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Introduce Yourself: Sign In Here First

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.

Brian Lio
Wed 25 Mar 2009Link

Greetings everyone,

My name is Brian Lio, and I am excited to have found a community of so many established documentary filmmakers. I just recently got into this space about a year ago when I founded a small production company with my friends and left a job in marketing to see if we could strike out on our own and make something work. I had not so much as held a camera when this whole thing started, so it has been quite the whirlwind learning process for me along the way.

We have been shooting a weekly documentary reality show called Jet Set Zero that follows the lives of a core cast as they attempt to start from nothing and fund their travels around the world living, working, and interacting locally.

Our goal is to try and tell the stories of what it is like to really live in a culture though personal experiences, and show that it an accessible dream to everyone by having a cast that funds themselves and opening the finances. We have been filming and releasing content for the past 9 months and have been shooting in Seattle, Saigon, Bangkok, Tokyo, and now Seoul. Its been an amazing experience and I am lucky to have a great team to learn from.

I look forward to getting feedback from everyone here and learning about what it takes to make a documentary series really successful. You can check out my work at


Doug Block
Wed 25 Mar 2009Link

Hmmm, great content + great promotion = successful series. As long as we don't talk about funding, how's that for a formula, Brian? Anyway, sounds like a great idea and loads of fun (if you're young). Welcome to The D-Word.

Girish Sharma
Wed 25 Mar 2009Link

Hi Everyone,

I am an aspiring filmmaker (is there a word like "aspiring filmmaker"?). I haven't done any productive work yet. I was looking for some guidance to start and do it. Can someone suggest which camera (new or old) we need to making short movies? Any other suggestions for aspiring filmmakers? :)

James Longley
Wed 25 Mar 2009Link

about cameras for short films / low budget – I'm a big fan of the Panasonic DVX100A.

Simon de Swardt
Wed 25 Mar 2009Link

Hi everyone
Just joined following a link from I am a very new documentary film-maker who has just jumped into the deepest of deep ends. I have two huge projects going on at the moment: one of which, considering my location, is politically sensitive and so will remain a mystery, but the other one I am keen to get some input on.
Basically over the years I have worked in many different capacities at a big Harare arts festival called HIFA. The festival is a complete miracle considering the economic and political context and I want to capture the sense of wonder and incredible achievement as the directors of the festival battle with the worst inflation in the world (over a sextillion percent), a cholera epidemic, a shattered economy, terrible phones and internet, arrogant foreign artists, indignant local artists, highly demanding corporate sponsors, difficult diplomats, etc. It is an exciting project, and I have just begun it. Started filming on Saturday – I have about 6 weeks before the festival starts. The real good footage will come in the last few days before the festival starts, but in the meantime I am laying the groundwork, trying to get some b-roll, building trust (a huge exercise, even considering my many years successful relationship with the organisers), practising some run and gun handheld shooting, etc.
Any recommendations, ideas, tips?
I am pretty worried about the millions of releases I am going to need. The dance rehearsal I just shot had 30 dancers in it! and that is only day two of shooting. Also, worried about incidental music appearing in shots, and the whole host of problems associated with clearing rights for that kind of thing. Seeing as this is an arts festival there will be a huge amount of artistic copyright issues I imagine.
Also I am trying to get as much observational stuff as possible and not interview people formally if I can avoid it. so what seems like a good shooting ratio in this kind of scenario, 60:1 ? I am trying to make a saleable end product which will have the duration of a tv hour – about 50 minutes. I am hoping to try and sell to tv stations etc, as I believe the topic will at least have some novelty value, and it is theoretically current affairs related as well. Anyways, any thoughts from anyone, any pointers as to possible difficulties I am going to have, warnings, tips?
This is my first post here, so this is almost certainly not the place to ask such detailed stuff, anyway – at least you know who I am and what I am up to!
Oh, I have a Sony EX1 and various mics etc. i don't have enough media or batteries, but maybe you never do?

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

I just joined the forum to see what stuff is being made everywhere!! And to be able to chat with James Longley of course!
Hi James!

James Longley
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Hi Pablo.

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Hi James,

Its awesome to be in a forum with such great filmmakers as yourself. Ok, so Ive had something that ive wanted to tell you for a couple of years now. It all started about 3 years ago when I watched Iraq In Fragments. At that point I was on my 1st year of Film School and although I was learning about the sensitivity in storytelling, I was more impressed with camerawork. When I saw that film I was blown away. At that point I thought it was only the camerawork what was amazing and I managed to find your contact at DVX user and I sent you a note asking you ONLY about the presets you used to achieve these images. You replied in no time with all the numbers and I punched them into my newly purchased DVX 100A as if those numbers alone would aquire those pictures.
Now.. for all of these years i have regretted enormously just having asked you about those presets.. I have grown out of the tech freak school mentality and I can watch your film now without focusing on shutter speeds, or framings or whatever. That film has taught me lots of things. I go back to it once in a while to learn when Im feeling stuck creatively.

Ok so all of this is to say.. sorry for just asking what the numbers in your DVX setting were, when you had made such an amazing, human piece.


James Longley
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Thank you, Pablo. You're very kind.

But if you're looking for humanity and sensitivity, there are a lot of filmmakers who've been able to capture that better – and a lot of them are on this forum. Take a look at Doug Block's film 51 Birch Street, just for instance.

Preston Hart
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Hi. My name is Preston Hart. I am a Brooklyn based composer and producer of music for films and have scored a couple of documentaries by DC's Eidolon Films. I am looking for new projects so please feel free to contact me.

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