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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
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"?

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