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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.

Ramona Diaz
Thu 29 Oct 2009Link

Stanford – I'm an alum. You can emal me offline and I'll give you the lowdown. Are you from the Philippines?

Doug Block
Thu 29 Oct 2009Link

Magee, you might want to consider The School of Visual Arts in New York City. They have a new MFA program in documentary that I hear very good things about.

Christopher Wong
Thu 29 Oct 2009Link

stanford and berkeley come to mind as the top grad schools for documentary production. ucla is also quite good, but it provides the extra benefit of giving you exposure to fiction narrative production as well. (if you are a CA resident, ucla would also be substantially cheaper than a program like stanford)

Magee Clegg
Thu 29 Oct 2009Link

Thanks for responding! I will check that out. If anyone else has anymore ideas, I would love to hear from you.

Erica Ginsberg
Fri 30 Oct 2009Link

I'm an alum of American University in Washington DC. It is not specifically a documentary program but, since non-fiction is the bread and butter of the area, the majority of the students are focused on documentary. I can't say how it compares academically or artistically to the other aforementioned universities, but it does position you firmly in the real world of actually finding work in the industry.

Edited Fri 30 Oct 2009 by Erica Ginsberg

Diane Johnson
Mon 2 Nov 2009Link

Is there an experienced line producer that can send me sample budgets of a documentary – I would really appreciate it, I know that budgets vary depending on different elements, but I just need detailed budget to look at. is my email

Thanks in advance!

Daniel McGuire
Tue 10 Nov 2009Link

In reply to J. Christian Jensen's post on Tue 4 Aug 2009 :
An MA won't help you get much in getting work in academia – A doctorate in Communications or Art Hist Concentration Film Studies would. To teach filmmaking then an MFA is considered the terminal degree – so that is more useful than an MA. That being said, going into debt for 100k or so to get a degree should be questioned in this day and age – better to use that money to make a couple of good films.

Arjuna Krishnaratne
Tue 10 Nov 2009Link

Hi this is Krishna from Sri Lanka. Can some one help me to find out an online course in documentary film making. Please.

Ginger Rose Lee
Wed 11 Nov 2009Link

hi there – i am doing two different series – one is a set of one on one interviews, the other is trailing a team of people for a day. it's for a great idea but i have no documentary filmmaking experience, so i was going to hire film students to do it – or have them do it for deferred pay as i have no money. for the one on one interviews, i dont need anything fancy, right? i just need someone who has shot interviews, with a camera and lighting adn sound kit? these are going to be aired on the web – tey're sort of long. what sort of camera should i ask that they have? i'm clueless, please help! thanks

Ginger Rose Lee
Wed 11 Nov 2009Link

and also for the part where they are trailing a team of people, should i hire more than one camera person? that could get tricky...

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