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.

Deleted User
It would be far easier to edit with a digital source. There are
programs for Mac and PC that will do a very good job for little more
than $100. Doug is right you will have to spend close to $1000 for a
new digital camera and I personally would not buy one second-hand
unless I knew who I was buying from. Perhaps you might rent or borrow
one for a specific project.
Doug Block
Thanks for the followup, Billy. Why doncha tell us all about the
glory of you in the Introduce Yourself thread: LINK NOT IMPORTED
Kai Hagen
Thanks for the insight, guys.

I wish the camera was cheaper, but that is about what I expected. I
think I might at least look at a used one or two - but renting or
borrowing seems like the best option for a one-time, three minute

I've got a G4, Doug, purchased last year. I wonder if I have the
software I need. Probably I suppose I would have known it
(even though I didn't need it).
John D. Williams
I was wondering if a topic could be created here to alert us to
places/times/dates where we can see documentary films. A topic named
something like:

Festivals & Screenings: Where you can see documentary films

This topic is where film festival dates and individual screening
dates for films on television or colleges, etc., etc., etc.

Does that sound like a good idea? I know about some of the bigger
festivals (Sundance, Hot Springs, etc.), but if I knew someone's film
had a screening date at UT-Arlington just 45 minutes away, that would
be nice to know about. And if I should happen to learn that TCU is
showing a Robert Flaherty film which is open to the public, it would
be nice to have a topic where I could share that info.

Sure, we're spread out all over the country and if someone posts that
their new film is playing in Boston I'm not going to hop on the next
plane, but if, for example, I knew Doug Block or Robert Goodman or
some other D-Worder was going to be at Chico State University while I
was visiting my parents -- hey, I'd go see them -- Doug or Robert,
that is ... and my folks, too. :-)

A place to know about television and/or cable network screenings
would be especially helpful.

Just an idea.
Jen Williams
I think it's a good idea. Maybe the Shameless Self-Promotion topic
could be expanded to include the promotion of others as well. For
example, I wanted to alert anyone who might be interested that Ken
Burns' documentary on jazz will begin airing on 1/08/01 on PBS, but I
wasn't sure where to post it. Also, if people go to a big festival
that maybe not everyone could get to, they could give reveiws of the
films or talk about the techniques they saw. I know *i'd* be
interested in something like that.

Robert Goodman
Sounds like an excellent idea. Just open a new topic and start
posting notices. I'm sure any of us with films playing will post a
Doug Block
John, Jen, Robert, your wish is our command: LINK NOT IMPORTED
Deleted User
Hello fellow Doc enthusiasts... Is it my imagination, or has no
one posted here for 6 months? Okay...heres another suggestion.
How about a place to post/read listings of doc talent divided up
by region and/or city? I would love to have a place to find a
partner to work on my project, or create a local doc community to
share ideas up close and personal. Any interest?
Linda Goin
I introduced myself over in The D-Word LINK NOT IMPORTED (don't know if
that linking method will work - lousy at that). I'm located in
Schaumburg, IL, outside of Chicago. Moved here from Colorado in
November, 2000, since it's easier and less expensive to fly in and
out of O'Hare than any other airport I can think of. It's actually
easier to get to other parts of the country from here than it is to
get into downtown Chicago.

I don't travel as much as I used to, but I'm flexible. Most of my
clients live a good distance away - we're all wired to the Internet,
so that saves some travel time and money. Would be interested myself
to see who's in this area, however.
Deleted User
Hello everyone, while taping construction sites for my project about
growth in NC, I have been approached by workers wanting to know what
I'm doing, and why. I'm taping from across the street, so they can't
say I'm trespassing. At first they try to bully me, then, when I
stand up to them and politely state what I'm doing, they back down.
Has anyone else run into this when filming, and how did you handle
your situation? Does anyone have any good war stories?

Thanks in advance,
Tony Esposito
Doug Block
Tony, why don't you try politely stating what you're doing FIRST?
Might save you a lot of aggravation. Not to mention, it's just common
courtesy. And who knows what interesting footage it might lead to
once you start talking to some workers.
Robert Goodman
Try talking to the project manager (usually in the construction
office). The guys on the site are probably worried that you're taping
them to make sure they're not goofing off, performing work that would
invalidate a disability claim, attempting to bust the union, catch
stealing of construction materials, spying on them flirting with
passersby for a divorce case or anything else that goes through
anyone's head when you're being surveilled.
Deleted User
Thanks for the input Doug and Robert. I'll give your ideas a try. I
suppose I could film on the weekends when there are no workers there.
My coworkers at the local NBC affiliate also pointed out they may
think I'm with the INS looking for illegal workers.
Thanks again
Tony Esposito
Deleted User
Hi. I'm Adele and I've been asked by our local cable access
coordinator to make three thirty minute shows on emergency
preparations for winter storms or terrorist attacks. My family, (my
16 year old daughter and my boyfriend), and I, are all going to take
the cable show production course in the next week. I'm a total
beginner at producing though I hosted two cooking shows once. I also
have a BFA. Here are my questions: I'm writing the show in my head-
the kernal of what I'm trying to communicate. Is the best approach to
schedule time where I sit down and write the show? Is it like writing
a letter where it takes time to phrase things so that the logic of
what you really want to say finally comes across in an elegant way?
Or, because televised video is not text, you need to think and write
differently? Do I only need to write an outline and then wing it? I
want to help people see how they can put together some supplies in
case they have to live on their own for a few days up to a couple of
weeks. Thank you listening. I would appreciate even a small amount of
help. Thanks, again.
Doug Block
An outline is helpful, Adele, for sure. But unless you're an expert
in terrorism yourself, you might want to start by rounding up a few
experts and videotaping interviews with them. Then tape them (or
someone) demonstrating some of the things they advise.

Remember, tv is a visual medium and you need to think about conveying
information visually.

Taking a course is a great idea, too.

Good luck!
Ben Kempas
The 1950s saw some great films of this kind ...
They offered advice for the unlikely event of a nuclear attack, and
all they told people was to "duck and cover".

Maybe that could be a way to start for you: Buy some of the old
library footage only to invite people to follow a more up-to-date
approach instead. If you make people smile, they will remember much
better what they've been told.

Signed, Ben under the breakfast table with a newspaper sheet on top of
his head.
Deleted User
Both great ideas! Especially the newspaper over the head as a
radiation deterrent. In the early sixties, at my boarding school
outside DC, I asked about the Civil Defense signs over the doorways
to the basement laundry rooms. I knew a basement was not going to
protect us, and my seeing and commenting on the absurdity of the
signs was highly unappreciated by the "authorities". The fifties
films would be good and I like the advice on interviewing experts,
because this is not my field. Thank you!!!
David Herman
The newspaper over Ben's head is to hide his identity. Otherwise he
is a brilliant filmmaker. I know. I saw one of his efforts on the web
recently. Super stuff. Maybe he could post the URL.
Deleted User
Hi all. I am working on a documenatary on my school. I am currently
only 16 but so far I have been able to wing it. I was wondering if
anyone knew of any good places to look for writing a good proposal
for getting my documentary shown on our local television station. I
have already talked to the producer, and he said he was interested in
the program, for my school is closing down and re-locating. He has
asked me to write up a proposal. I was planning on writing up
keypoint sheets, for them to look at, and then doing a powerepoint
presentation, and presenting storyboards of my project. Ifyou know
of a place to look for writing proposals,could you please let me
know, Thanks
James Hannon
Hiya, it doesnt look like this Topic gets much use lately, so I'll
send out a scout message to see if anyones still watching...

If theres a better place to ask, let me know...I know the D-Word
Community Forum is a bit more popular, but theres no direct Newbie
help topic that ive seen...People have been great answering my
questions in the separate topics tho...

-=James aka "Newbie James" LOL
Ben Kempas
Well, {LINK NOT IMPORTED} is "popular" in the sense that it is public.
{LINK NOT IMPORTED} is for members only. Topics in the Community
tend to be more specific than the ones in this rather general forum.

Post wherever you feel comfortable. We don't bite. Well, I don't.
Maybe Doug does?