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
Actually, post your answers here instead of emailing Jesse. He can
always come back, and it would be valuable to have the answers
archived.
John Burgan
Host
"A documentary is a film without women. If there is a woman, it's a
semi-documentary." said Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures: quoted
by Fred Zinneman in his autobiography.

I don't necessarily concur with this opinion, but there you go.
Doug Block
Host
How's this...? "A work, such as a film or television program,
presenting political, social, or historical subject matter in a
factual and informative manner and often consisting of actual news
films or interviews accompanied by narration."

Actually, got this at www.dictionary.com. And it's about 20 years
out of date!

Today, it's more like... a story with a sweeping dramatic arc,
featuring fascinating characters in a highly unusal situation of great
conflict, where the filmmakers had complete access at all times.

Sound like fiction films? Well, check out the HBO schedule sometime.
Deleted User
Fan
Thanks these are all fantastic. I look foreward to any others you
may have. Many thanks again, you guys are great.
Ben Kempas
Pro
Documentaries are made out of curiosity and manage to keep the
viewers' curiosity alive.

Documentaries are made out of responsibility and manage to make the
viewers aware of their responsibility.

How's that?
Paul Robinson
Pro
I have a pretty simple question. I am in the middle of shooting a
documentary on a local heavyweight bower and have had several
inquires already about it. My question is regarding license fees and
broadcasting rights, how much ? One partcular inquiry came from a tv
station in Indonesia ! I would like to have some idea of the price
range before I blunder in and blow the whole deal! Any information
would be greatly appreciated
Doug Block
Host
Don't know for sure, Paul, but I doubt it's much. You should read
the Jan Rofekamp conference we just held, and especially the link to
his report on the state of the international marketplace.
Rachelle Cournoyer
Pro
Look in the international TV trade magaziness, MIP TV issue. They
give dollar values for television sales in various countries that are
fairly reliable in giving a ballpark.
Craig Highberger
Pro
I am working on a biographical documentary of a person who was a now
little-known performer (now deceased). I have many photos from the
subjects personal collection, performance stills and studio shots
(for PR). Several dozen I want to use are unattributed... and most
are decades old and none of the surviving friends or relatives have
any idea of who the photogs were. I remember seeing a documentary
several years ago that had something in the end credits along the
lines of acknowledging these unattributed photos... anyone have any
thoughts on this?
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