name the documentary whatever you want... but i would not worry about that right now. you can decide on the title when you are done (or nearly done) with the film – right now, just concentrate on making it good.
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.
In reply to tina flemmerer's post on Wed 4 Mar 2009 :
Hmm, well you're right, the HVX200 is more on the pro end. Have you looked into getting a journalist visa? That's what we do when we work officially in the US. Then at least you'd have no worries.
Visas are about people and passport controls. This is about equipment and customs. If you travel with professional equipment, you'll need an A.T.A. Carnet issued by your chamber of commerce. Pretty much a standard procedure.
Start here: http://www.uscib.org/index.asp?DocumentID=1843
thank you for your responses, they were very helpful.
But I think I might end up staying in Germany for a while which makes things easier. I just read that you don't have to pay taxes for your personal and professional household goods if you intend to move to Germany. So we'll see. Thanks again.
Before 3 years I shoot some important video from camera SONY DCR-HC26 . Now I want to use this 5 minutes video which I shoot from this simple camera.
All other video which I shoot is in good quality from good camera and I am using for my documentary.
Can I mix this five minutes video which I shoot from SONY DCR-HC26? Is this will affect bad in whole documentary? Actually what footage from (SONY DCR-HC26 ) I want to use it can not shoot again…
Thanks if anyone advice I should use or not.
It depends very much on the film you are making. Some combine material from a wide variety of sources – archive, home movies, news, high-medium-low quality – whereas with others the visual continuity is of prime importance.
The question is – what do you want to achieve with your project?
In reply to Wang Fu's post on Thu 5 Mar 2009 :
the simple answer is YES. you can always combine footage from many different sources. the result may or may not be visually pleasing, but if you can't reshoot something, you have to just use what you have.
My name is Maria Esther Pimentel. I´m a high school student in Los Angeles, interested in documentary projects. Can you please help me with the following questions?
1. What is the average range Budget in Documentary Films? The estimated dollar budget amount for my first-possible/future documentary is $450,084. For a documentary, the mentioned budget amount would be law, normal, or high? Keeping in mind that it will be film in Latin America.
2. Can you guide me to a link/site where I can see a sample of a professional business proposal for a documentary package, before presenting it to a possible investor?
3. Can you guide me to a link/site where I can see a copy of a professional sample budget?
Esther, it's great that you are thinking about such things as a professional proposal and budget this early in your career. While the budget you mention is not unheard of, especially for a project involving travel, it might be a bit high if this is going to be your first feature film. It would be hard to offer more specific advice without knowing more about the project (i.e., one country or several, how long the finished film will be, what you plan to shoot on, will you have to hire interpreters and do subtitles after shooting, etc.). My recommendation would be to join a free documentary filmmakers' listserv called Doculink which is headquarted right there in L.A. Its co-founder Robert Bahar also authored a very useful article on budgeting and an Excel Template Budget which you may find useful.
Although I am sure you've already thought of this (and maybe have already done it), if you haven't made a documentary before, you may want to try doing something short and local first to test the waters. You may also want to see if there are some youth media programs in LA or any kind of training at a public access TV station or community college which would be open to high school students.
Hi all! My name is Nicholas Wiesnet and I'm an undergraduate cinematographer at Chapman University in Southern California from Seattle, WA. I'm looking for a fixer in Cameroon – Anyone have any contacts? A friend recommended I check out this site when she heard that I was shooting a doc there. Any suggestions or contacts would be MUCH appreciated!
In reply to tina flemmerer's post on Wed 4 Mar 2009 : I've heard the ATA Carnets can be expensive, and an easier route is to have a U.S. Customs Declaration of all your gear as you leave the U.S. Apparently for personal gear it's just as good as a Carnet in establishing proof of ownership and origin of goods.
That's good enough for an easy return to the U.S., but it doesn't guarantee you hassle-free entry into the country you're visiting.
I am working on a documentary in Canada, though I am US based. Are there any considerations for working with a fiscal sponsor in another country? Most of the donors for the film will likely be Canadian.
Related to that issue, if I don't use a fiscal sponsor, is there any benefit to a person donating to my film? Thanks! –c
A US fiscal sponsor will only be able to offer the tax incentive to US taxpayers, so you'd have to seek out a similar thing in Canada if you want to appeal primarily to Canadian taxpayers. However, if you're seeking US foundation $$, you won't be able to get them (usually) unless you have a US fiscal sponsor. Sounds like you might want to have both?
Generally speaking, a donor will give money to your film because they care about the subject matter, because they care about you or because they care about documentary. Ideally all three. It's very rare that someone will give you money just for the tax incentive. That's a sweetener, for sure, but the real reason anyone will give you money is because you're passionate, dedicated and trying to tell a story for important reasons.
Very helpful answer, Marj! I'm considering partnering with a local museum in Canada since it is relevant to the documentary and is a beloved attraction in the town. I will keep my antenna up in case there is interest on the US side to consider getting a sponsor here. Thanks for the advice. –c
Wondering if there are good or recommended choices for choosing mini-DV tape brands and quality for shooting an HDV doc? Thanks.
any opinions on the Canon XH-A1 HDV?
or JVC GY-HM100U?
In reply to tina flemmerer's post on Tue 3 Mar 2009 :
Btw thx tina for the advice i've been practicing in public places, works great
I have recently been asked to secure a distribution agreement by a client for a completed documentary. How/where can I submit content for consideration?
Is there a place to go where a person with no history in this industry will be taken seriously?
In reply to Michael Fagans's post on Mon 9 Mar 2009 :
Don't waste your money on "HDV quality" tapes. I use Sony DVC Premium tapes in a Z1U and an A1U. I rarely see dropouts...maybe one in every 20 tapes.
Ventura Film Festival
The Ventura Film Festival, which was started in 2004 by Jordan Older and his father, has recently concluded its
first event of 2009 at the Majestic Ventura Theater in Ventura, California with the Ventura Film Festival "Fun Day"
on February 16, 2009 at 2pm.
The Ventura Film Festival is a combination online and traditional film festival requiring all submissions to be
uploaded online and submitted via traditional means. The Ventura Film Festival has maintained that one of it's main
goals is to give a large part of any proceeds to forest and ocean preservation efforts. The Ventura Film Festival
features independent films from around the world and from local film makers focusing on environmental issues such as
forest and ocean preservation, humanitarian issues, surf, skate, extreme/action sports, sports, martial arts, and
The Ventura Film Festival opened it’s 2009 events on Monday February 16, 2009 at the Majestic Ventura Theater in
Ventura, California with a “fun day”. The event marked the 6th anniversary of the Ventura Film Festival which was
started by Jordan Older and his father in 2004. The Ventura Film Festival board of directors were present to show
their selection of currently received entries for the 2009 Ventura Film Festival. The festival board includes
Hollywood film makers Dustin Dean and U.S. Olympian John Godina who is the most decorated shot putter in U.S.
athletics history. Ventura Film Festival is a green organization and accepts entries and submissions online at the
festival’s official web site, http://venturafilmfestival.org. Part of the profits from the Ventura Film Festival
will go directly towards environmental issues such as forest and ocean preservation. The “fun day” served as a warm
up for the main event of the 2009 Ventura Film Festival which takes place on July 5th.
The Ventura Film Festival gives out no awards. We prefer not to have competition and to simply celibrate great
films as works of art and enjoy a fun event that provides support for environmental issues such as forest and ocean
preservation. From time to time we may give notice of special recognition to certain films.
The Ventura Film Festival has become a partner with the world's biggest film festival marketing organization
Withoutabox. The partnership was on request of Withoutabox executive Sara Nixon-Kershner on Feburary 18, 2008.
Withoutabox provides submission and marketing service to over 200,000 filmmakers in 200 countries as well as manage
submission receiving, judging, and notification, schedule publishing, and the ability to sell tickets using targeted
ads on well known film site IMDB.
Submitting to the Ventura Film Festival is a two step process. BOTH STEPS ARE REQUIRED!!!
1) upload your submission to http://venturafilmfestival.net (REQUIRED)
2) Submit via Withoutabox using this link: http://www.withoutabox.com/login/7761 (REQUIRED)
Submissions that are not uploaded to http://venturafilmfestival.net will not be considered.
In reply to Mike Flounlacker's post on Mon 16 Mar 2009 :
I'm guessing the military is asking for this so you can shoot on base. No?
Hi, this is Rick Minnich in Berlin, Germany. I'm a US-born doc filmmaker who's been based in Berlin since 1990. I've made a number of shorts and feature-length docs, most recently FORGETTING DAD about my father's bizarre and inexplicable case of amnesia, which has haunted my family for the past nineteen years. Some of you might have caught the film at its premiere at IDFA last November. This spring it will also be playing at It's All True, Belfast, Full Frame, HotDocs, and Planete Doc Review in Warsaw, and I would love to meet other D-Worders at one of these festivals, here in Berlin or elsewhere. I can be reached at email@example.com. Cheers!
Hi Rick – welcome aboard (it's been a long while, but you're here at last).
Not sure you need any mentoring with your track record (hint – this post would have been more appropriate in Introduce Yourself but hey, what the heck). Your email and contact details are available to other members on your profile.
To everyone else: do yourself a favour and check out Forgetting Dad – you'll be glad you did.