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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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Nathan Scholtens
Thu 18 Nov 2004Link
Hello,

Scholtens is my name, and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I ran across this
forum searching for info on interview techniques--I am in the pre-
production phase of a documentary on landmines.

My background is in narrative, experimental, and animated film. I have
examples of the latter posted on the web at
http://homepages.nyu.edu/~nws202. My favorite filmmaker and
greatest influence is P. P. Pasolini (whose fictional work would
sometimes border on the documentary--"Accatone"--and whose one
endeavor in the cinema verite was, sadly, at any given moment either
un-poetic or overly intellectual--but still worth checking out--
"Comizi d'Amore").

You can reach me at n_in_scioltezza@hotmail.com. I am always happy
to meet people in person, so don't be shy you New Yorkers!!! My home
base is a SOHO editing house called Subvoyant.

NWScholtens

Doug Block
Thu 18 Nov 2004Link
welcome, nathan. do you work as an editor at subvoyant?

Nathan Scholtens
Thu 18 Nov 2004Link
Hi Doug,

I am unemployed. I am, however, doing quite well for myself as an
unemployed man. I spend a full work week at Subvoyant where my
official title is "friend." :)

As a friend of Subvoyant, I have access to their equipment and staff.
These are invaluable assets. When I get my production 'off the ground'
(which is happening very very soon) I'll be able to use Subvoyant as
my production office! Hooray!

NWScholtens

Marc Maurino
Sun 21 Nov 2004Link
Hello to all in the D-word community. Here's a little about me and
what brought me here. I'm 31 and I've been passionate about
independent filmmaking for over a decade. PA'ed in college and
interned for a very well known indie producer for a summer, have
pursued a career outside of film and have a family and now am putting
the finishing touches on two separate DV narrative dramatic shorts
with hopes of sending them on the festival circuit in 05. I have
about fifty books on filmmaking, I read about it all the time, watch
lots of indie film, am working hard on my own projects
(writing/directing/editing/producing/some acting) get every issue of
Moviemaker and Filmmaker (I believe I have a near perfect collection
of the latter from their first issues in 92) and so I've heard of the
D-word through that magazine (Filmmaker) and Doug Block b/c of
Homepage. Filmmaker excerpts a bit of the D-word discussions and I've
always read them but never fancied the notion of making a documentary
before; lyrical dramatic narrative has always been my thing (or at
least my goal!) . . . until now.

Since I'm introducing myself, I'll introduce the possible project that
brings me here, and apologize in advance if it sounds like I'm looking
for advice or whatever in the wrong place. Part of my goal in this
introduction is to look for guidance in navigating D-word. If this
should be posted elsewhere, please let me know; I don't want to double
post, so I'll leave this here and if I am guided to go to another
forum with some of the same introductory information and stating what
I'm looking for, I'll do that then.

I have a close friend of my family, husband to my wife's best friend,
father to my daughter's best friend, a general practice family doctor,
Jewish, who is intending to go to the occupied Palestinian territories
to both provide medical care to those in need and to bear witness to
the ravages of war. He is intelligent, erudite, passionate, and
committed to peace; as he says, he is pro-Jewish, pro-Arab, pro-Peace.
And it looks like after a year or so of negotiating, and recently
starting a brilliant web site blog devoted to deconstructing the
conflict, his wife recognizes that this is a passion and a need that
will not go away and is "letting" him go to what is essentially a war
zone. She's still not thrilled of course but she is a strong and
supportive partner. My own strong and supportive partner loves the
idea of me going with him and making a doc about his trip; the doc
would also by necessity I think use him as a framing device and do a
fair amount of exploration of his decision and his character and his
family and the notion of "bearing witness." He loves the idea of
doing a doc about these people (medically underserved victims of house
razings, etc.) and I think there's a lot in his character to explore
in addition to the simple awfulness of life in the occupied
territories. (He's not so sure about the doc being as much about him
and his choice, so we're talking through that; neither of us is
"committed" to the doc yet, which is part of why I'm here looking for
advice and encouragement.)

So why am I at d-word? Because I've never made a doc before and I'm
looking for guidance. Here's what I've got: a decade experience in
tiny no budget narrative fiction filmmaking, a one chip DV camera,
Final Cut Pro, and a couple hundred bucks I could use to buy a ton of
DV tapes and a home equity loan to buy a plane ticket to Israel. My
goal is to shoot a few hours of interviews with him and his family
here; look for some cinematic ways to highlight some of the issues
that he deals with in his blog on the subject of the occupation and
medical care therein, etc; travel with him and do some interviews with
the doctors in the group with which he's associated and perhaps
through a translator with some of the people who we'll meet; and then
probably look for a professional editor to help me edit the pic into
what I now envision as a 30 minute (more or less) no budget DV doc
that hopefully would get into a few festivals and perhaps play a
religious establishment circuit, maybe a university circuit.

So I have already started and will continue to read every single
possibly relevant post, thread, and discussion at D-word. I'm looking
at other doc websites but am eager for links to any that other
experienced folks find helpful. I am hitting the bookstore, Amazon,
etc. to look for good how-to books, but unlike narrative no budget DV
short production, where I feel like I have a grasp of steps one, two,
three, etc., I'm sort of at loose ends in the D-game. (And I've not
even yet fully committed to leaving my family/time off work/devoting a
year to this project, nor has my doctor friend committed yet to
letting me use him as a framing vehicle to explore the suffering in
the occupied territories and interview his family about how they feel
with him leaving wife and two babies to go to a war zone, though he is
committed to going with a physicians group, that part is already done.)

So here's what I'm looking for, at d-word and beyond: encouragement.
Ideas about funding streams, be they grant writing or "make a five
minute talking head trailer and send it to this company." Advice
about great how-to books and websites. Information about what and
where at D-word and IFP would be good places to explore and look for
collaborators, mentors, exec producers, etc. Experienced doc
directors and producers who might be interested in shepherding such a
project. Filmmakers on the ground in Israel or the territories who
would be capable of providing any sort of support when we get there
(translation, boom mike, interviews, etc.) Though we're not there
yet, ideas about hiring editors, finding finishing funds, marketing,
and distribution. Any technical advice (I've worked with DPs on
narrative shorts and can't afford to bring one to Palestine with me,
so it will be essentially (at this point) a one-chip DV point and
shoot DP job using the in-camera mike ... ) So I am looking for tech
advice about one man crew no budget shooting and sound recording,
including ideas about tools and good cinematography. I am eager to
hear from anyone with any experience, ideas, organizations, or any
information that might be helpful--thanks in advance. Hit me at
blue_sky_films@yahoo.com. Look forward to being a vital part of this
community--thanks!

Erica Ginsberg
Sun 21 Nov 2004Link
Marc, sounds like a great project. First things first: Make sure you
do have the commitment from your character to be filmed (or, as you
say, be the "frame" around which you build the rest of the story).
You'd feel really awful if you committed all this time, energy,
money, and work if your character doesn't sign off on being filmed.

Others here can offer far more cogent advice on many of your
technical issues. I'd be inclined to say trade in your 1-chip camera
for an upgrade to a 3-chip (it might even be cheaper for you to pay
the airfare, living, and food expenses of a hungry DP with his/her
own camera who'd love a chance to shoot gratis in Israel/Palestine
for a worthwhile project). Even if you end up shooting camera
yourself, the best investment you could make is for a soundperson --
hired locally. You will definitely need a local fixer/interpreter in
any case so you may want to start there. Queries here, ads in
Documentary magazine, or on Mandy or Shooting People websites would
be a good start.

Marc Maurino
Sun 21 Nov 2004Link
Erica, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. I've just
finished a two page letter to my "subject", who really is also a
friend who is always over for dinner with his family, etc. I'm half
talking him into it but also making sure he's up for the commitment.
My main points to him are "i think people can be more affected when
they can see and feel things through someone's eyes, particularly
someone who looks like them." and i take what you've said about sound
to heart; i've experienced the muddy sound of using the in-cam mic, so
i know i have to figure out something better than that. also a 3 chip
or a pro DP are not out of the question if we commit to do some
fundraising, but that's a little ahead of myself for now. but i'll be
sure to keep you posted and again, thanks for taking the time!

Doug Block
Mon 22 Nov 2004Link
welcome, marc. normally wouldn't take someone without professional
doc experience into the d-word community but we sometimes make
exceptions for people with exceptionally worthy projects. you'll get
all the info you're looking for there. only request is that you do a
lot of reading of back posts, read the FAQ thoroughly before you start
asking questions. and when you do ask questions, make them as
specific as possible.

to join, go to: www.d-word.com/community/join

Marc Maurino
Tue 23 Nov 2004Link
Doug, thank you so much for this opportunity. I have registered at
the D-Word Community and I look forward to learning a lot and being a
vital part of that group. I assure you that I will do a lot of back
post reading, I will know the FAQ inside and out, and I will be very
specific with my questions. Thanks for this opportunity; it means a
lot to me. I look forward to sharing my passion and enthusiasm for
indie film. Thanks again!

Lily Henderson
Sun 28 Nov 2004Link
Hi there. I am very pleased to be a part of this forum. I am an
aspiring documentarian, studying at Hampshire College in MA. It means
a great deal to me to share ideas with you all, afterall, life is a
collaboration. Currently I am working for a documentary film company
on a film that focuses on the Spanish Civil War and how it was
portrayed in Hollywood films. I have made 3 short docs: "Associate"
(about how people percieve the same things in very different ways),
"April 2004" documentary about the March for Women´s lives in
Washington D.C., and "The Box" about the effects of television on the
young generation. My favorite documentarian is Frederick Weissman
("Highschool", "Titictu Follies" are ones that i recoment if you have
not seen them already). Anyone else share the same interest in his films?

Lily Henderson
Sun 28 Nov 2004Link
Sorry, its spelled TITICUT Follies.

Doug Block
Sun 28 Nov 2004Link
Um, it's also spelled Wiseman, Lily ;-) Yes, a number of his films
are considered documentary classics. On the other hand, his pacing
seems out of a different era. Hard to watch his films on television
now. They seem so slow and in desperate need of editing. His
historical importance and influence is unquestioned, though.

Lily Henderson
Sun 28 Nov 2004Link
And this kind of pacing is what i believe needs to be re-introduced. I
worked for a television station for a while and editing the pacing was
the most challenging. everything had to be snap, snap, snap. it is
amazing what the humans eye has adapted to in terms of how fast it can
read images. is this scary? or, is it part of the evolution process?
certainly, it is. but, are we leading ourselves in the wrong
direction? i think it is ironic that even the term "back to basics" is
as commercial as anything else. Do we document this as a problem, or
just a celebration of humans evolving into a new kind? These are the
kinds of seemingly unanswerable questions that make me want to
document, like WISEMAN, to discover with no pre-convictions.

Ben Kempas
Sun 28 Nov 2004Link
Doug, "so slow and in desperate need of editing"??? If you compared,
let's say, "Domestic Violence" (Wiseman) and "Divorce Iranian Style"
(Longinotto), how would you maintain the claim that the first one
seemed "out of a different era"?

Welcome everyone, by the way! :-)

Doug Block
Mon 29 Nov 2004Link
haven't seen the longinotto film, ben. but sounds like she's out of
a different era, too, then ;-)

anyway, a worthy goal regarding the pacing, lily. would be nice to
tilt the balance back in the direction of wiseman.

Ben Kempas
Tue 30 Nov 2004Link
Wow, Doug, getting soft-gloved all of a sudden? ;-)

Anyway, who else is out there?

Mark Meatto
Wed 1 Dec 2004Link
Hi everyone - I think I just failed at making my first D-Word posting
on the introduce yourself thread. i hope i'm now in the right place.
i'm a first time chatter.

so i just moved down to new york from Cambridge, MA where i lived for
the last ten years. it's good to be back home, but i do miss the
little filmmaking community i left behind. i've poked around some of
the various threads here at D-word, and i have to say i'm quite
excited to be joing this community.

i'm in the process of trying to find enough funding to carve out the
time to cut my first feature, which i shot in the Ecuadorian Amazon
last winter. I'm still learning how to talk about the film, but
essentially it is a character-driven verite piece that investigates
the discovery and subsequent massacre of the area's last completely
isolated tribe. we are still without a web site, but i'd be happy to
describe the project more fully for those who are interested.

good to be aboard.

Jessica Butler
Wed 1 Dec 2004Link
Hi, my name is Jessica and i'm just about to graduate from
journalism at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I'm
currently interning for a production company, where i'm doing
work for them on a documentary film. I've already done two 30
minute documentaries for one of my classes and loved it. I'm
really interested in social issues and cultures and one of the
films that i produced was on HIV and AIDS, which turned out
great. I just joined to get feedback from more experienced
filmmakers, since this is one of my passions.
Cheers

Jessica Butler
Wed 1 Dec 2004Link
I'm quite new to this, i actually just found this website when i was
researching for my documentary film. Well, just a hello to
everyone and i'm here to learn as much as i can. Do i just post
my questions here?

Ben Kempas
Wed 1 Dec 2004Link
Welcome, Mark and Jessica. Try to post any newcomer's questions in
the "Mentoring Room" {LINK NOT IMPORTED}. Cheers.

Doug Block
Wed 1 Dec 2004Link
ditto. welcome to both.

Ray Wood
Sun 5 Dec 2004Link
Welcome everyone!

Ren Sato
Fri 10 Dec 2004Link
Greetings everyone!

I'm currently just a VJ (doing live visuals at clubs,events) but am
planning on seriously getting into digital videography in general
and more specifically documentary making. My aspiration and goal is
to move to tokyo japan next year to make street type documentaries
of pop/subcultural odd/interesting social phenomena. initially i'll
probably tackle easy hip or youthful issues that seem more like a
music video but eventual would like to delve into serious social
issues in tokyo/japan that require more planning and resources... i
was thinking of moving there with a 2 man crew from here seattle but
now i'm thinking it be better to find a crew once i'm there on my
own for rent, financial issues. Since i have dual status i plan on
being there indefinitely to see this endeavour through. I plan on
having a website up soon and then eventually sell my product or
footage to, really, whatever broadcast outlet that will take
it...this are is my main concern and therefore the biggest are where
i'd like to receive realistic advise, etc... also is anyone on this
forum from japan? if so please hit me up! anyways, i'm glad i found
this place! yoroshikuonegaishimasu!

Doug Block
Fri 10 Dec 2004Link
nice to have you here, ren. good luck with your plans.

Ray Wood
Sun 12 Dec 2004Link
Hi Ren, I have been very impressed by Vj's works. I think that
imagery connection will prove inportant to you. Welcome

Jim Wharton
Mon 27 Dec 2004Link
Hello all,
Just dropping in to get some good advice from the pros. I have crewed
on Indie films and spent a couple of years as a videographer doing
corporate, wedding, and a little music video work. I am currently
prepping a doc of sorts involving two unsolved murders in Oklahoma
and Missouri. They are 5 and 9 years cold respectively so most will
be interviews with family etc. Hoping to get some good advice on
another thread to make the interviews as appealing and interesting as
possible. Thanks!

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