirected and am the subject of AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MICHELLE MAREN. Last month I attended the IFC screening of ONE CUT, ONE LIFE by Lucia Small and Ed Pincus. I could relate to so much of what the film had to say about collaboration. Question: Filmmakers, how would you define "collaboration" and what had been your experience?

Babette Hoogendoorn
Fan

Hello everyone! I am a Berklee Master's student and I'm conducting a research on the interest in exclusive bespoke themes based on classical music, created for independent film and documentary makers and advertising agencies. This research is done to explain and analyse my thesis for which I want to set up a business plan for a music supervision company that is specialised in classical music and can make exclusive bespoke themes based on this music genre. I promise it won't take you long and your input is very much appreciated. Could you fill the survey out before the 10th of June please? Thank you so much! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7HQCHZ6 

Kellie Krevosky
Pro

Hi, I was wondering if someone could tell me where they find their ideas for documentaries?  

Best and Thanks,

Kellie K.

Telmo Eduardo Covao Azevedo
Fan

Hey guys, I'm new around here so excuse me if this is in the wrong place. 

I'm working on  a documentary for my final project, the project is about a artisan who's lifestyle im interested in. Its a more intimate vision of his life/work. (in my opinion it's really important to keep record of this way of living, mostly because this way of working is getting extinct)

He has his own shop, fixes guitars and "most" important recreates medieval instruments based in "pictures" from books etc. Now to the problem itself, since im trying to avoid the BBC wild life of guitars genre, i'm currently struggling to create a story line. (I want to avoid these questions: how did you made this? how did you end up here? whats your favorite desert?) 

Some references ive been studying: Vertov, Harun Farocki, Orson welles, Hugo Zemp, Godard.

Thanks in advance and i'm sorry if i wasnt explicit enough or just confused everyone.

Telmo Eduardo Covao Azevedo
Fan

In reply to Kellie Krevosky's post on Wed 3 Jun 2015:

 well its going to sound cliche but it's true: you have to find something that bothers you or get you excited, just start with a phrase or a word and keep studying the subject until you find something worthy. Most important you need to have something to say otherwise its pointless. 

that's my 2 cents! 

Doug Block
Host

In reply to Telmo Eduardo Covao Azevedo's post on Mon 15 Jun 2015:

 Hi Telmo and welcome.  Usually what creates a story is conflict.  Is there any conflict going on the artisan's life?  Is his shop threatening to close, for instance?  Is he going through some kind of transition?  This is why so many documentaries take place over a lengthy period of time, because time is often necessary to capture periods of transition.

Jesse Zook Mann
Pro

In reply to Telmo Eduardo Covao Azevedo's post on Mon 15 Jun 2015:

 Doug's advice is on point. Unless he is SUPER engaging, and has a lot of archival coverage, talking about the past will likely be pretty boring in a sitdown interview. Now if he was played with the Beatles and narrowly escaped assasination by Interpol... I'll take that back... but if he's not superstar LIGHTNING you have to find conflict. If you don't have the much time to watch things develop, you can look for major events that are happening where your guy is up against something, and has something at stake. Something where he goes in looking to win, and he wins or loses at the end of it. Maybe it's a contest. Maybe its a tough familiy reunion. Maybe its a trip to meet a son he's never seen. Maybe he had an old conflict with a musician after the guy stole his girlfriend and they get back to play together after five years. Pry to see if these kinds of events might be possible to capture. Doc really works when you are watching events unfold in front of you. 

I'm sure some folks here would say it is unethical, but I will produce these kinds of events to happen. Usually it is the only way to get things done on the kinds of time restrictions I generally have for a given project. I try to set things up with as much informed consent as possible, and shoot what happens with as much empathy, and integrity as possible. If that means anything. I stuggle with this constantly... for 15 years.

Austin Anderson
Pro

Hi, 
We have a completed feature length Documentary that has won several film festival awards, and are now looking for distribution.  Does anyone have contacts with a sales agent? 

Please email me for info. 


Bests, 

Austin Anderson

andersonwaustin@hotmail.com

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3220044/

 

log line:
Sharing the Rough documents the never before captured process of the journey of a colored gemstone from mine to market while exploring the challenges of an emerging mining economy in East Africa.

http://www.sharingtherough.com/

http://www.sharingtherough.com/#!copy-of-story/c1aq6

Trailer:
http://www.sharingtherough.com/#!trailer/cjv8

 

 

 

John Burgan
Host

Austin - you look like you would qualify for Pro Membership of The D-Word - you would certainly gain access to a much wider range of advice in the Pro-only Topics

John Burgan
Host

Strangely, there's no sign of a Pro application, Austin, so please go ahead and re-submit. We give all D-Word applicants the automatic option to apply for Pro status as soon as they have registered as a Fan, so this should normally be a straightforward process.

Alain Martin
Fan

Hello All!

First I'd like to announce to this community that this coming July 28th 2015 is the hundredth year anniversary of the brutal occupation of Haiti by the United States. We have a documentary, The Forgotten Occupation, which is headed into post production in the next few weeks. You can see view a clip for the film on our website Theforgottenoccupation.com. 

Anyway, my question is about grant writing. I have spent about 12K of my own money to get this film made.  I figured that's the price to pay as a rookie filmmaker. I am raising 20K on Kickstarter to see the project through post-production and as I write this, we are 95 percent funded with 13 days left. 

I am getting ready to apply for a couple of grants as to have funds for marketing, for a publicist and to apply to film festivals and to cover other expenses as I can no longer afford to spend money from my own pockets anymore. 

The question I have is this: Am I allowed to pay myself? And if so how much is acceptable? I plan on touring colleges eventually with this project and I wont be able to afford spending my own money to do this. So is it OK to pay one's self a salary while applying for a grant, and if it is, how much is OK, particularly for one like myself who is doing this for the first time? 

 

Thanks for any advice I can get!!

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Yes, Alain! Not only are you allowed to pay yourself, but grant-makers will take your proposal more seriously if you budget to pay yourself (since they will wonder how you will get the film finished or distributed otherwise). The fact that you've been able to raise $20K on Kickstarter is a plus since you are already showing there is an audience for the film. Congratulations! 

Kelsey Killeen
Pro

Hi all, I recently turned down a creative staffing job in Boston to move to Chicago on Saturday 8/1. I'm interested in being a creative recruiter and am wondering if anyone has experience with staffing agencies in Chicago. There seem to be a few (The Creative Group, Creative Circle, Aquent, Paladin, etc.), and I'd like to know which have the best reputation in the area. 

Aside from creative staffing, I'm interested in other work opportunities in Chicago related to documentaries, public radio, experiential marketing, etc. I'm essentially a creative project manager (and wannabe producer) who's eager to do interesting and engaging work. 

Please feel free to respond with tips and ideas!

Kelsey 

kmkilleen@gmail.com

Travis Hawkins
Fan

Hi!  New member, just getting familiar with the site.  Some great resources here!

Question: any advice on creating a treatment for a personal, question-based doc?  I'm reading Sheila Curran Bernard's wonderful Documentary Storytelling.  She includes some treatment examples.  But they're for stories for which many of the facts can be gathered before a frame of the doc is shot.  But what if all you have are questions?  

For instance, I wonder what a treatment for Spurlock's Super Size Me looked like.  He could have gathered lots of stats and data, but he would have had no idea how his Mickey D's diet would affect his body.  That was kinda the point of the doc, right?  I'm having an especially hard time wrapping my brain around Bernard's advice to write the treatment in the present tense.

Does this question make sense?  Grateful for any advice!

Thanks,

Travis

Doug Block
Host

Travis, for what it's worth I never write treatments ahead of time.  I'm in the *semi-fortunate position of being a single-person crew, which means I can shoot most if not all of my films before I begin fundraising.  Thus, any treatments are based on footage I've already shot.  If you don't have a good deal of footage shot, you might write one based on what you're hoping will happen.  In that case, however, I wouldn't go into great detail, or pretend you have dialogue or sound bites that you haven't actually shot.

Semi-fortunate in that I have no one to help me carry equipment, which seems to get heavier and more cumbersome every year.  Or someone to distract the subject while I set up, especially if I have to put up a light for an interview.  Or someone to share the driving on long trips. Fortunate in almost every other respect.

Katherine Acosta
Fan

Does anyone’s expertise extend to archival research for doc films?  I’m working on a film about the 2011 Uprising here in Madison, WI and want to use archival news footage and campaign commercials.  The Living Room Candidate has presidential candidate commercials, but I want Scott Walker’s gubernatorial commercials.  Do I have to approach the groups that made those commercials to get them?  Or are there other public sources of that information?

Also, the Vanderbilt archive is pretty good for national TV news, but how do I find local TV news archives?  Do I need to approach the local TV stations individually?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks in advance!

Katherine

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Local TV can be trickier, especially for older footage since they tended to just reuse tapes and not really have an archives. While I am sure our resident archival goddess Rosemary Rotondi might have some words of wisdom, I'd also recommend getting in touch with Brad Lichtenstein from 371 Productions in Milwaukee since I know he used Scott Walker footage for AS GOES JANESVILLE. I don't recall if he used any commercials, I think just news footage, but he might know where the local sources might be for that footage.

Joel Wanek
Pro

In reply to Katherine Acosta's post on Tue 4 Aug 2015:

 Hi Katherine. You might check with local and state universities to see if they have any archives. Here in the Bay Area, San Francisco State University has an impressive television archive. I just worked for KQED here as well and they don't even own much of their own material any longer - they've donated it to SFSU and therefore have to ask to gain access to it when needed. I think it became very expensive for these stations to hang onto all of these tapes for so long and many of them have simply dumped their archives. As a result of it being at a public institution, though, much of the archives are free to access and use.

 

Also, perhaps the folks at SFSU's archive know of people in Wisconsin.

 

https://diva.sfsu.edu/

Adjul Gardner
Pro

I'm about to add a secondary layer to my doc that includes narration and sound effects.  I've read some great books on story (Sheilla Curran Bernard) and of course cinematography...does anybody have a recommendation of material for self-teaching sound effects?  Either written or examples films that use it tastefully.  I'm using it as a comical but metaphorical accent on a certain character and theme and I'm worried about overdoing it.

Kunle Ekunkonye
Fan

I have a rough cut of my first documentary film that I've been working on for 3  years.  How would I go about getting some critical feedback from people at D-Word?

Doug Block
Host

As a "Fan" you can't, Kunle.  From your member profile it's impossible to know the level of your professional experience.  But if you register as a Pro and fill in the form thoroughly we'll certainly take it under serious consideration.

Siddharth Sawhney
Fan

Hi all. New member on-board. Really nice work done on the site.

The question I had was in regards to distribution of documentaries. I am an Indian national who's made a feature length documentary on the issue of Honor Killing and want to distribute it outside India like in US,UK. Is there any resource, website or list of TV channels that I could look up and go about approaching them.

 

Thanks.

 

 

Doug Block
Host

Welcome, Siddarth.  The EDN Guide, put out by the European Documentary Network, would be a great starting point for you.  You might also want to register here as a Pro member rather than just a Fan, which will give you access to many more discussion topics (like Marketing and Distribution).  Make sure to complete your registration form and tell us more about your professional documentary experience.

Jenny Rustemeyer
Pro

In reply to Travis Hawkins's post on Sun 2 Aug 2015:

Maybe you don't know exactly what's going to happen, but you do know why you think it's worth making a film of, so maybe start by picturing a scene that would tell that part of the story and work out from there. The treatment isn't just about events; it also illustrates the tone for the film. Will it be funny? Dramatic? Sad? The language you use in the treatment will let the reader know. Will you use a specific type of shooting? Verite? Reinactments? Archive footage? You probably have an idea of that already, but whomever you are pitching to doesn't know until you tell them.

matt hardy
Fan

Anyone here have experience creating films aboard sailboats? I will be shooting a 90-day docu-series on an 112 foot sailboat traveling over 6,500 nautical miles and would love any advice you might have. Planning on shooting GH4 (Acam) and 6D (Bcam). Besides creative, and logistical help, I'm looking for input regarding how to deal with gear surviving the corrosive nature of the sea (use an underwater housing for stormy days or is there a better way?), best way to capture audio, and gear I can't live without, etc. Your help is greatly appreciated! Thanks,

Bret Bernhoft
Fan

Hello all,

I recently released a simple informational documentary about a particular New Age figure named Teal Swan and I would enjoy any feedback that you may have. Here is a link to the video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOt5lA8OBDE

Thank you for your time and looking forward to your input.

Bret 

Rebecca Romani
Pro

Hi All,

I am applying to the California Humanities (CAH) documentary fund for R&D funds for a broadcast hour doc on the Civil Rights movement, more specifically about a group from a California valley town who chartered a bus to joint the March in Selma (65). I am looking for some humanities experts who might be interested in the project. I have one specialist in Civil Rights movements from UC Davis (the town in question), and am looking for two more- possibly in documentary film itself- preferably Civil Rights-based work and someone who studies community activism. Any suggestions would be welcome! Deadline 10/15/15

Jonathan Craig
Pro

In reply to Rebecca Romani's post on Sat 26 Sep 2015:

 Hi Rebecca,

I recommend reaching out to the professors in the Ethnic Studies Department at San Francisco State University. Many of them were a part of the 1968 San Francisco Student Strike, the longest student strike in American history, which was rooted in the Civil Rights Movement. I interviewed many of them for my documentary on that very strike and they were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful. If they can't answer your questions, I am confident that they can point you in the direction of many who can.

Best of luck!

Jonathan

Doug Block
Host

 

Rebecca, this topic is for Fans who don't have professional documentary experience to ask questions of the Pros.  You're  a Pro member and you'll usually get a better response if you ask questions in the appropriate Pro topic.  In this case, Funding.   Luckily, Jonathan came in with an answer, but for next time...

Rebecca Romani
Pro

Hi Doug,

 

Sorry! Thanks for the heads up! Will post in the right spot.

 

Nico Edwards
Pro

In reply to matt hardy's post on Tue 1 Sep 2015:

 Hi Matt, just did a 10 month trek on a boat with some canon gear. Can't recommend enough getting some great pelican cases and stuffing them with dehumidifying silica canisters that you refresh in the oven. Keep your gear in there when not being used. Much of your stuff will be ruined after the trip no matter what you do, even if you can't see the damage with the naked eye, but should last 3 months. Having L lenses or similarly weather sealed lenses will also help a lot. Lots of backup peripheral equipment helps as well (card readers, etc) no B&H nearby. 

Pia Brar
Fan

Hello everyone!

New member here. I am currently working on a documentary on the art-activism ("artivism") movement unfolding across India right now. We are following the political unrest through the eyes of different artists - film, dance, music, street performance, etc. - and how the communities they work in receive them and their work. We have been to 4 different states thus far and are exploring the issues of caste, gender violence, police brutality and censorship (internal and external) through the film. However, though we have finished shooting, we are currently on hold as we need funding for postproduction. And as expected, with the rising censorship and intolerance in our country, we are wary of putting our project on public crowdfunding campaigns. 

We would like to get onto postproduction as soon as possible as this is a time sensitive topic. Does anybody know of upcoming grants we could apply to? Plus, any advice/tips on making documentaries on sensitive topics in sensitive countries would be great!

Thanks for your help,

Pia

 

 

John Burgan
Host

There are many variations of release forms, but as a starting point that is as good as any

Linda Coussement
Pro

Hi all! I'm in the process of starting a feature length documentary about myself traveling through a continent (not sure which yet) and asking all sorts of people the question 'how is it to be you?'. I would love to bounce ideas with someone who has more experience in the process of storytelling, technical requirements and of course funding. Does anyone have time for (virtual) cup of coffee? I'm of course happy to return the favour in some way!

This is what I've been doing so far: http://howitistobeyou.com/

John Burgan
Host

You will probably get more feedback in Works in Progress, Linda. Above all, you need to become very much more focused (and concrete) about the core idea before any of the technical or financial issues can be addressed. I know you have been making short standalone portraits up to now, but a feature length film needs a solid foundation. I would say that the process of writing a treatment can really help clear the mind and produce something that can proceed to the next stage. 

These resources might help you get started:

https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/filmmaking/doco_resources.aspx

 

 

 

 

 PS - Start by thinking small - rather than asking "what continent", ask "which street corner" and start from there...

Linda Coussement
Pro

In reply to John Burgan's post on Mon 21 Dec 2015:

 Thanks John! I'll repost it in the work in progress category after the holidays and start thinking about the storyline in more detail whilst roadtripping from Budapest to Athens :) 

Happy holidays!

Kayla Kamp
Fan

Hello All,

I am working on a documentary about the options citizens have to reduce, reuse and recycle in Stillwater, OK. When I started, I had just graduated with a bachelors in multimedia journalism. I had always wanted to make a documentary, but I was unable to find an opportunity to work with someone, so I decided a small local project would get my feet wet and hopefully give me more experience for future projects.

The recycling is run by the city, so when I first started I got permission to do the documentary and had a release signed that I could film in certain locations. I did a couple of interviews with the head of the recycling center, I went to do some other interviews, got caught up with work and a year later I tried to schedule an interview with the collection center to go over the materials they take or charge for, just general stuff. I heard that the guy I'm trying to interview is also into repurposing, so I was going to talk with him about that too. Now the city's marketing manager is saying I can't do interview anyone in that department because they are short of staff and I will have to go through her to get the interview. Previous encounters with her lead me to believe it's more than that and she doesn't want me snooping around.

I am just wondering what my options are? Obviously, she is not a fitting interview subject. I could do without the interview but I'm still going to need the b-roll and if she's saying no out of fear then I don't think she would allow me to do that either. What is the best way to approach this subject?

Thanks in advance.

Doug Block
Host

Not quite sure what you mean by "going through her" to get your interview, Kayla.  Did she specifically ask to be interviewed?  But if he's willing why not shoot the interview with the guy you want after hours, since her objection is about how short-handed they are during work hours.

rosie walunas
Pro

Hi, I'm new here and happy to be a part. Just now posted to the Introduction board. I'm an assistant editor transitioning to editor. Looking to work with a seasoned editor to edit and sift through hundreds of hours of content to help put the story together. I want to continue to sharpen my skills and learn from them! It would be great to be kept in mind for doc projects. If anyone here has advice on getting out of assisting and being taken seriously as an editor or up-and-coming editor, that would be great and much appreciated! Thanks all!

Doug Block
Host

As you're a professional member, and since you already introduced yourself in the Introduce Yourself topic, no need to double post here, Rosie.  We try to discourage that (except for the classifieds).

Doug Block
Host

Well, I have good news for you.  You're a pro.  You don't belong here :)

Bethany Taylor
Fan

In reply to Peter Brauer's post on Tue 26 May 2009:

 I am currently filming a documentary on the fly, which deals largely with mobile apps. It would be pretty much impossible for me NOT to include large companies' app logos in shots.   I would love to name them. Do you have advice as to whom I might contact with these companies to get clearance? What kind of documentation I might need? I suppose I could always make my own off-brands like Flitter and Friend-Face, but it's been a bit overdone.

Thank you in advance. This is all new to me ;)

Alain Martin
Fan

Hello everyone,

I find myself mired in a deep post-production mess with my documentary (The Forgotten Occupation about the US Occupation of Haiti). My editor tells me he doesn't like the script and we've been pretty much stalled. I've never written a doc script and from my research, ain't really no specific and particular way to write a doc script. Can anyone one recommend any documentary writing consultants that I might hire to have a look at the script and get the engine rolling? Thanks very much!!

Doug Block
Host

I'll second Gwendolyn's recommendation of Fernanda. You can't do better.

Dan Wayne
Pro

Hi folks, I've spent a ton of time on this site and appreciate the time and effort so many put into answering questions. It has been very helpful.


I'm finishing up my first feature and my editor just quit. Not sure what I'm going to do, most of the cutting is done but I could use someone who can guide me through the final steps. One big question I have, and I realize there is a big range, how much does editing generally cost for a doc feature. For those of you who have made several, I'd love to find out low to high. I'm talking strictly editing fees, including an assistant (if there is one). Thanks!

Doug Block
Host

Depends on where you live, Dan.  In NY and LA, top editors generally get $600/day and upwards.  And that's without an assistant.  You can get someone for less, and often someone good, but it would be for an up-and-comer, or a case where the timing is good for someone more experienced and they have a gap in their schedule.  Or if the subject of your doc is an issue they care deeply about.   It would be hard to find someone really good who'd work for less than $400/day, though not impossible.

Dan Wayne
Pro

Thanks, Doug. I've been combing the site through searches. I think I'm getting better at it. I'm in Kansas City, but there's no reason for my editor to be here.

Doug Block
Host

By the way, you shouldn't be posting questions in the Mentoring Room as you have Pro status.  This is meant for Fans, who don't have access to all the other discussion topics.  We don't encourage double posting, but in this case feel free to ask your question again in the Editing topic.

Dan Wayne
Pro

Thanks, I wasn't sure about that. I need a mentor!

Erica Ginsberg
Host

Hey Dan, you should also check out the Professional Classifieds since Ethan Steinman was looking for PA recommendations in Kansas City. You might have some suggestions and, who knows, maybe he has some recommendations on an editor. I'm tagging him just in case.

And Alain, I third the recommendation on Fernanda. Heck, I'll tag her too.

 

Mentioned: Ethan Steinman and Fernanda Rossi
Fernanda Rossi
Pro

A robot called me. Erica tagged me. Ok What do I do now?

My email is info AT documentary doctor DOT com for whoever was looking for me.

 

thanks Erica :)

[Edited by Erica so e-mail address won't be picked up by spiders since this is a publicly searchable topic]

Zak Carter
Pro

In reply to Kayla Kamp's post on Tue 5 Jan 2016:

 Kayla, as a fan of Michael Moore's "Roger & Me" and Kip Andersen's much more recent "Cowspiracy," sometimes getting denied an in person interview on film can really add to the story!


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