I wasn't thinking about questions that appealed to their own selfish interests, but rather their work on the crime front.
The Mentoring Room - Ask the Working Pros
This is a Public Topic geared towards first-time filmmakers. Professional members of The D-Word will come by and answer your questions about documentary filmmaking.
Hi everyone. Great to see so many professionals helping each other – excellent contribution to other people's lives and projects.
My partner in crime Peter Marsh and I are reaching the end of along haul making a film about Polynesian origins. it is a fairly small niche market and I wondered if anyone might have any ideas about marketing.
It is potentially a 4 part series covering hidden histories about Hawaii, Easter Island, New Zealand and Tahiti and the one we have made off our own backs is about Hawaiian legends versus Scientific dogma. WE will need funding if we are to do the other three but for the moment we would like to get some interest for the first part. Do you think that Google keywords and ads help? what would be your advice.
Gabi, since you're a professional, you may have better luck posting your question in the Marketing and Distribution topic. We don't normally allow double posting but in this case it would be acceptable.
I was wondering if anyone had a sample budget with the latest official rates for the following crew positions (researcher, writer, director, producer, associate producer, dp, editor) for an indie feature documentary?
This varies widely depending on where you are shooting, the skill level and equipment used, among other things. Even here in the US, salaries can vary by region. For the best information, you should specify where you are shooting, and an honest assesent of the skill level you can afford. If all you need is to get from A to B, for instance, it's a waste of money to buy a Lexus when a old pick-up truck (like mine) would do.
I am graduating soon and am looking to gain experience as a PA in documentary film to get a feel for how docs work. I have some experience in major motion pictures and decided it's not for me.
Any advice on how to start, what kind of equipment to initially invest in (I'm interested in working on my own personal projects) and resources for new film makers, would be wonderful! I will be moving to Ireland soon for one year – so anyone with any experience working in film over there...it would be great to hear from you!
I am not in this business (I am a middle school science teacher), but I am wondering if someone could help me.
What would be your advice to someone who has an idea for a documentary film? Where do I go? Who do I talk to in order to bring the idea to life? How do I pitch an idea to a production company?
Thank you for any help!
In reply to Susan Cosgrove's post on Fri 19 Apr 2013 :
Hi Susan, I would say to follow your passion, wherever it leads. Always keep that fire burning. Learn as much as you can about every aspect that excites you.
One of my initial inspirations in documentary film was James Longley, a professional member of our group.
James has only made three or four films in his career and his second film (Iraq in Fragments) won best cinematography at Sundance and was nominated for an Oscar.
But more importantly, he is pretty much a one man wrecking crew. Watch Iraq in Fragments which he filmed entirely himself, doing almost all the sound, on a Panasonic DVX 100B camera which you can buy for around $1500.
It remains one of the most incredible pieces of cinema I've ever seen.
That was deeply inspirational for me.... if this fellow can do THAT with an affordable camera as a one man crew, maybe there was hope for me......and there was.
Buy a nice HDSLR with a few good lenses and tell us a story. Make it a beautiful story. Bring us into your world.
In reply to Lynette Wehner 's post on Sat 20 Apr 2013 :
I would describe your idea in writing as completely and as thoroughly as you possibly can and then copyright it after checking out a copy of "Copyright it Yourself" from your local library.
It's a simple process, will cost you $25 total, and will help a lot to protect you from the sharks.
In reply to Lynette Wehner 's post on Sat 20 Apr 2013 :
Following up on Matt's advice, I have written a post that might help you How to Stop Your Idea Being Stolen and another one that goes into detail about how to write a proposal: How to Write a Proposal A Commissioner Will Read
Then if you have time to explore the site you'll find lots of resources that will introduce you to our crazy world!
[Edited by Host to make links active]
In reply to Matt Dubuque's post on Sat 20 Apr 2013 :
Hi Matt -
Thank you for the advice. I plan on following my passion! I've been working in major motion pictures for a couple of years, and feel as though documentary work will be more fulfilling and hands on.
I can't afford much in the way of a camcorder at the moment, but i'm just excited to start learning. Does anyone have any suggestions about affordable editing programs?
Hi all- I'm working as a Researcher on a doc film now, and we're looking for internationally-sourced archival footage. Does anyone have experience finding this? We are specifically looking for legislative/goverment archival footage from Portugal/Switzerland/Europe in general. Thank you!
Here's a working link to Nicola's "How to Write a Proposal A Commissioner Will Read" article: http://www.tvmole.com/2009/01/how-write-proposal-tv-commissioner-will-read/
In reply to Susan Cosgrove's post on Tue 23 Apr 2013 :
Hi Susan, the price of everything keeps crashing..... you can get some nice images from even a T3i, but you have to pay attention to good sound......
I finally completed my first doc which I filmed in Nov 2000. It is in SD. Recently I found a european company wanting to represent my film at the markets surrounding Cannes but think it's a big problem that the doc is not in HD. She is still willing to take the plunge if we know it can be up converted with same quality. I found a company in Atlanta which can do this, but my question is – will the quality really be sufficient and are there really no more broadcast possibilities for something in SD. Natch any future projects will be in HD, but after so much effort I'd really like to complete the process with this one.
Thanks for any info
My understanding is that more and more broadcasters are demanding that programming be hi-def. Or at least mostly – I think at least 70% of a film needs to be hi-def, but that might just be HBO.
That said, I just up-res-ed a bunch of SD footage, and was blown away by how much better it looked. The teranex seems miraculous to me.
Same here. It's a very cool look, especially when intercut with HD footage.
Bonnie – it really depends on your master footage – what kind of SD camera you used and your exposure. fellow D-Worder James Longley shot Iraq in Fragments with the now legendary DVX 100 – in SD but with an anarmorphic lense. He was able to blow it up to 35MM!!! And win Best Cinematography at Sundance and get HBO to release the film.. Here's the trailer https://vimeo.com/10535967 – I shot my first feature in SD with the DVX 100 and was able to blow it to HD in order to sell it. In reply to Bonnie Friedman's post on Fri 3 May 2013 :
Thanks everyone. I have been trying to find someone with the teranex which keeps getting rave reviews. Any ideas? I am a little concerned about the fact that the doc includes stock footage – some of which is beautiful and some of which is – well not so much. I originally shot with a Canon XL 1 – long ago and far away...
The trailer can be seen at www.alliance-productions.net which will give a pretty good example of the quality of the doc footage.
We have been using archival footage in our documentary we got for free off of archive.org. The quality of the free footage from archive.org is fairly low, so for the final film we're interested in getting higher quality versions of that footage.
It seems like the majority of the footage we're using is from the prelinger archives. When we go to their site it says they sell the higher-quality versions of their footage through getty images, which seems to charge a lot for their footage, more than we can really afford.
Does anybody know how to work around this? We're wondering if there is another, cheaper way to get this prelinger footage outside of getty, or if anybody has any other advice on how to save money here.
Brian – I might be a lonely voice on this – but I actually thrive on the low rez aesthetics of the youtube look. It gives the image a gritty quality that transcends the so called perfection of HD. And so, I use found footage on the internet and as long as I am using it within the fairly clear parameters of fair use, I don't pay a dime. Especially since the footage is degraded and I'm "transforming" it. Now, granted, I like impressionism and mindcapes and collages so that approach works for me. You may need high rez archival footage. And in many ways, that's what your paying for – the "master" tape. Depending on what footage you are looking for – you may find it elsewhere, like in another doc for example. Wish I could be of more help, but it depends what you are looking for.
Yes, I agree Tom – so far I've been lucky (and underfunded!)In reply to Tom Dziedzic's post on Fri 24 May 2013 :