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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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Robert Goodman
Wed 27 Jun 2001Link
Try talking to the project manager (usually in the construction
office). The guys on the site are probably worried that you're taping
them to make sure they're not goofing off, performing work that would
invalidate a disability claim, attempting to bust the union, catch
stealing of construction materials, spying on them flirting with
passersby for a divorce case or anything else that goes through
anyone's head when you're being surveilled.

Tony Esposito
Wed 27 Jun 2001Link
Thanks for the input Doug and Robert. I'll give your ideas a try. I
suppose I could film on the weekends when there are no workers there.
My coworkers at the local NBC affiliate also pointed out they may
think I'm with the INS looking for illegal workers.
Thanks again
Tony Esposito

Adele Wood
Tue 13 Nov 2001Link
Hi. I'm Adele and I've been asked by our local cable access
coordinator to make three thirty minute shows on emergency
preparations for winter storms or terrorist attacks. My family, (my
16 year old daughter and my boyfriend), and I, are all going to take
the cable show production course in the next week. I'm a total
beginner at producing though I hosted two cooking shows once. I also
have a BFA. Here are my questions: I'm writing the show in my head-
the kernal of what I'm trying to communicate. Is the best approach to
schedule time where I sit down and write the show? Is it like writing
a letter where it takes time to phrase things so that the logic of
what you really want to say finally comes across in an elegant way?
Or, because televised video is not text, you need to think and write
differently? Do I only need to write an outline and then wing it? I
want to help people see how they can put together some supplies in
case they have to live on their own for a few days up to a couple of
weeks. Thank you listening. I would appreciate even a small amount of
help. Thanks, again.

Doug Block
Tue 13 Nov 2001Link
An outline is helpful, Adele, for sure. But unless you're an expert
in terrorism yourself, you might want to start by rounding up a few
experts and videotaping interviews with them. Then tape them (or
someone) demonstrating some of the things they advise.

Remember, tv is a visual medium and you need to think about conveying
information visually.

Taking a course is a great idea, too.

Good luck!

Ben Kempas
Tue 13 Nov 2001Link
The 1950s saw some great films of this kind ...
They offered advice for the unlikely event of a nuclear attack, and
all they told people was to "duck and cover".

Maybe that could be a way to start for you: Buy some of the old
library footage only to invite people to follow a more up-to-date
approach instead. If you make people smile, they will remember much
better what they've been told.

Signed, Ben under the breakfast table with a newspaper sheet on top of
his head.

Adele Wood
Thu 15 Nov 2001Link
Both great ideas! Especially the newspaper over the head as a
radiation deterrent. In the early sixties, at my boarding school
outside DC, I asked about the Civil Defense signs over the doorways
to the basement laundry rooms. I knew a basement was not going to
protect us, and my seeing and commenting on the absurdity of the
signs was highly unappreciated by the "authorities". The fifties
films would be good and I like the advice on interviewing experts,
because this is not my field. Thank you!!!

Doug Block
Fri 16 Nov 2001Link
Welcome ;-)

David Herman
Fri 16 Nov 2001Link
The newspaper over Ben's head is to hide his identity. Otherwise he
is a brilliant filmmaker. I know. I saw one of his efforts on the web
recently. Super stuff. Maybe he could post the URL.

Jeff Carr
Thu 20 Dec 2001Link
Hi all. I am working on a documenatary on my school. I am currently
only 16 but so far I have been able to wing it. I was wondering if
anyone knew of any good places to look for writing a good proposal
for getting my documentary shown on our local television station. I
have already talked to the producer, and he said he was interested in
the program, for my school is closing down and re-locating. He has
asked me to write up a proposal. I was planning on writing up
keypoint sheets, for them to look at, and then doing a powerepoint
presentation, and presenting storyboards of my project. Ifyou know
of a place to look for writing proposals,could you please let me
know, Thanks

Robert Goodman
Thu 20 Dec 2001Link
www.communicator.com

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