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Welcome to The D-Word! Stop in and sign the guest book - let us know a little (or a lot) about yourself.

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Todd Leatherman
Tue 28 Sep 2010Link

Hello D-Word,

I am an aspiring documentary filmmaker who is currently researching film schools and am in need of some professional advice. I hold a Bachelor's degree in a field unrelated to film and have very little experience with production, editing, distribution, etc. In your professional opinion, do you think my time and money would be better spent pursuing a Master's degree that may focus heavily on history and theory, or pursuing more of a "hands on" program such as the one-year documentary filmmaking program offered by the New York Film Academy? I have read some varying reviews on the NYFA in general, so any advice or opinions you may have about that school would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much for your help!


John Burgan
Wed 29 Sep 2010Link

It's a couple of years old already, but have you seen the Independent's The 10 Best Academic Programs for Documentary Filmmakers ?

Edited Wed 29 Sep 2010 by John Burgan

Doug Block
Wed 29 Sep 2010Link

Welcome, Todd, Barbara and especially David, who I've known for a while now (as well as his impossibly lovely wife). You may feel like a newbie but you're not. Dirty Work showed great talent and can't wait to see how My Own Man turns out.

Todd Leatherman
Wed 29 Sep 2010Link

In reply to John Burgan's post on Wed 29 Sep 2010 : Thanks for your quick reply, John. I have been researching the programs mentioned in the Independent article and it has been a great starting point. Please let me know if any other advice comes to mind.

Robert Goodman
Wed 29 Sep 2010Link

Spend your money getting experience. Volunteer for one of the many top-notch doc makers running around NY, Phila, or DC. Then decide if you want/need a masters. You are more likely to find employment by being a great volunteer than by going to school.

Teresa Pigeon
Fri 1 Oct 2010Link

My name is Teresa Pigeon; I live in Cary, NC. I am a photographer, but have recently branched out into documentary video. At Duke's Center for Documentary Studies, I learned how my reach can be extended by moving into the video field, and I'm working to use these new skills to tell stories.

I'm currently working on a short about a local eccentric. Also, I'm documenting the making of a local film. Next, I hope to work on a piece about the use of therapy dogs in Hospice (where I volunteer). I'm only in the planning stages of this – but there are so many things to consider.

As is true for most folks, I learned so much in shooting and editing my very first video:
I learned what to do and what to NOT do (and it's apparent in the clip!)

Very recently I've decided to put much more time and effort into documentary video, and hope to learn from your experiences. I'm excited about some recent work I've done using the 5dmkii – and it's possibilities (while very aware of the limitations). Examples of my photos:

Doug Block
Sat 2 Oct 2010Link

Welcome, Teresa. A great program you went to at Duke. And you're doing the right thing by just plunging in and making films. Best of luck.

Michael Sodano
Sun 3 Oct 2010Link

Hi Everyone – wow, it's been 5 years since my last sign in (where does the time go?). Anyway, thought it'd be time for an update and looks like there's a LOT more people here now. Make a long story short: Documentary (corporate media/events producer to pay the bills) producer/director . . . . moved to the Jersey Shore – exit 102 – Asbury Park. . . . . large arts and cultural component in a never-ending up and coming seaside city . . . . NO movie theater. . . . . in a city that used to have 7 (count 'em 7) movie palaces in its heyday (Walter Reade had headquarters here) . . . . couldn't believe that every art genre represented but film . . . . couldn't let that alone . . . . have opened a 56 seat art house theater in the downtown that for the past 16 months has developed a growing, appreciative audience in a considerable radius of the city . . . . it's called The ShowRoom Independent Cinema – – so now I'm an exhibitor as well as a producer! . . . . quite an odd couple of hats, but very enjoyable and exhilarating to be able to workshop my productions as well as be the salon for others who are making film and looking for an audience. . . . . . and I thought it would be a good time to reconnect and network with everyone on the DWord since I still have a member status here. . . . . right now we're producing short docs that screen before the features, so we keep producing while we're exhibiting. . . . quite a ride . . . . look forward to chatting with you all. . . . Thanks

Vikram Zutshi
Sun 3 Oct 2010Link

Hi all! Greetings from the Bay Area. I am a writer-producer-director with a decade of narrative filmmaking experience in Los Angeles behind me. Have produced, acquired and distributed numerous syndicated tv shows, independent films (foreign and domestic)as well as documentaries. Just completed my cinema verite feature (as Director/DP) on a highly contentious issue:immigration from the south, approached from an unexpected and controversial angle. The main protagonist is a rabid iconoclast, self-proclaimed revolutionary and an embodiment of the Tea Party philosophy. Please do check out the website and trailer at WWW.MAXKENNEDYTHEFILM.COM. The film is due for wide release early 2011. Please click the facebook link on website and 'LIKE' for constant updates. Thanks.

Doug Block
Mon 4 Oct 2010Link

Welcome, Vikram, and a warm welcome back to Mike. Nice to hear what you've been up to, and about The ShowRoom. What a great thing to be doing.

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