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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 www.jetsetzero.tv.

-Brian


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 dvinfo.net. 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?
Simon


Pablo Alvarez
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Hi,
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!
p.


James Longley
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Hi Pablo.


Pablo Alvarez
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.

pablo


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.


Doug Block
Fri 27 Mar 2009Link

Welcome, Pablo and Preston!

Thanks, James. I'll trade some humanity for your presets, though.


James Longley
Sat 28 Mar 2009Link Tag

These are okay:

http://dvfilm.com/maker/dvx100settings.htm

the settings are nothing special – keeping the iris open is more important. Oh yeah – and get close to your subject and shoot wide.


Valerie Reynolds
Sun 29 Mar 2009Link

Hi everyone,
Stumbled upon this site via 2-pop and so glad that I did. I am currently working on a feature length doc working title: Jimi Hendrix: The Early Years
It's about the time right after the Army when he and Billy Cox were living in Nashville. It's about him but it's also about the thriving R&B scene in Music City at the time. It's a side of Nashville that really hasn't been told.

I finished the interviews (30+) and currently working in FCpro, researching archives, licensing, figuring out to pitch it etc.
I ran out and got the interviews first because these guys were not getting any younger...3 have already passed away that I got including Larry Lee last October. I have an hour interview with him and it was probably the last one he did.
I shot everything on a GL2 & an FX1 in SD Have gathered a few more people to help and things a moving forward. I'm sure I will have lots of questions. Grateful to have a place like here to ask them. Looking forward to getting to know some of you.


Doug Block
Sun 29 Mar 2009Link

Glad you found us, Valerie. Sounds like a fun project, hope it all works out. And you find the money for those music rights ;-)


Valerie Reynolds
Sun 29 Mar 2009Link

thanks, luckily most of people i interviewed have their own cd's so won't be using much (if any) hendrix tunes. we'll see. you know they did a documentary about bluesman robert johnson (at the crossroads) and all they had was a photo. we'll see...haven't approached Janie Hendrix yet but have a feeling it would be way out of my budget.


Gregory Rossi
Tue 31 Mar 2009Link

happy to be here with the d-word. I'm a filmmaker from a book background which means I'm still learning to work with a more engaging visual style. I've got my first documentary CONNECT USA premiering at the FirstGlance Film Festival in Hollywood next month. Much of my work until now is oral history based (interview heavy), and CONNECT USA is the story of me traveling across the USA interviewing people over a game of Connect Four (see the trailer at www.bodegavision.com)

Going forward as I look to make more documentaries, I look forward to not making it in the woodshed like I did this one, but among a community of doc filmmakers.


Christopher Wong
Tue 31 Mar 2009Link

very cool idea, gregory! welcome to the D-Word...


Marj Safinia
Tue 31 Mar 2009Link

Welcome, Gregory. You should consider applying for full membership, which will give you access to all the topics. It's free, but not automatic.


Gregory Rossi
Tue 31 Mar 2009Link

thanks for welcome, I'll apply for the full membership when I get a breather. Right now looking to poster and drop postcards in LA, Marj have any ideas on how to get someone to help me over there? I can be reached also at connect@bodegavision.com


Regan Brashear
Tue 31 Mar 2009Link

Hi everyone,
I'm so happy to have found the D-Word and look forward to learning from and connecting with you all! I am currently finishing a film about human enhancement technologies (bionic limbs, brain-machine interfaces, prenatal screening technologies, etc...)and disability rights called Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement. In it, I follow three main characters, each of whom has a severe disability and each has a different perspective and stake in these emerging technologies. The film is trying to raise ethical/philosophical questions for us all to grapple with: how will these technologies change what it means to be human, "who" is allowed to be born, what values are embedded within the culture that are perpetuated by these technnologies, etc... I'm very excited about it, and have received great feedback so far, but am feeling a bit stuck about where to go from here. I started the project as my thesis for my master's program at UCSC in Social Documentation (Documentary Film) which I completed this past June. While the program is excellent in supporting us to go deep with our research and analysis and thinking about story structure, voice, etc.. it was quite light when it comes to post and to distribution or anything relating to the business side of things! So I am looking for advice here on these fronts. (I'll post more specific questions in various threads but do welcome any feedback).

I also want to share that after working on my film intensely for the last three years, I'm really excited to connect with other documentary filmmakers and am looking for other projects to crew on. So if anyone is looking for help, i.e. camera, research, writing, assistant directing, PA, editing, even just brainstorming ideas together, please keep me in mind (especially in the Bay Area, but I'd be very willing to travel too for the right project).

I am also about to invest in a camera in the next few days, but am still wavering between the HPX170 and the HMC150 (I'd love more advice on this, but I'll take it to the camera thread).

So thanks to all, especially the hosts! See ya on the forums!


Doug Block
Wed 1 Apr 2009Link

Welcome, Regan. I highly recommend you start by reading the vast archives of the Marketing and Distribution topic. Or at least the past year or so. You'll get up to speed pretty quickly just from that.


Ariel Saturay
Wed 1 Apr 2009Link

i am a member of kodao productions here in the Philippines. Kodao is an indigenous word meaning journal. we make social and political documentaries. We also have a radio program that was blacklisted by the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo because of being outspoken about the administration's corrupt management of our country.


Doug Block
Wed 1 Apr 2009Link

Welcome, Ariel. Do register for full membership .


Graeme Orr
Wed 1 Apr 2009Link

Hello Everyone,
My name is Graeme Orr and I was born in England, grew up in Australia and now live in Canada. I am finishing of my first feature length documentary at the moment. I am very glad to have found this site. I live in a kind of creative bubble. Been working hard on my doc which I am producing, directing, writing, shooting and editing on my own. I love the art forma nd have a subject I am very passionate about.

My film, 'Road to Nirvana' is about how a chance meeting with a humanitarian has changed my life for ever. It was kind of lost. Knowing only that I wanted to learn more about the world and had dreams of using my passion for Documentaries to somehow positively impact the world. Then I was shooting for the local news one day and had to interview a man who builds schools and orpahanges all over the world and bring medical aid to those in need. He still holds down a full-time job and helps his wife run a business. At first I didn't know what to expect but the more time I spent with him I realised he was the answer to a lot of my personal neds aswell as proffessional ones. We travelled to Kenya, Egypt, India, Nepal and Sudan on crazy adventures to see some of the poorest people on the planet. It didn't take long for me to realise how spoit the western world is. I came back from each trip a little different. With a new perspective. I knew I had to make this into a feature and get as many people as possible to see it. I was extremely fortuate and now I feel it is my duty to spread AShid (my subject) message. 'In helping others lies the true significance of living'.

The drama and arch of the story revolves around Ashid's realization that he isn't getting any younger and after 30 years he needs to find some way of making his society survive after he is gone. After being a humble man who did very little self promotion he now realizes he must bring a new generation into the mix so when he is gone it won't all fall away. That is were I come in. Together we are taking his message to the world from the point of view of some one who at first had no really understanding of what he was talking about to now dedicating what has been 2 years of my life on fulfilling what I believe to be my duty or calling if you like.

WOW!! I really can rant on about this project.

Long story short (kind of) .. that's what I am doing at the moment. We have one shoot left in Cambodia and possibly another in The Dominican Republic. I'll be at Hot Docs in Toronto at the end of the month trying to learn the pitching process and aiming to meet the people who can help get this story out to the world.

I look forward to interacting with fellow passionate documentary filmmakers here at The D-Word. I'm sure I'll have plenty of questions for you all. I also look forward to researching some of your films so I can pick your brains even more about specifics. This site is just what I need. Wish I had found it sooner.

Graeme


Doug Block
Wed 1 Apr 2009Link

Great to have you here, Graeme. Like with Ariel, feel free to sign up for full membership here ...


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