I left Boston after 14 years in 2008 and moved back home to Ireland. I had some great opportunities in the US and gained my foothold in the corporate and documentary video arenas before shifting sideways a bit and running the media dept. in a university.
None of the projects I've worked on have ever been "my own", as although I may have directed and edited them, there was a company "feel" (read sappy) that had to be instilled in them.
Although I earn my crust making corporate video, the thoughts of doc videos are what fire me up. I have two projects I hope to shoot between now and winter. Of course, costs are tight as we are in a recession so they'll definitely have a guerrilla bent. I'll shoot on a Canon 5D MKII as that is what I have for my stills work. It comes with constraints, but when you have plenty of time you can work around them :)
When it comes to funding and distribution, I'm somewhat at a loss, so I hope to learn from people here and hopefully bring something to the table as well.
As an aside: Peter and Ben – my masters thesis was on fisheries conservation (from an EU policy standpoint) and I've done additional research on salmon conservation so if you think I could help, give me a shout.
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.
Welcome, Vincent. Feel free to register as a professional member (as opposed to an "enthusiast"). It will give you access to far more of our discussion topics.
Very happy to be here and pleased with the football results :)
I am currently working on a film about humanity, life and energy/ quantum mechanics. I am still quite open and researching.
this site is great :)
Thanks, Fleur, and welcome. You too should register for full membership.
I view the arts as a form diplomacy. I received a BA in international relations and anthropology from tufts university and spent a year at the university of paris. I returned to my home town of los angeles for graduate school. I received a masters of public policy from USC as a woodrow wilson public policy and international affaires (ppia) fellow. At usc i created a concentration in arts and entertainment policy by adding courses from the school of cinema/tv and annenberg school of communication. i've worked in the entertainment industry at major studios and with legendary filmmakers for over a decade. i also chair the tufts entertainment and media alumni group which i helped form and co-founded and continue to produce the pt barnum awards for excellence in entertainment which honors prominent alumni in the entertainment industry (e.g. steve tisch, producer, FORREST GUMP; cary granat, founder, walden media).
i am currently the director of community engagement and strategic partnerships for the documentary feature THUNDER SOUL which has wowed audiences in the USA and abroad. the film has won audience awards at sxsw (where it premiered), dallas international, hot docs, and the los angeles film festival. the film is currently being shopped for distribution and i am contributing to the process by bringing industry and community players to the table. i am also currently developing a project which i am submitting to some labs. so, i am concurrently in the development and distribution phases of amazing projects and can use fellowship and advise to do both projects the justice they deserve.
thank you for creating this space and welcoming me to it.
Great to have you with us, Kimber. I see no one has forewarned you about the cultish nature of our little forum here. Simply draw blood from your finger, smudge it on your computer screen by your member profile, spin 3 times in your chair and shout "D-Word is my heart" all the while.
Sorry, it's been a long day here in 100 degree heat. Any friend of Marj's is a friend of ours.
D-Word is my heart! D-Word is my heart! D-Word is my heart!
You catch on fast, Kimber. Now put an image of yourself up where that smudge mark is (cleaning your screen is optional).
I'd be curious to know more about what kind of strategic partnerships you're working on with THUNDER SOUL. Maybe best to answer in our Marketing and Distribution topic, though.
Yay. Glad Kimber has joined our motley crew. She's a gem. So ya'll be nice to her.
In reply to nishant pagare's post on Thu 10 Jul 2008 :
Hi Nishant. I am Michal Goldman – haven't "introduced myself" yet but I'm starting to work on a documentary in a small village in West Bengal outside of Murshidabad – it's about a boy who started his own informal school – and I want to work with an Indian crew. Do you know any camerapeople who really love to shoot hand-held and are good at it? Steady, in-focus, sensitive to the unfolding moment? Do you know anyone like that who lives in Kolkata/speaks Bangla? I like your website by the way!
Hey everyone... I'm producing a documentary called Coexist (www.coexistdocumentary.org) about the reconciliation process in Rwanda in the aftermath of the 1994 Genocide there. I'm looking for information about self-distributing to schools, anyone with information on how to successfully sell a film to schools, please let me know and you will earn my undying gratitude. That may not sound like much, but it is, promise.
[Host advice: Suzanne – no need to double post at The D-Word we read al the posts. I've erased the duplicate in the mentoring topic]
In reply to Magee Clegg's post on Fri 21 Aug 2009 :
Hey Magee, I often shoot in the Philippines... would love to know more about your shoot.
Tatiana – I'm currently in Munich but fully booked tomorrow. However, if you still need someone, I should be able to connect you to the right person. Get in touch.
Hi everyone, I'm Fatima from Munich. I just graduated from the Munich Filmschool with my doc film KICK IN IRAN. Munich is my home for the last 13 years, though my parents are from Iran, a place I travel to quite a lot. So, if anyone needs information or advice concerning shooting in that region let me know.
By the way, I'll be in Los Angeles for two months (August/September) and I am still looking for an affordable place to stay, maybe with someone from the industry who has a spare room?! Thanks for any advice! Fati
Great to have you find us, Fati. We have a number of LA-based members, including our fabulous Iranian-born co-host, Marj Safinia. So hopefully a lead will come through soon.
EADN (Europe Asia Doc Network) is a new platform to develop cooperation between Europe and Asia in the field of documentary production, financing and distribution
This group has been created by doc makers from Europe and Asia. This group is coordinated by Sinapses Asia.
Over 60 doc makers have already joined EADN from 17 countries : Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Slovenia, Switzerland, Taiwan, UK, Vietnam.
before the launch of its own website, you can join EADN Join us
And Linkedin group : http://www.linkedin.com/groups?mostPopular=&gid=3170066
Good to have you here, Pierre-Yves (I think everyone is busy recovering from the football this evening).
When does the EADN website launch? In the meantime, check out our International Co-Pros Topic
Hello, my name is Mike Ambs. I currently live in ypsilanti. I love to film things and tell stories. And read on the subway. I'm pretty sure blue whales are my power animal.
I'm working on a feature film called for thousands of miles
By day i freelance for companies including: nbc, smashface productions, mrc, and next new networks.
Hi, my name is Adam Segal. This is my 11th year working in public relations/media relations. I founded my own independent PR firm www.The2050Group.com in the Washington, DC / Silver Spring area four years ago and since that time I have had the pleasure and honor of working with many accomplished filmmakers and supporting the remarkable work of Chicken & Egg Pictures, among many other projects. Doug Block suggested I introduce myself here. I hope in a small way to provide some contributions to this impressive community. Thanks for welcoming me.
Great to have you here, Adam, and glad to see you're posting.
I was introduced to Adam at Silverdocs by Wendy Ettinger of Chicken & Egg, who raved about him (out of his earshot). I can't think of a better recommendation. In talking with Adam, he mentioned he does general PR but his specialty is social issue films and in hooking filmmakers up with national organizations out of the DC area.
I’ve been making docos in Australia for the past fifteen years. I’ve followed a family of boxers, a heart transplant recipient, a fantastic group of war veterans from the states who visited Aus in ww2, a group of police who investigate cattle duffers (thieves), some renegade downhill skateboarders to name a few.
Last year I went to china twice to follow two giant pandas to Australia – although the story was a little light I enjoyed following the people aspect – the negotiation between the vets, zookeepers and officials of the two countries – a great experience personally.
Now I’ve embarked on the scary project of my first child – 14 weeks old – eeak.
Looking forward to reading more from you all – this is an impressive bunch of people.
My name is David Dewhurst and I have been in the still photography business since leaving college in England back in the early seventies. I specialize in cars, motorcycles and planes and I'm based in the Los Angeles area. For the last six years I have also been shooting PR b-roll for many of the major car companies. Now I have the chance to produce a one-hour documentary on one of those companies with an insiders perspective of the troubles they face. It's a throw-him-in-at-the-deep-end project that seems extremely daunting t me. I'm sure I'll be coming back with all sorts of questions. Luckily I seem to have found a very knowledgeable group that appears to have most of the answers. I look forward to the discussions.
Welcome, David. Don't worry, I'm sure we'll just come back to you with questions like, "So, what digital still camera do you recommend for under $500?"
Hi everyone. Great to be here. I'm hoping I can get your support. My recent doc is called The Queen's Suite. I'm currently raising the finishing funds on Kickstarter. One comment on the doc is, 'The vid on Kickstarter is the most inspiring thing I have seen in all my adult life." Please view Kickstarter. I've organised lots of great gifts from acknowledgments, online downloads, DVDs, photos, lunch with the UK's leading doc exec producer, a recording session at Premises Studios, one to one sessions in doc filmmaking and camera plus more. Pledges start from $3 (£2). It's taken 18 months to make and it was done so without funding. It now needs funds for the online, dub and release of archive. We have until the end of August to raise the funds. http://kck.st/cbGGo1
Welcome, Corine. No need to double post on The D-Word, it's one of the few rules we have here. This topic is more for telling us about yourself rather than pitching for your project (which you did well in the Classifieds topic). That said, good luck with raising the funds to finish.
In reply to Fatima Geza Abdollahyan's post on Sun 11 Jul 2010 :
A late but special welcome to Fati. (She's too modest to mention that KICK IN IRAN kicked off at Sundance.)
My name is Ann Husaini and I'm a freelance editor and post-production manager for documentary based in New York. I worked on a couple of great docs in years past that had good festival lives and were both selected for Whitney Biennials, ALMA and CARNIVAL ROOTS. One was about the healing of a mother-daughter relationship that had been scarred by mental illness and sexual abuse, and the other about Carnival in Trinidad. (Let me also mention that Meg Reticker, who is awesome, finished CARNIVAL when I went off to film school.) I went to Columbia for an MFA in film, directed many narrative shorts, and I've done a lot of reality tv in the past to pay for that lovely education! Right now I'm working on a couple of probono music doc projects. One's cutting a fundraising trailer about amazing jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and the other's a co-editing a doc about 80's band/conceptual artists Devo. In the future I'd love to do human-rights oriented doc work too, and to teach teens and young adults about filmmaking. So if people need help with either, do feel free to approach me. I'm really looking forward to meeting the community on this site and I'll definitely look out on the board for ways I can help others. I hope to enjoy being a part of things here for many years to come!
Welcome to The D-Word, Ann. The best way to be a part of things here is to register for professional membership, which gives you full access to all the discussion topics.
Hey Ann impressive history but I also zoomed in on the Devo project – would love to see a Devo doco.
I am in the midst of writing a business plan for investors and a international sales agent, just having finished the first draft of a budget for my film project, "TV MAN: THE SEARCH FOR THE LAST INDEPENDENT DEALER." The sample plans I've come across are either geared towards the non-profit sector or, if profit focused, appear to have more information than I believe is necessary for my project. Has anyone come across a good for-profit documentary business plan?
that isn't fiction? docs that make a profit are rare happy accidents.
Listen to Robert. I asked a similar question 3 years ago. He gave a similar answer. I chose to ignore him. I have been kicking myself ever since. Anyone who gives you money should be looking for a tax deduction, because a profit will probably never come.
In the business plan draft I'm working on I've also included a fiscal sponsor fee in the budget and refer to it in the plan to allow the film's supporters to either make tax deductible donations or investments. I will have the final draft of the plan reviewed by experienced advisers, but feedback from this blog's readers will be helpful. Has anyone else used a similar hybrid plan to raise funds and, if so, what were the results?
you can't solict donations for a profit making enterprise. There's no way for the donor to take a tax deduction and that ends a lot of them.
my name is jd and i am an american living in budapest hungary – i recently bought a canon legria/vixia hfs100 to make mini-documentaries or a political nature. You can see my progress in learning the little camera at http://vimeo.com/redjade
there are many many ideas i have for such mini-docus, but step by step i will get there :-)
Just did a show of original music bookended by a Gesualdo piece and a Rahsaan Roland Kirk tune in South Pasadena. Have done a bit of soundtrack music for a couple of documentaries and I really enjoyed it. Someone told me to check this site out so here I is.
I am a 'creative' from India with a quest for learning and acquiring knowledge about creative expression and zeal to contribute to the art of STORY.TELLING, by utilizing my skills and expertise to the fullest.
I'm a passionately social artist and documentary filmmaker that believes the best way to make a difference is to go out of our "established" ways of seeing and experiencing the world. I agree with Wade Davis that story telling and content that offer broader perspectives can create a difference. History has not been written, we make history with the choices and the stories we choose to tell. I'm the product of TED and Herzog, to me, if you have lived the world in a way, you would try to try to tell our story. I worked for TV and entertainment for more than 10 years, and I'm refusing my self to continue to produce garbage and meaningless programming.
Greetings from Helsinki, I'm a California-born photographer based in Helsinki. Tomorrow I'll begin a 3-country journey that will land me at The Lemesos International Documentary Film Festival in Cyprus. There, a project I'm producing based in New York, entitled THE MUSIC NEVER DIES
has been chosen to be a part of Docs Talk Cyprus, a 2-day pitch forum held within the festival. I'm three planes away, but am definitely looking forward to the project getting to take some meetings – we're now pulling for a co-production as we are ~40% funded with a budget of ~$250k.
JD, Rich, Yogesh, Ana and Jason, a warm welcome to you all. You're coming here so fast and furious it's hard to keep up with the greetings.
In reply to yogesh 's post on Wed 28 Jul 2010 :
What Doug said. Hey Yogesh, be sure to fill in your profile with your full name – D-Worders like to know who they're talking to.
A little about me:
I’ve been making documentaries in Los Angeles for the last 13 years – mainly films about a dying breed of old Hollywood art directors and cinematographers who I find inspiring as people as well as artists.
Some of my credits include, “Something’s Gonna Live,” which world premiered at the 2009 AFI FEST and is a follow-up to my first documentary, “The Man on Lincoln’s Nose" (2001 Oscar-nominated, Short Subject). Currently, I’m in post-production on a new film that will complete the trilogy of docs on old-Hollywood filmmakers.
Ross McElwee and Abbas Kiarostami are some of my cinema heroes. One of my favorite quotes from Kiarostami is something along the lines of: “Try to make your documentary like a fiction film, and your fiction film like a documentary."
Thanks to everyone who helps maintain this wonderful website. I look forward to meeting new folks on The D-Word!
Greetings and welcome to The D-Word, Daniel. Ross McElwee has been a huge influence on my work, as well.
Thanks, Doug. Great to be here! Any word on a release date for Ross McElwee's new film, "In Paraguay"?
No. I'm afraid there are complications that are holding it up indefinitely. Which is too bad, I'm very eager to see it.
Thanks for the update, albeit not very good news for us Ross McElwee fans. Are you at liberty to explain what the complications are holding up the film?
I posted in the Hidden Section a synopsis I found on Fandango – looks really interesting!
I wish I could but I told Ross I'd keep it to myself. But we're getting a bit off topic here, this is basically for intros and greetings. We can continue any discussion of Ross, In Paraguay and the unique challenges of personal docs in the Documentary Film topic.
Hello everyone, I'm Indrani Kopal, a documentary filmmaker from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. And, I also work as a full time video journalist with Malaysiakini.com, an online news agency here in KL.
I just returned from Washington DC after being part of the 2010 International Emerging Documentary Filmmakers Fellowship program by The Documentary Center, at the George Washington University. I was really privileged to meet many experienced filmmakers during the 6-weeks program. And I really enjoyed SILVERDOC Festival.
indranikopal.blogspot.com/ is my blog. And, D-word site was a big buzz among many filmmakers I came across in US, so here I am :)
And we're very glad to have you, Indrani. You couldn't have gotten better training than from the Fellowship program. Hopefully The D-Word will keep the spirit alive. Welcome aboard.
Greetings from New Zealand.
I live between New Zealand and New York, where I started in the late 1980's as a videographer for downtown independent dance companies. Subsequently I focused on independent film and video work in the experimental genre. These short works have been screened in festivals and galleries in the States, Europe and New Zealand; I also have worked as a video designer, focusing again on the downtown theater projects. More recently I completed a multi channel video projection for the Govert-Brewster Art Gallery in New Zealand – titled: There Are Snakes in Paradise. It is an experimental documentary that looks at effects of living in the shadow of the largest international owned chemical plant in New Zealand (Dow Chemical) in the 1960’s –70’s which produced 245T in great quantities and was spayed in the mega tons from the top to the bottom of New Zealand – (The NZ brand: Clean and Green?). Previous to that I made a 32min Doc. about a painter Chuck Bowdish that was screened in various festivals in the US. My most recent doc. I have just completed with funds from the NZ film Commission is a film chronicling the lives (from 1996 to 2009) of three residents in a home on the Upper West Side in Manhattan who are blind and mentally challenged tilted: Not Everybody Can Do Everything. It is a 102min in length and now just beginning to send out to festivals.
Welcome to The D-Word, Peter. And feel free to register for "Professional" status to give you access to all the discussion topics (50, as opposed to just a few).
My name is Gustavo, I am a recent college graduate. I have been thinking about making a documentary (shocking and ill-advised, I know) about illegal immigrants and their path to college. I have a few people lined up to interview, some stuff about policy, a few contacts in some immigrant organizations, and would probably include some stuff about myself in the project as well.
I am a COMPLETE novice to filming! For now I have been watching some documentaries (including Doug's) and thinking about the arch that the project might take, I envision it being about 30 minutes long.
Does anyone have any advice in terms of literature or other informational material that might be useful? I am particularly interested in what you would think a good camera would be for my purposes. I've looked around a bit and like the Canon T2i. I don't have a mac, but I have a PC and access to the adobe suite.
I appreciate any help or advice you guys would have!
Look forward to hearing from you,
My Name is Blake Adams, and I have been in LA for twenty years, acting, writing and occasionally producing (my best...an award winning short film titled "Silent Radio") I have never thought about doing a documentary film until now. I was struck with an idea that I can not let go, and need some real guidance on how to put together the pitch. This is an area very strange to me, so any help on what kind of Package to put together...what are 'people' looking for in a documentary pitch.
welcome, blake. feel free to post more specific questions in the Mentoring Room section of the D-Word. for now, the quick answer to your question is that people in the doc industry are primarily looking for intimate access to your characters. secondly, people are looking for subjects that are timely and reveal universal truths. celebrity involvement always helps to get a doc off the ground, but that is certainly not a prerequisite in the way that you need an A-list celeb to get a fiction film greenlit.
In reply to Gustavo Rosa's post on Tue 3 Aug 2010 :
Gustavo, your idea sounds interesting and timely. This issue isn't limited to the US, Europe and in particular Greece struggle with it.
Greetings, Gustavo and Blake. Gustavo, you might want to try a site like DV User, which has more technical topics on cameras. As for your approach to your film, it seems pretty spot on to me, so I'd say trust your instincts. If you're intent on reading a book, though, Michael Rabiger's Directing the Documentary is a classic. And glad if my film has been a help.
I am Chithra Jeyaram an MFA film production student at University of Texas, Austin. I used to be and still am a Physical Therapist and now an emerging documentary filmmaker.
United states is the only country in the developed world with no law requiring PAID PARENTAL LEAVE BENEFITS. Having a child is treated like a life style choice. Most parents lives changes dramatically not only because of the addition of a new life but because of the poor support systems.
I want to make a documentary about tag-team parenting, where parents who can't afford child care stagger their work shifts. For example – one parent works night shifts and the other day and exchange babies at parking lots. In the process, they barely see each other and such marriages or partnerships eventually end.
The situation is worse for single parents or those of the LGBT community. Currently, I am in the research phase of this project. Any suggestions or tips will be appreciated.
Also, I have wanted to make a film using both my skills – Physical Therapy and Filmmaking. Over the last three years, I have noticed that most filmmakers have bad postures and really bad backs. I have be toying with an idea for an animated/doc film on that topic. Any ideas?
Welcome, Chrithra, and feel free to join The D-Word as a full member . I'll be doing an Austin Film Society screening of my new doc THE KIDS GROW UP on Oct 13. Hope to meet you there.
My name is Kemuel Deaula, I grew up in Alvarenga, Brazil. I've been living in the United State for a long time now, i love it here. I am a graduate of Full Sail University. I am editing my second Documentary and things are going well. D-Word is a great website, i am new to it and still learning how to get around. Check out my resume at www.itsgrita.com/films i am also going to attach my Resume to this post. Have a good day!!
- Kemuel DePaula
Welcome to The D-Word, Kemuel. We sure are getting folks with great names here.
haha, that is true, when i was born they spelled my name wrong, so my parents kept it.
In reply to Doug Block's post on Wed 4 Aug 2010 :
Thanks. I missed your documentary at Silver Docs. Would love to see the film and meet you in Austin.
Same here, Chithra. Please make sure to introduce yourself at some point.
I am new to the blog. I applied for full membership and hope to gain it!
I am currently finishing a 6 month project, which is set to finish tomorrow.
During these last 6 months I have made two short documentaries a week. They premiere every Wednesday and Sunday and are based on randomly drawn words. The project is called MINICONCEPTDOCS. It has been the single best documentary filmmaking learning experience of my life. They can be seen here http://robertemmons.blogspot.com or my Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/raemmonsjr
I would love to hear comments from other documentary filmmakers.
I would consider myself a folk filmmaker interested in local culture and history, usually within the area I live in.
I teach film and media studies at Rutgers University in Camden.
I have written about ethics in documentary particularly the ethical responsibilities of the audience and the face of the Other. I look forward to the insights of the diverse group of filmmakers on this blog.
In reply to chithra jeyaram's post on Wed 4 Aug 2010 07:21 PDT :
Your line below cracked me up!
"Over the last three years, I have noticed that most filmmakers have bad postures and really bad backs."
Yes, there should be a physical therapy and yoga class for cinematographers and editors. It's hard enough to remember proper posture and ergonomics at a keyboard, but almost impossible to not hunch terribly while holding a heavy camera and staring forward into a viewfinder all day. Ugh!
In reply to Robert A. Emmons Jr.'s post on Sat 7 Aug 2010 :
You're welcome to join us, Robert. Even though it started as Doug's blog, The D-Word is better described as a community of documentary professionals these days with over 3,000 members from some 80 countries. Some of us teach docs as well, so there is a dedicated topic in the Member's area.
Really like the sound of your two docs a week, will check out your link.