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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.

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Doug Block
Mon 8 Aug 2005Link
ditto what erica said. you do NOT want to proceed too far without
good legal advice. be very careful with minors (and their possibly
outraged parents)!

Randolfe Wicker
Mon 8 Aug 2005Link
Doug, you suggest "aggressive linking". Are there some good resources
for learning about that.

I have heard that one should link to "anything" or "anyone" who links
back to you. In the past, I was very judicious about whom I linked
to. I felt a link on my site was almost an endorsement.

Is there a particular book or series of articles which lays all of
this out? I have two websites but am unable to do anything with them
since the fellow who used to work with me on the computer left.

Doug Block
Tue 9 Aug 2005Link
just google on "vlogging"...

Randolfe Wicker
Tue 9 Aug 2005Link
I've done that some time ago. I've found helpful tutorials at
freeblog. There seem to be groups of vlogger who link to each other
to build traffic.

I was wondering if there are any specific resources as to "linking
stragedy"--whether selective links are better than unselective ones, etc.

There was a "counter" on a very excellent vlog, "vlog of a faux
journalist", and I was surprised at how little traffic her site received.

You can get a sampling of hilarious comedy with "the message" at
http://www.jonnygoldstein.com/2005/08/06/yanni_goldthtein_holithtic_healer_holithtic_videoblogging.php

Steve Holmes
Tue 9 Aug 2005Link
Randolfe:

Are the people in the footage identifiable? Some folks might not
want the world to know they went to an S&M fair. I'd be very leery
of using footage that features identifiable people unless releases
were signed or faces are obscured just enough to cover you legally.

As to running this by an entertainment lawyer, do a Google search
for "Lawyers for the Creative Arts" to see if it has someone working
in your area.

Randolfe Wicker
Tue 9 Aug 2005Link
I was aware of this while filming. I shot footage of a long line of
people (from the neck down) waiting in line to be admitted to a
"drinking area". They had to show I.D. to get in.

However, in the public mummification tape, many people were
identifiable. It is impossible to get releases from people when
shooting a street scene.

If someone is filmed dressed in shorts and a leather vest, smacking
his hand with a small whip and then paying (tipping) to swat the
volunteer mummifee on a public street in front of hundreds of people,
what could he claim?

The crowd was very mixed so far as orientation went--straight and
gay--but nearly all were into S&M. If you are into that scene, attend
a public event and are filmed walking around, what could your
objections be?

I'll certainly keep these concerns in mind during editing. I'm not
sure how difficult or expensive "blurring" faces would be.

Steve Holmes
Tue 9 Aug 2005Link
Some people lead dual lives. They might be comfortable at the fair
among people who believe as they do -- and nobody's going to condemn
them -- but might be horrified at the notion that their visit to the
fair, complete with vests and whips, was now on the World Wide Web,
where it could be seen by parents, bosses, co-workers or even wives
who have no idea what their husbands are into.

Put yourself in their shoes. Wouldn't you be leery about your
participation being uploaded for all to see?

Randolfe Wicker
Tue 9 Aug 2005Link
Well, I understand your point. However, as the first homosexual to go
on television and radio (1964 and 1962 respectively) and as the first
gay journalist to cover the emergence of an S&M community (1971), I
think you have to balance such concerns against the many people there
who willingly allowed themselves to be interviewed and videotaped.

I find it hard to square a mentality that is afraid of exposure with
someone who dressed "obviously" in a leather-daddy mode and publicly
induldged his desires in broad daylight, on a public street, before
dozens (possibly as many as a few hundred) onlookers.

Indeed, many of those participating seemed to enjoy being part of the
show. This public mummification was a humorous parody of the real
thing which would have been done privately, involved more restriction
and no shaving cream. The Saran Wrap and shaving cream buffered the
blows and made them painless. The whole thing was really a public
celebration of S&M sex.

I'd argue one shouldn't "dance in the streets" if one doesn't want to
be seen (and video-taped). I was obviously filming for a full 57
minutes. Everyone could see me. True, they might have thought I was
making home movies. That's all vlogs are--home movies uploaded to the
Internet.

Doug Block
Wed 10 Aug 2005Link
my guess is vlogs are pretty new ground concerning privacy issues.
you could always push the limits and possibly become a test case. test
cases get lots of publicity ;-)

Melissa Dopp
Wed 10 Aug 2005Link
Randolfe, I thought BDSM scenes involved "safe, sane, and consensual"
negotiations (public or private). By not seeking permission from your
subjects, are you not transgressing a basic tenet of BDSM? There is a
site for queer podcasting that will probably branch out to include
queer vlogging; I think it's called qPodder. Maybe you can push them
toward the inclusion of vlogging? I guess I'm curious about your
target audience - would folks within the BDSM scene really be
interested in your footage for archival purposes or are you hoping to
exploit sexual identities for a larger, more generalized cyber
audience?

Randolfe Wicker
Wed 10 Aug 2005Link
Well, I am not personally involved in BDSM so I don't feel I've
entered into any public or private "safe, sane and consensual"
contracts of an especially restrictive nature.

I donated to the cause of sexual freedom, showed my appreciation to
the performers by kissing the mummifee's hand and sending the two
performers copies of their performance.

I've asked them to sign releases, even offered to share any commercial
gains. However, I'm not sure either is necessary. I guess I'd have
to check case law about street performers or consult an entertainment
lawyer.

Lawyers cost a lot of money. If I'm simply sharing videotapes I've
made (for free) with others via vlogging, why is that so different
from showing it to a large party filled with friends? In both cases,
people have come to your apartment (or vlog)to see your videos.

There is a blog at http://www.tonyhayden.com where this fellow posts
weekly coverage of his most personal life. Last week, he included
footage of professional shows at a private gay resort in Orlando.

Thanks for the suggestions regarding qPodder. There is a "make your
own vlogroll" at http://videoblogging-universe.com/ which includes
about sixty vloggers including at least one transexual.

My target audience is AMAP--that is, As Many As Possible! I want to
explore the world with the whole world watching. A small ambition?

Melissa Dopp
Wed 10 Aug 2005Link
Well, the erosion of the supposed public/private split that folks
used to hang ethical considerations upon is interesting. One could
argue that your apartment space represents a "private space" while the
Internet vlogging space represents a "public space" so, there is a
difference. One could also argue that re-representing a sexual
community, in your case (as an outsider), will do absolutely nothing
to promote "sexual freedom" (if indeed such an ideal can be defined,
let alone achieved from a hetero-legal p.o.v.). Why not push the
envelope and see what legal walls you bump up against using newer
technologies to promote "sexual freedom"?

Steve Holmes
Wed 10 Aug 2005Link
Randolfe:

It's possible that the people who attended see the "contract" in a
different way. Heard the phrase, "What happens in Vegas stays in
Vegas"? My guess is that it's the same way here. Sure, people saw
you taping, but probably assumed you were doing it for your own
amusement rather than to share wtih as many as possible all over the
world.

I have a friend who is a swinger and goes to swinger parties.
Everyone there is comfortable because everyone there participates in
the hobby. Nobody's judging anyone else. Yet these same folks would
be horrified to see themselves in a video of the party that popped
up on a swingers' website.

In each case, we're talking about a subculture that is frequently
ridiculed and condemned. Those who are part of it are happy to let
it all hang out among their friends in the lifestyle, but don't want
to be "outed" on the Internet. This kind of thing ruins careers and
lives. I don't know how to obscure faces. Some more techie types may
have an answer. But it seems that would get your point across
without outing people who weren't expecting it. Otherwise, it would
be wrong to use the unaltered footage.

What everyone is saying is tread very carefully -- both to keep
yourself out of potential legal trouble and to protect the rights of
those who were videotaped.

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
I think the authentic spirit of the event, the genuine laughter and
the way people were "playing" in a public fethistic way is the best
defense and explanation for their lifestyle.

The thing that has made vlogging so attractive to me is how it
demolishes all the B.S. about "releases", "permissions", "licenses",
"backers", "distributors", etc. etc. etc.

I gave up professional writing years ago and cancelled a book contract
I'd been given by Random House. I didn't write for four years. When
I took pen-in-hand on a dare by Al Goldstein and wrote an article for
Screw, my article got Screw busted. It was the apex of my writing career.

Now, vlogging opens the gate of visual freedom to all those who dare
to pass through it. Vloggers are like libertarians who have finally
found a really "free" environment.

An artist or entertainer or expose artist only needs to produce
material that attracts a following on the level world-wide playing
field of the Internet.

You might note that the http://www.tonyhayden.com site has an "adult
material" disclaimer on it. Little precautions like that should be
all the parameters we need.

No red lights! No stop signs! Lights, camera, action--full speed ahead!

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
This isn't supposed to be a discussion board and I don't want to be
too distracting. However, I made a list of resources to share with
vloggers who respond to my postings. I've found nearly every vlogger
I left a comment for responded warmly and in a very welcoming way.
Here is the list for your exploration:
The best discussion I’ve found about digital video has been at:
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/

The best overall source I have found for finding late vlogs is through
this site. Click on the “make your own vlogroll” link above the
displayed video frames on the opening page. By checking those vlogs
that look interesting and then continuing to the bottom of the page,
you can have them open in a vertical row and you can check them out
quickly.
http://videoblogging-universe.com/

Two programs at the Soho Apple store this month include these two
“special events”.
IndieWIRE Presents
Join indieWIRE (www.indiewire.com) for a special presentation by one
of today’s leading independent filmmakers and learn how Apple
technology is used in the filmmaking process. For more information
visit, www.apple.com/retail/soho.
August 26, 7:30 p.m.
Videoblogging
Join videobloggers as they show their favorite videos and viewing
tools, discuss video blog creation, and share tips and techniques.
Learn how you can create your own video blog for free!
August 27, 7:00 p.m.
A vlog that does a pretty good job when stacked up against
professional commentators/newscasters
is:http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/archives/2005/08/rb_05_aug_01.html
The funniest and most talented humorous vlog I’ve found to date is:
http://www.jonnygoldstein.com/2005/08/06/yanni_goldthtein_holithtic_healer_holithtic_videoblogging.php

A vlog that is polished and professional, one that loads and plays in
a way that proves real quality is possible can be found at:
http://fauxpress.blogspot.com/2005/08/kites-meditation-on-romantic-love.html

A vlog which is so open about personal matters, it is absolutely
chilling, can be found at: (updated every Monday)
http://www.tonyhayden.com/

Doug Block
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
thanks for sharing the info, randolfe. feel free to apply for the d-
word community, where it is an ongoing discussion board:

www.d-word.com/community/join

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
I applied a couple weeks ago. The email was blocked and I had to do a
second something to make sure it went through to you.

I never received an answer. Should I try again? Could you send a
link to my email rhwicker@optonline.net and I'll put it in as my reply?

Thanx.

Doug Block
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
Ah, I remember what happened. You sent me an email rather than
applying via the form. Try again by going thru the official form:

www.d-word.com/community/join

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
When I click the link, this is the form I get. I'm at a loss as to
how to proceed.


<html>
<head>
*<title>The D-Word Community: Access Request 1</title>
</head>


<body bgcolor="#000033" text="#FFFFFF" link="#FFFF99" vlink="#FFFF99"
alink="#99FF99" onLoad="document.form1.userid.focus()">
*<form action="http://www.d-word.com/cgi-bin/dbman/db.cgi"
method="post" name="form1">
**<input type=hidden name="db" value="default">
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<tr>
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height="635" align="top" border="0"></a></td>
*<td width="7"></td>
*<td width="1" bgcolor="white"></td>
*<td width="7"></td>
*<td width="575" valign="top">
***<div align="left">
***<img src="http://www.d-word.com/graphics/dWordLogo4.gif"
width="150" height="76"></div><br>
********<br>
********<br>
***<table border=0 bgcolor="#000033" cellpadding=5 cellspacing=0
width=575 align=center valign=top>
***<tr><td bgcolor="#003366">

*****<center><font face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular"
size="4"><b>
******Joining The D-Word Community - Step 1 of 3</font>
*****</b></font></center></td></tr><tr><td><br>
*****<font face="Arial,Helvetica,Geneva,Swiss,SunSans-Regular"
size="2">Please enter <b>exactly the same</b> user name and password
that you chose when you registered for <nobr>The D-Word Forum</nobr>
(our public area) at Café Utne.<br><br>
If you don't have a Café Utne user name and password yet, you need to
<a
href="http://www.d-word.com/register/dwordsignup.html"><nobr>register
for The D-Word Forum</nobr></a> <b>before</b> joining The D-Word
Community.
*****<br><br>
<b>User name and password must be entered in lowercase.</b><br><br>
*****<table border=0>
*****<tr><td><Font face="Arial, Helvetica" Size=2
Color=#336699><b>User Name:</b></FONT></td>
******<td><input type="TEXT" name="userid" value=""></td></tr>
*****<tr><td><Font face="Arial, Helvetica" Size=2
Color=#336699><b>Password:</b></FONT></td>
******<td><input type="PASSWORD" name="pw" value=""></td></tr>
*****</table>
<br>
Café Utne is our conferencing platform. As part of their privacy
policies, Café Utne and The D-Word don't exchange any user data. To
make our database work, <b>The D-Word Community relies on you to
supply us with the correct user name and password to match your Café
Utne account.</b> During the next steps, we will ask you for
information once again that you might have supplied already when you
registered for Café Utne. Thank you for understanding this.
*****<p align=center><center><input type="SUBMIT" name="signup"
value="Continue"></center></p>
***</td></tr>
**</table>
*</center></td></tr></table>
*</form>***<BR>
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</body>
</html>

Doug Block
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
Don't know why you go to that page, Randolfe. It's not the one I'm
linking to.

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
I clicked on the link in your posting. It comes to a page which
reads:(I'll edit to make shorter)

"After registering with Café Utne, you'll need to fill in an access
request for The D-Word Community that has three steps:

* In step 1, we ask you for your Café Utne user name and password.
* In step 2, we would like to hear why you wish to join and what
you feel you could add to the discussions.
* In step 3, we want to get an idea of your professional
documentary experience. You can also enter other details for our
database at this stage, but only city, country, and email address will
be required. "

The "access request" is underscorded. I click on that and get the
scrambled HTML posted previously. If I'm missing something, please
advise me as to what I am doing wrong.

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
Some of those visiting here might be interested in the following
information.

This site has great free tutorials:

http://freevlog.org/

Also, Friday night, August 12th, there is going to be an interesting
program at Apple’s store in SoHo which is located at 103 Prince Street.

One Hour Film School
In one hour, learn to create your own film or documentary with
low-budget digital filmmaking techniques. All equipment necessary is
available at The Apple Store.
August 12, 7:30 p.m.

Doug Block
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
by following step one, you get to a small window that asks for your
cafe utne user name and password. are you getting that?

Randolfe Wicker
Thu 11 Aug 2005Link
Yes, I sign in every time using it (it's saved for me). I tried
registering again, thinking it might be necessary, and got this
accurate message:



PLEASE SUPPORT AN INDEPENDENT CAFE UTNE:
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Error
rhwicker@optonline.net already has an account: randolfe


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Ben Kempas
Fri 12 Aug 2005Link
I just tested the access request pages, and sadly I have the same
problem on Opera. It looks fine on Internet Explorer, though.

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