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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.

Christopher Wong
Thu 27 May 2010Link

just so you know, documentaries produced here in the U.S. routinely cost anywhere from $300,000 – $500,000 to make. so, make sure that you compensate yourself fairly in the budget (for each and every job you performed, even if it was a one-man band), and don't budget for too low a figure. if your figure is TOO low, that might be a red flag to funders that you don't know what you are doing... for me, i remember originally budgeting for $120,000 (when i was young and clueless); however, my final budget came in at just under $400,000.


Rob Henry
Fri 28 May 2010Link

Mmm interesting, thanks Chris.
I've listed the following budget categories for the films completion;
- Editing
- Sound
- Music
- Color Grading
- Animation, Graphic Design
- Format Transfers
- Festivals (Appl. fees, Shipping, Other expenses)
- Travel (Airfares, Accomodation, Expenses)
- Marketing
- Publicity
- Legal Fees
- Insurance
Is there anything I'll left out that you think should be added?
The figure is currently hovering just above your 'young and clueless' total so I may need to reevaluate. Starting with the figure allocated for my own workload!


jade wu
Fri 28 May 2010Link

In reply to Rob Henry's post on Thu 27 May 2010 :

Best to become a member. It'll give you access to invaluable information on the nuts and bolts of all aspects of doc filmmaking. I've learned boatloads.


Rob Henry
Fri 28 May 2010Link

In reply to jade wu's post on Fri 28 May 2010 :

Thanks Jade, I have applied.


Noam Osband
Sat 12 Jun 2010Link

I'm trying to figure out a light tripod setup and i wonder if you guys have any thoughts:
My plan is to get either a Manfrotto 503HDV head or a Libec H38

I want to combine it with one of the following 3 legs I found used on B&H. Any advice would be welcome. I feel like I'm sure one of the links below is going to be laughably wrong for me:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/800705572-USE/Gitzo_GT1531_GT1531_Mountaineer_6X_Carbon.html/mode/edu
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/800706511-USE/Manfrotto_3443D_3443D_CF_Tripod_Legs.html/mode/edu
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/800620652-USE/Benro_450_427_C_427n6_8x_Carbon_Fiber.html/mode/edu


Timoty Gibbs
Sat 12 Jun 2010Link

Is a documentary showcase like IDA's DOCUWEEKS a good opportunity for filmmakers?


Robert Goodman
Sun 13 Jun 2010Link

All of the Libec stuff I've seen is utter crap. I would avoid their products. Gitzo makes great stuff. Should last a lifetime.


Andy Schocken
Sun 13 Jun 2010Link

Noam, I actually checked out those Gitzo legs today at B&H. I'm not sure what camera you're using, but I wouldn't put much weight on those- they're pencil thin. I needed a lightweight travel tripod for my 5d, and put the Manfrotto 701 head (not recommended unless you really need to cut down on weight) on the Gitzo 2531LVL legs. This setup also gives you a ball leveling mechanism, which is crucial for fast setup, so you don't have to spend a bunch of time messing with the legs. Whatever you get, you should get something with a leveling mechanism (usually in video, you get a head with a ball level base, and attach it to legs that have the proper size bowl- probably 75mm for you).


Magee Clegg
Thu 17 Jun 2010Link

I just finished my 2nd short documentary! 'Filipino Rice Policy', It discusses the corruption behind this massive monopoly in the Philippine rice trade and the future of Agriculture Policy in the Philippines. I would love to hear your criticism and thoughts on what I should do with it. It's only 23-minutes

you can email me at: magee.clegg@gmail.com

link: http://www.vimeo.com/11989163

Magee Clegg


Matt Bengston
Fri 18 Jun 2010Link

I'm currently working on a series of small segments for my website, all of which are documentary-style segments that have to do with cars and motoring. During some of the filming, we will be on a race track that a friend of mine manages, and some of the other filming will be done on the road leading to the track. It's a very remote road that not that many people go on, but what I'm worried about is if someone does drive down the road when we are filming. I'll have basically myself along with a camera car, and two people setup on tripods along the road. How worried should I be about if someone drives by when we are filming, or something like that? It would be quite difficult to chase them down and ask them for a release, obviously..


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