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I've been researching books about Documentary film making and it has led me to this website. I've had a huge interest for this genre for quite awhile but had not ever tapped into it the way I would imagine how an enthusiast would. Thereby, I'm now taking those steps to learning as much as possible. Hopefully, I can pickup significant knowledge, tips, and the sorts from everyone here. Thanks!
The D-Word has been very insipirational site for me as I prepare to pitch a documentary proposal..
I feel a little bit of a fraud as I am currently not a documentary film-maker but a television journalist. I began working as a journalist in 1994 but became a producer/director and made documentaries for Channel 4. I moved from documentaries back to journalism in 1999 because of job security and an offer of a BBC staff job which was too good to turn down. Ten years on, four children later, I am still reporting at BBC Scotland but have ditched the crew and editor and now work as a video journalist. I report for our flagship current affairs programme, The Politics Show. Over three days I have to find a story and make a five to nine minute film and arrange a discussion to follow. I film with a Z1 and edit on Avid. My stories are all character led and take me across the world. I was one of the first reporters at BBC Scotland to train as a video journalist in 2002 and have loved the transition despite the huge workload.
For me, the last six years have been about honing my film making and story telling skills so that I can go back to making documentaries when the kids are at school and there are fewer demands from me as a parent.
For 8 years I have been dreaming about making a documentary series set in the Canadian Arctic and I am now finally preparing to pitch the idea to BBC Scotland and BBC Four. In 2001, I spent two months living in the Canadian Arctic and made a series of radios features. It was then that I met my key characters and since I have been building up my relationship with them and knowledge of the area and people. I am now planning to go back in May 2010 armed with my camera. Well that's if they buy the idea!
Now that the proposal is almost in place, I need to think about whether I should be trying to get on a BBC course to use a more advanced camera than the Z1. I'm proposing to self shoot as the budget will mostly be eaten up by travel and staff costs, so there is no room to bring an ap/sound person. There's a lot I have to learn and find out about..so many questions..so I am so happy to have found the d-word..
If anyone ever needs any Scottish contacts/interviews/footage etc, I'd be more than happy to help out as a favour. Or if you're bringing your film to one of our festivals in Edinburgh get in touch. We're only a few minutes walk from the Filmhouse and if you're stuck for a place to say we may be able to help out.
In reply to Gilly Mathieson's post on Tue 2 Jun 2009 :
Good luck Gilly, and welcome! Pls keep us informed about your progress...
Thanks for introducing yourself, Gilly, and great to have you among us. Wish you'd posted last year, I was in Edinburgh for a mentorship program with the Scottish Documentary Council (if I remember their name correctly) and I screened 51 Birch Street at the Filmhouse. I've also been working with Edinburgh-based filmmaker Amy Hardie as producer on her upcoming personal doc. Do you know her? It's really extraordinary, just saw the latest cut yesterday and I'm very excited.
Anyway, hopefully we'll meet up next time I'm there. Good luck with your project, in the meantime.
Im currently directing/ editing my first feature length documentary film. Hit a point where I realize that even though I've spent the past eights years editing promo length films, editing feature length is a whole other animal!! So after about a year and a half shooting, logging, cutting trailers, trying to piece together scenes, I still feel completely unorganized! But the stuff is so compelling and Im confidant we have a great film, the question is how to proceed... Do we write a script? How to we organize tapes? Should we get a mentor? Etc... So I'm here to meet other doc makers and learn a thing or two! Looking forward!
Welcome to The D-Word, Yocheved. You might want to take a look at back posts in the Editing and Post-Production topic (or do a search). We've had a number of discussions about how to go about organizing tons of footage.
I also highly recommend you get in touch with a consultant like Fernanda Rossi, who is NY-based and just led an info-packed, week-long discussion of story structure here, which is now archived.
In reply to Doug Block's post on Tue 2 Jun 2009 :
Thanks Doug. It would be lovely to meet up when you're next over in Edinburgh. I've not yet met Amy but know her by reputation and the documentary institute she founded a few years ago. I'll look forward to watching her new film when it comes out. The SDI has some fantastic masterclasses many of which are on-line. James Longley was there only last month but unfortunately I couldn't make it as I was filming out of Edinburgh for a few days.
Hello. I've been an editor for 14 years in New York City and have just JUST moved to Santa Fe, NM (still waiting for my furniture to get here). I've worked on tons of doc projects for T.V. For the past couple of years I've been working on a reality/docusoap ("Flip This House" for A&E) and I thought I was bringing remote work with me -- an offshoot of that show -- but found out Friday that the plug had been pulled on the show a couple of months into production. So here I am without gainful employment, and wondering where to start (short of taking a job at Trader Joe's). Anyone have any ideas about how to go about getting post production work in Santa Fe? Gov. Bill Richardson has put in place an amazing tax rebate for filmmakers and it has spurred a ton of film production, but the post hasn't arrived as far as I can tell. I'm here with my little Avid setup and my highspeed internet and would be thrilled to work remotely from my new adobe home!
Anyway, nice to be here (on the d-word and in Santa Fe).[accidental strike-through edited]
Welcome, Molly. Why don't you contact the NM Office of Motion Pictures and see if they can hook you up with any local film outfits? And maybe hang notices in the cool coffee shops in town?
I never had in mind to become a filmmaker or work for TV branch at all, as I am studied lawyer... but when I accidentally took part in a production for a documentary for German TV I was hooked. So far I was involved as co-author, author or producer in ten non-fiction productions and made my experience mostly on the German market. But since beginning of the year I am working for a production company who wants to extend their experience to internationally co-productions – a lot to do and learn here for me! With D-Word I'd like get in touch with others filmmakers, authors and producers etc and simply share the love for documentaries.
Nice to be here!
Sunny greetings from Berlin, Germany
Great to have you with us, Jessica. Hope you'll leap right into the discussions.
Just a quick note to introduce myself. I'm an independent filmmaker based about an hour outside Washington, D.C. I've spent much of my career as a First Assistant Director in the Hollywood film industry – but early on, began also to create small movies for nonprofit organizations involved in global anti-poverty work – especially in the area of microfinance. Gradually, over a twenty-year stretch, the emphasis shifted to where I no longer do any A.D. work, and I've branched out into full-fledged documentary work. I'm working on a number of projects, but the most germane one to share is one in which I'm spending time periodically with a sixteen-year-old boy with autism. His story in poignant, his obstacles large, and his strength of character impressive – and, the biggest challenge as I move forward is how to shape a multi-faceted story. I anticipate that in the future, I'll want to seek more concrete advice; for now, I'm just saying hi. I'm going to share this project at the upcoming F2F session attached to Silverdocs next week – so perhaps I'll meet some of you there.
I am a new filmmaker working out of the Boston area. I'm trying to gain experience in the business and learn as much as possible. I recently completed a short documentary for my thesis in the MFA program at Boston University called "The Spirit of a Runner." The film follows Washington D.C. native Suprabha Beckjord as she embarks on the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race for an unprecedented 12th year in a row. For those of you who don't know anything about this event, it is an unbelievable athletic endeavor in which runners log anywhere from 50 to 80 miles per day around a single city block in Queens, NY en route to completing the overall 3,100-mile distance. They run from 6 a.m. to midnight, never taking a day off. Suprabha is the only woman to ever attempt the race, and she is also the only person- male or female- who has completed the race every year since its inception 12 years ago. If you'd like to see a trailer for the film, as well as check out some of my previous work, please visit my website at: www.jbeersaltman.weebly.com.
Welcome, Robert and Jessie. It was nice meeting you in Boston, Jessie. Your film is an intriguing one but, I've gotta add, your main subject sounds utterly insane. Talk about needing to get a life!
Welcome, Jessie. You should make that your profile picture!
To explain to others why you qualify for Member status, I'll quote from your profile: "Her experience includes credits for PBS and the Discovery Channel, as well as numerous independent and commercial productions. In 2005, she produced and edited Eyes Through Time, a NASA-commissioned educational documentary on the Swift satellite mission in outer space."
welcome, jessie. you've undoubtedly heard of and seen "Spirit of the Marathon", right? if you can somehow get access to the same mailing list as them, you'll sell a LOT of DVDs...
It is great to come across such a fine resource with accomplished, driven, folks contributing to meaningful dialog that benefits the craft! I am honored to join in on the fun. A little about me: I love pushing critical issues and the orgs behind them with the power of story telling. I primarily produce doc-based commercials and marketing videos for nonprofits and other altruistic organizations. As well I production managed and coordinated doc/reality programming, through the company I work with in Phoenix-Randy Murray Productions, for the BBC, Discovery, PBS and CBS.
Currently, I am co-producing three docs (two in the final stages of production: a 5yr case study on elected vs. appointed public officials in relation to use of media; a 2yr look at teachers as heroes in one community. And one in development: an examination of Navajo through the eyes of the elders). My partners and I are at that point of culmination and require a look beyond the ideal world to the real world of distribution and sales! It's all about getting the stories heard and I am interested in strategies and sums so we can secure proper amounts through partners, distributors and other sales channels to get it out there and stay in the black! I am sure there are great resources here which I will explore. Please let me know if you have anything I should check out!
Thanks to all who have made this resource what it is, I look forward to exploring and participating.
if interested follow me on facebook and twitter by searching email@example.com – I have been trying to build a presence by sharing info i find on cause marketing, education reform and sharing other ruminations and opportunities!
Welcome, Andrew. Feel free to register for full membership which will give you access to all of the discussion topics.
hey people, I'm Leonardo Souza,19 . I'm from Brazil, I am a film student and crazy when the topic is documewntary ! I made a doc in Rio de Janeiro's trains and I work in a documentary producer company :D
I want to talk about everything and new videos are coming I hope to share all my experiences and learn as more as possible so !
if you want here is my short-doc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aclcc6w17Xc&feature=channel_page
Hey, welcome to The D-Word, Leonardo. Glad you found your way here.
[rest of message deleted, as Ernesto posted the same advertisement in the Classifieds topic, which is where it belongs]
Hi All, I am Sultana from US. I love documentaries and plan to make one myself. I am here to learn from your experiences.
My name is Elan Frank; I am a documentary film maker residing in LA.
I am now in the process of developing a documentary film on the co-existence between Jews and Muslims in Morocco and got to the sage of presenting investors with a business plan and production package, including a proposed budget.
I was wondering if anyone could refer me to samples of such packages/forms, what is essential to have in them, and a one-page budget sample form that is satisfactory to investors (I have my budget format, but it is in excel and very details, not something you provide investors. I am looking for a designed one page with the essentials.
Thanks you. I am glad to be part of this documentary family here in D-word!
I've just begun researching a topic for a documentary. I'm currently based in Southern California and am looking forward to sharing and learning with folks on this site.
Thanks for making this space available!
Hello everyone. I am in the midst of final editing for my second documentary project. I look forward to learning from everyone here.
Hello, I'm an aspiring doc maker currently living in Texas. I was just accepted into the Edinburgh College of Art MFA program for Film, and I'm trying to get a feel for the reputation of the program. Agnes Varnum recommended I join here to connect with Peter Gerard in Edinburgh.
Scott, you can contact Peter directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to you and Josh. Good to have you guys here.
My name is Tijana. I am a freelance documentary camera person and editor. I am currenly working on a couple projects in and around NYC. I am interested in collaborating with people and learning about other people's projects.
This is my website:
Thanks for this great site!
In reply to Scott P. Harris's post on Thu 18 Jun 2009 :
Hey Scott – congratulations! I think you'll really like Edinburgh and the College of Art.
A bit rainy – but after Texas it may be just what you need.
I'm a 'returnee' to video, though I've hung around the edges since my five year stint in mid-1970's as a producer-director for a PBS affiliate.
Just enjoyed attending F2F at Silver Docs here in Washington. I'm surprised I hadn't known of D-Word, since I held a membership with AIVF until they closed.
In process of completing a 30- and 80-minute low-budget video essay: The Common Lot: Next Step for Democracy. It's about the 'of-by-and-for' part of what democracy is supposed to be.
Hello fellow D-Worders.
It thought I would reintroduce myself seeing that I signed on here and than vanished from the face of D-Word. For the last 8 moths I have been working hard to complete a project on violence in youth sports and yet still put diapers on my babies booty.
In this time I have managed a mushroom farm and remodeled a 100 year old house to make ends meet. Neither of which I had done before. The remodeling job is coming to a close and the doc project is finished. It made my producers wife cry! I hope that was a good sign.
Now I am off to Virgina for 6 weeks for a paid video gig.woo-hoo! While I am there I hope to get a big chunk of my next project edited.
Since I will be away from my family I will probably be online a lot. So I hope to see you all around. Cheers!
In reply to James Longley's post on Sat 20 Jun 2009 :
Thanks James. I assume they impressed you when you lectured there? And I'm not too worried about the weather, it might be nice to experience an actual winter for once.
I don't know about "actual winter" – but cold and damp they can do!
Hi everyone, I'm an independent film maker lost in the mountains of eastern Oregon.
I've been working for years on a documentary about my son's struggle with autism. When he was diagnosed in 2000, we discovered an underground network of parents using alternative medicine and unusual therapies to treat kids the medical community has designated "untreatable" and "incurable."
This has led to ten years of research and first-hand experience with a complex social, economic, and political world that is only just beginning to reach public awareness in the media. I'm pretty surprised that even after years of news stories and talk show arguments about autism, few people seem to be aware of the poltical and corporate forces that are pulling the strings behind this issue.
Most docs on this subject are either amateur you-tube shorts or pro projects made by film makers who have only temporary contact with an autism family. I've been living with and filming my subject for over ten years. I'm hoping I have a unique perspective and unusual approach for my project, and I hope to learn from others on this site about funding, marketing, and distribution.
It's also just a great (and humbling) experience to be connected with so many other talented people.
Welcome and welcome back, James and Marshall.
James, do you have a sample of this film that you could share?
Umm, well, I'm currently working on a production reel for grant apps for about the third time (the project keeps changing and I can't keep up with it, gotta just stop dithering and release something eventually, right?) and we're working on recording what I hope will be the final voice-over.
So all I have right at the moment is a lot of clips, some animation, interviews, etc.
Should I post links here or in the "work in progress" section?
For the last three years (in my "spare" time), I've been working on a documentary about a Japanese photographer named Izima Kaoru. It's a project that takes place in a number of cities, including Tokyo, L.A., N.Y., Paris, London, Munich, Luxembourg, etc. The project is loosely focused around the photographer's main series, which explores the intersection of death and beauty. I suppose you could call it an artist biography, but light on the biography. It's more about the process and themes of the work.
I also write "technical" books on film, video, and new media topics. I've had a documentary book in the works for a while (put on hold), with a focus on editing.
I look forward to participating in the D-Word community!
Hi gang – I signed up for the D-Word some time back and then, well, forgot, I guess... My pal Joe Moulins reminded me in the context of what James Longley has been experiencing recently. So now I've reset my new password, added some credits and do hope to engage more frequently. I work for the National Film Board of Canada, as executive producer at the Pacific & Yukon Centre, based in Vancouver. Our local office is a staff of 14, producing primarily docs, but also auteur animation, and some original digital content. Headquarters are in Montreal. As part of our 70th birthday NFB is now streaming over 1000 titles for free (at least inside of Canada, not sure about any blocking??) Check it out: www.nfb.ca. Cheers and nice to meet you all! Tracey
In reply to James Schlipf's post on Mon 22 Jun 2009 :
Welcome James, I'm starting pre-pro on an autism project that focuses on the efforts of the Princeton Child Development Institute. I'd definitely be interested in knowing more about your project.
James, have you seen THE HORSE BOY? It's a film about autism and one alternative therapy. It premiered at Sundance (under the name OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY) and just played at Silver Docs.
Hi, I am coming back to documentary production after spending the last 20 years doing community development and community organizing work. I am currently beginning production of a documentary about 'engaged community development' and offering workshops and consultation on the same topic. I'll post picture and other info later. Right now I am looking for information about when you do and do not need to get releases signed.
In reply to Nick Verbitsky's post on Thu 25 Jun 2009 :
Sure, can I email you at the add on your profile? I'm familiar with the Princeton program, it's not really exactly what I'm focusing on but is still relevant in a way that takes some explaining. Watch out, my email goes to spam sometimes.
In reply to Mikal Jakubal's post on Thu 25 Jun 2009 :
Haven't seen HORSE BOY but I've read a lot about it, including some posts on D-Word when I did a search on autism. Do you know what the reaction was at Silver Docs? I understand "eqqui-therapy" is becoming very popular, especially in Texas.
By the way, I looked at your profile and I'm interested in your ELF project. There was recent news about this in Oregon. I agree with your statement that most of these issues are more complex than what is seen in mainstream media (thus my autism project). Let's talk sometime, I'll trade stories of building a log house and dogsledding for stories of straw bales and climbing.
Hee, hee, sure. Don't know about the Silver Docs reception (might want to ask in the Silver Docs topic or Doc Films topic since not everyone checks in here), but everyone I talked to at Sundance loved it. It's a feel-good movie.
For info on our film, check out our website (very much under construction) http://houseoffiremovie.com
(better duck out of here before we get the boot)
In reply to Jim Dessauer's post on Thu 25 Jun 2009 :
Welcome, Jim. General rule is to get releases if someone either speaks or is overheard speaking prominently. Or if you fear they'll sue your ass for some reason ;-)