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.

Tim Pearce
Pro
Hi,

I'm a newbie Canadian filmmaker living for a while in Osaka, Japan. I
am shooting a no-budget documentary about my time in Japan (and then
India as well for an additional 8 months). My project in self-financed
(so far) and I hope to join with the National Film Board beginner
filmmaker programme for them to act as producers and possible
distributors after I return to Canada. This is my first production and
I don't know what to expect in terms of final use but I'm hoping for
at least some small festivals and maybe some very small canadian
release of some sort. I am the only crew member and I am in the midst
of contacting the Osaka city government for permission to shoot in the
streets, and also a train company about trains/subways. I send a DVD
copy of my footage that I want to use off the the city Film Council
and was told today that most companies or buildings would want a usage
fee for me to use my footage in my doc. I was told that at least 2
places would want 60000 Yen (about 550$ U.S.) each! This is way out of
my non-existant budget which for the most part has been used to buy a
camera and editing setup. My budget so far (mostly on equipment) has
been about 9000$US. Seeing as I have 6-7 locations like that, I'm not
sure what to do. Are usage fees standard for location shoots? Any
suggestions from people who have dealt with this issue? Thanks!!
Doug Block
Host
ahem, i'm no lawyer and, ahem, OF COURSE you should consult a
lawyer... but no, they're not standard. i've never paid a location
fee. just be as unobtrusive as you can and shoot it.
Randolfe Wicker
Pro
It sounds like a rip off to me. I'm no expert. However, I've read
a lot of discussions and have had experiences with several
documentary makers.

From what they say, you run into all these "release" problems when
you try to get your final product broadcast on television. I gather
that "release" problems are not nearly such a problem when it comes
to getting film festivals to show your work.

I gather you are not in a position to "give" your work away. I
personally am going to try vlogging segments (five minute sections)
of a documentary I am working on to create interest and gather a
following. You can check out vlogging by looking at tutorials on
www.freevlog.org There is a great Yahoo Videobloggers Group.
However, you'll be buried in a hundred emails daily if you get them
delivered individually.
Maureen Futtner
Fan
I imagine if I want to use stills of stories from a newspaper or
magazine, I certainly have to get permission to license rights to
that, right? Whom, or what department, would I contact at a
newspaper or periodical?

Thanks, as always, for being here.

Maureen
Doug Block
Host
In short... yes, you do. They may have a legal dept. or you could
try the editor in chief. Doesn't really matter. Just explain what
you're doing and ask for whoever it is you'd need to talk to.
Steve Holmes
Pro
Michael posted: <<I am currently working on a documentary about an
Iraq war veteran, who shot his own video footage in Iraq, and has
since been speaking out against the war, including in the local
Binghamton, NY area, Crawford, TX for Camp Casey, etc.

Are there any grants or film financers interested in the current
political climate?>>

Probably so, but the potential for controversy might scare off a lot
of groups. I wonder if I heard right, that Michael Moore provides
funding for "leftie" kinds of shows.

One group that controversy won't scare off is ITVS
(http://www.itvs.org/), a funding arm of the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting. You can apply for a production contract (they don't
like the term "grant") on your own or join forces with a PBS
affiliate and go through the LInCS program.

You might try the Foundation Center's database search
(http://fdncenter.org/funders/grantmaker/index.html). Enter a
relevant keyword. The Center has donated copies of its core
collection of grantwriting books to libraries around the country.
Check the website (http://fdncenter.org/collections/) for the
collection nearest you.


<<I have a good fifty hours shot.>>

Have you put a trailer together, a three- to five-minute piece that
features your best bang-up, rockum-sockum material? That's your best
bet for funding: show 'em the story you have so far.
Michael Lieberman
Fan
Thanks for those tips.

I'm kind of struggling with this political mess. I am indeed to the
left, but I'm doing my best to understand this individual from a
non-political standpoint.

In my opinion, the problem with the recent leftist films is that they
are not terribly cinematic. Perhaps not even films, but essays or tv
programs in a different medium.

They also don't look at the subjects and/or subject matter from a
"foreign" point of view, and by that I mean from the point of view an
outsider, not in the loop. Of course anyone in the left (or right) can
identify with some filmic gestures on the part of whomever is behind a
camera, as their political cinema eye and ear makes these notations.

I'm seriously trying to shed as much slant as I can, but not my identity.

And I will put a five minute piece together. I think a visual
explanation is far better than my huffy-puffy way of doing so verbally.

Again, thanks again for those tips. I will look into all of them.
Laura Harvey
Pro
Hi I have been in video production/media services long time. Now I
want to start my own business and want to produce several
documentary videos and selling to schools and individuals. I am
not sure how to produce documentary, legal issues. Is there a book
or a place that I can read and understand the process? In my
hopefully documentary that actress in movies and TVs and i would
like to use some clips. How can I get them? fee? who right person
to contact about it? Thanks
Maria Vougioukalaki
Pro
i think this is the right post to ask you guys(sorry if its a stupid
question...)
ok so i have to do my dissertation and i was thinking music
documentary..I looked up a lot and pa pennebaker seems to be the guy
for the job:p
what do u think ???Im not really fond of bob dylan or rolling stones
(sorry dont yell:p)but i do love the beatles and also monterey pop
looks interesting..Apart from that im a HUGE fan of electro pop any
suggestions for documentaries on that?Pennebaker's film on (my fave
group of ALL time)depeche mode though i havent watched seems more
like "greatest hits moments on a tour" than real documentary, what do
u think?
thx anyway:)
Doug Block
Host
it's actually d.a. pennebaker, maria (although i saw him the other
day and found out he's got 8 kids, so i guess he is a pa). anyway,
he'd be fantastic for your dissertation, imho.
Loading...