The Quick Guide to The D-Word

Joining the D-Word

How do I register for The D-Word?

Register here. Membership is free and open to all who are professionals working in the documentary industry as long as you abide by our Terms of Service and Code of Conduct (noted below).

What are the different levels of members?

At The D-Word, there are two types of members, both of which are free:

Regular members: Anyone who registers and agrees to the Terms of Service and Code of Conduct. This is the appropriate level for documentary film fans, aspiring documentary filmmakers, and film students. You can read Public Topics and archived Special Discussions that have a little eye icon. You can access recorded sessions on our YouTube page. If you were a film student or aspiring filmmaker when you first joined and are now working in the industry or you were always Pro but never requested Pro status, you can request a free upgrade to your membership by updating your profile.

Professional members: In addition to the benefits of regular members, Pro members get access to read and post in all the topics on The D-Word and may attend weekly F2Fs (meet-ups) on Zoom to network with other D-Worders, hear from guest experts, and provide feedback on works in progress. If you are a documentary professional, you should apply for free Professional status. Since this status must be reviewed and approved by The D-Word Hosts before being activated, you must complete a short questionnaire when you register. This is the appropriate level for documentary directors, producers, cinematographers, audio professionals, editors, composers, film festival staff, media funders, broadcasters, and other industry professionals. Professionals can post in all active topics, and they can read all archived topics. They can also add details of films they've made and projects in development.

What is the criteria for consideration for Professional status?

The word “professional” can sometimes discourage registrants who may not make much of a living from their work even if they have distributed their work. We understand that many filmmakers may be working independently or may need to pay their dues by working pro bono or on a deferred basis while they make their primary living in another way. We do not require that you have to earn your primary income from documentary work or even film work. However, you need to be creating or contributing to film at a professional level. That is why we ask you to include either an IMDB page (your public page, not a Pro IMDB page) or a website where we can learn more about you and your experience.

When considering applications for Pro status, we consider the following criteria (you do not need to meet the requirements for all three of these, but should meet the requirements for at least one of them):

  1. Does the registrant earn a significant part of their income from a job that is documentary-related or in an adjacent field?
  2. Has the registrant completed a documentary (short or feature) that has been shown at a festival, been broadcast, or been screened on a streaming platform beyond the filmmaker’s personal YouTube/Vimeo/Facebook page or at a film school? Or is the registrant producing or directing a work-in-progress which has been funded by a grant?
  3. Anyone else who makes a good case for what they want to contribute to the community.

Code of Conduct on The D-Word

The D-Word is committed to allowing freedom of expression, including maintaining a safe online space for people with opposing views to express themselves. Like the real world, the people who participate in our online forums and Zoom F2Fs come from different places, backgrounds, and disciplines -- and their views reflect that variety.

That being said, everyone who contributes to these conversations should be able to express their views and beliefs in a safe environment, without feeling attacked. In order to foster a safe space for intelligent and respectful dialogue, everyone who participates in The D-Word must agree to and abide by the following Code of Conduct:

Debate is encouraged, but it must remain civil and respectful. We do not tolerate disrespect, extreme vulgarity, or threats of violence on our online forum or Zoom F2Fs.

All discussions contained within the professional topics on our Forum and in the chat on our Zoom F2Fs are considered as if copyrighted to their respective posters. Any quoting of posts outside of The D-Word can only be made with written permission of that person.

The Hosts reserve the right to remove all posts, comments, and potentially members that:

  • contain threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, libelous, hateful, or otherwise objectionable content;
  • disrupt dialogue. We do not allow members to repeatedly post the same information to our online forums in a deliberate attempt to "spam", clog or otherwise inhibit open discussion;
  • engage in ad hominem attacks (i.e. attack a fellow member, rather than the content of the comment itself), stalking or otherwise harassing others on our forums;
  • invade a fellow member's privacy; this includes emailing, tagging, or direct messaging another member in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable or feel like a microaggression (for example, commenting on another member's physical appearance)
  • attempt to impersonate or falsely state or otherwise misrepresent another member, person or entity;
  • promote unsolicited or unauthorized commercial advertising, "junk mail," "spam," "chain letters," "pyramid schemes," or any other form of solicitation whether in The D-Word itself or by using the People Search to farm contact information;
  • endanger or harm a minor in any way.
  • are gigs or job postings that are not transparent about compensation.

Please note: If a member violates our Code of Conduct, we reserve the right to ban them from further participation on The D-Word.

Subscribing to our mailing list (highly recommended)

We send out a weekly email to Pro members with information about (and links to register for) upcoming F2Fs on Zoom. They also update you on new videos posted to our D-Word YouTube Channel, and other special news and events. They contain no ads and we never share our email list. To make sure you're subscribed, go to MY SETTINGS --> EDIT SETTINGS --> scroll to the bottom of the page and click on "Subscribe to our Mailing list. (NOTE: People in countries which have opt-in requirements have to manually opt-in. People in other countries - like the USA - are default opted in, though you can unsubscribe at any time.

What are F2Fs?

Since its inception, The D-Word has fostered in-person connections at festivals and industry events. We have called these F2Fs (short for Face 2 Face meetups). Beginning in 2020, during the start of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, we began holding weekly virtual F2Fs via Zoom for our professional members. These continue to take place almost every Friday between 12:00 noon - 1:30 pm Eastern U.S. timezone. They are announced to Pro members on our homepage and in our weekly emails. They are free but do require advance registration. Zoom F2Fs can be as simple as facilitated networking sessions to panels or conversations with guest experts (many of which are recorded and featured on our YouTube page), and feedback sessions for works-in-progress.

What if I am looking for someone to make a documentary about me or a topic close to my heart?

While we appreciate that some folks who find The D-Word are simply in search of a documentary filmmaker, most of our members are not looking for new projects, but are coming to us to discuss ones they are already working on. If you have already raised a budget for the documentary and are looking for professionals to help make it, you can e-mail a description of the need, topic, and amount you have budgeted, and we can post it for you in the Classifieds. We cannot share classifieds where you are expecting filmmakers to work for free or raise their own funds for the project.

How do I edit my profile?

Using the master navigation on the homepage left-hand column, click on “My D-Word” and follow the drop down to “My profile”. You’ll see a large blue bar at the top of your page with a link to “edit your profile”. When you’re done editing, remember to click “save” at the bottom!

How do I add a profile photo?

Using the master navigation on the homepage left hand column, click on “My D-Word” and follow the drop down to “My profile”. Click on the photo and follow the prompts to upload your picture.

Participating in the D-Word Forum

What are the different topics?

Topics are the main dish of The D-Word. This is where the conversation happens. You can always access the Topics list using the left hand navigation from the homepage. Just click on “Topics” and, voila, you can see all the different topics. If you are seeing only a few Public Topics, that means you are either not logged in or are not a Professional. If you are logged in as a Professional, you should be seeing about 40 different topics -- everything ranging from festivals to funding to distribution to research to technical topics on cinematography, editing, and more.

Using the tabs at the top of the Topics section, you can choose to display them by category, by posting date, or by topic name. It’s important to keep conversations organized in the correct topic, so that they can be found again later. You’ll find a handy topic description at the top of each topic, to let you know whether you’re in the right place.

How do I read posts in a topic?

Click into any topic to start reading. You’ll be able to use the continuous scroll function using the toolbar at the bottom of the page to jump back and forward in time. Just click on the drop down menu to navigate and dive into years worth of D-Wisdom that awaits.

Posts you have not read will appear with a white background, and there will be a few posts with a grey background above, to give you context. You can set how many “context” posts you want to see in your settings.

If you’re a power-user, you can use the yellow bar at the top of your homepage view to read new posts in all unread topics or just read new posts in your favorite topics. If you use this option, the blue bar at the top of the screen inside a topic will give you a click through to the next topic with unread posts, and you can easily skip forward and see everything you’ve missed. As you scroll down the page, the blue bar stays with you, so it’s always easy to access.

How do I make a new post?

Navigate into the topic you want to post in and look for the "New Post" button on the bottom right. It looks like this:

If you are replying to something that someone else has posted, click the "Reply" button on that post.

A box will appear at the bottom of the screen where you can write what you want to write in the white box and then click the red "Post" button to post. If you are not replying, you can add an optional Subject.

You can also use the formatting tools to add bold, italics, underline, strike-throughs, bullets, links, etc. If you want to mention another member in your post, type @ and then write their name. You will see a drop-down pop-up and you can click on the person's name. They will be notified of your post.

You can also add photos and video links, using the tabs below the post-box.

When you are ready to post, just click “Post.” Your post will appear with a yellow background indicating that it's yours.

How do I decide which is the best topic to post in?

As with any online community, it is good to check out the lay of the land before posting, but we really encourage you to dive in and make The D-Word work for you. We encourage you to start by introducing yourself in the (surprise! surprise!) Introduce Yourself topic. Then head over to other topics of interest, expertise, or questions. Most of the topics are pretty self-explanatory, but you can also click on them and see a description at the top of the page.

Are there any rules about posting?

We don’t have many rules for The D-Word Forum other than the golden rule and "don’t be a jerk". That said, we do have what we’d call good practices:

  • Introduce yourself: When you first register, we’d love you to drop by the Introduce Yourself topic and do exactly that, even if briefly. We like to know who our new members are.
  • Smile for the camera: Ah filmmakers, we like to be behind the camera rather than in front of it. But we strongly encourage everyone to put up a photo of themselves in their member profile.
  • We don’t bite. While the chattiness of The D-Word may make it seem like the active members all know each other, the truth is some of us have never even met each other in person. And we all started out as first-time posters at one point or another. This is a community which aims to be supportive. So feel free to jump right in to the conversation. We’d like to get to know you.
  • Assume good will. We welcome debates, disagreements and even the occasional flame, but we discourage unnecessary rudeness. 
  • Do not use The D-Word only to pitch your product, service, event, or film. Feel free to recommend products, services, and events in the course of conversation and do tell us if you have any news on your film, but do not offend other members by coming in only to sell something.
  • No need to sign your posts. The D-Word isn’t email. There’s no need to sign your posts at the end as your name and photo appears automatically on every post.
  • Do not double post. If what you’re writing seems to belong in more than one topic, choose the best one.
  • Be ready to give as much as you get. Yes it is fine to ask questions, but you will get much more out of the community if you are ready to help others with questions as much as you may have a lot of questions of your own. Also you will probably engage more people if you stay part of the conversation for a while rather than just popping in with a question infrequently.
  • Stay on topic. It’s mostly a matter of being able to find information in the right place. If you talk about that great new camera in the Bar & Grill, it’s not going to get found later. Not to worry too much, though. The hosts take on the role of “topic cops” if the conversations begin to stray too far off topic.
  • Be transparent about compensation when posting gigs or jobs. When posting a job or gig, you must include a pay rate or range or note if it is pro bono. "Commensurate with experience" and "Market rate" doesn't cut it since this isn't being transparent. This applies to the Classifieds topic or anywhere else on The D-Word. Since we have members worldwide, also note if your posting is limited to a specific geographic area. Learn more about our policy about compensation transparency.
  • Have a film coming out into the world and want to tell us about it? Yay! Even though we do pooh-pooh too much pitching of products, services, and films all over our topics, there are a few where you can feel free to put yourself out there. Want feedback on a trailer or a sequence? Works in Progress is the place to go. Crowdfunding for your latest opus? Hey, there’s a topic called Crowdfunding where you can announce that and get advice on your campaign from other D-Worders. Anything else self-promotional? There’s a catch-all topic called Shameless Self-Promotion.
  • Like someone else’s post? That’s great. But you don’t need to post that you agree or that you like a post unless you have something more to add to the conversation. Just want to show someone how awesome or helpful you think her post is? Click that Like button. The more likes a post gets, the further it moves up to the Hot Posts.
  • What’s said in The D-Word stays in The D-Word. In the tradition of other virtual communities, we have a copyright policy in effect here. Which means you own your own words. If you write something here, consider it copyrighted. If you take someone else’s writings or material from here without their permission, consider it stealing. That said...
  • ...Don’t post something you wouldn’t feel comfortable being seen in a newspaper. The public topics are, as you would expect, public. They can show up in search engines. The professional topics on The D-Word are as private as anything online is ever going to be. They do not show up in general search engines, and you need a Professional account to log in and see them. That said, there are nearly 12,000 professional members. Things you post may be read by those who respond to the post, but may also be read by many more professional members, potentially including funders, distributors, festival staff, and others beyond filmmakers.

How do I know if a topic or question has already been discussed?

If you are coming to The D-Word to find out about others’ experiences with a film festival or a distributor, for example, you might first want to do a search on one or more keywords by clicking the Search Button (on the left bar on a computer or in the Dropdown menu on a phone). The search will bring up all prior posts (with the most recent one first).

What if I change my mind and want to edit or delete a post?

You have up to 24 hours to delete or edit a post. Just click on the gear wheel icon and you should see a pencil-button to edit or an X-button to delete your post. Why only a day? Because, after that, deleting a post could destroy the flow of a conversation if others have already responded to it. There is no time limit for going back to add a subject to an older post.

Personalizing The D-Word Forum for how you want to use it

Whether you are checking The D-Word several times a day, once every couple of weeks or twice a year, the best part of the new interface is that it is easier than ever to personalize. New tools make it easier to stay abreast of posts however (in)frequently you check in. 

How do I get caught up?

Sometimes, you may need a quick fix to get caught up after time away from The D-Word. Fear not. We have a few helpful ways to help.

The quickest way to know what you’ve missed is to look at the ‘Hot Posts” box on your homepage view. Here you can quickly scan what your fellow members are finding most interesting.

Using the yellow bar at the top of your homepage view, you can simply click on “Reset Counter to Zero” and—hey presto!—all the topics zero out and you can move forward with a clear conscience.

You can also choose to zero out the counters in any topic category. To do this, navigate to the topics list using the left hand navigation on the homepage, then group the topic by category and use the “Reset Counters” button in each category to wipe away the guilt.

How do posts make it on to “Popular Posts”?

On each post, there is a like button which you can press when you like a post or think it is worth highlighting for other members. It’s a great way to highlight insightful posts about films, festivals, gear, distribution or other serious and helpful information for the whole community to see. The more members liking a particular post, the hotter it gets. The hottest posts get featured on the ever-changing Popular Posts list on the Forum main page.

Using Favorite Topics and Email Digests

When you click a Topic name in the new D-Word, the topic page will open, revealing a star on the top right of your screen. By clicking this star you favorite this topic. This means that whenever you visit The D-Word, you will see these favorite topics at the very top of your home page.

If you wish to “unfavorite” a topic at any given time, all you have to do is click the same star again and confirm your wish.

If you want to get a particular topic in your email inbox every day, you can click to Subscribe to Email Digests.

What if I see a post that I'd like to save to find again later?

The “save post” feature on the new D-Word can be accessed by clicking on the “Gear” icon at the top of each post. When you click that, a text box appears where you can type a short note about the post so you know why you saved it in the future.

Posts you save will appear on your profile under the “Favorite Posts” section. You can either browse your favorite posts or you may also search through them by going to the left menu and selecting “My D-Word” then clicking “My Favorite Posts” from the sliding menu. The search box appears automatically on the top of the next page with your favorite posts listed underneath.

Using a mobile device: what’s different?

The Forum design is responsive, meaning that whether you’re looking at it on a tablet, a desktop, or a phone, the layout will adapt to offer you the best experience.

There are two main differences to posting from the mobile platform versus the desktop platform.

On the mobile platform, you click on icons to take actions. To write a post, open up the posting box by clicking on the speech bubble icon in the bottom right hand corner. Once the posting interface is opened, you’ll use the other icons to upload a photo or add a video.

Once you’re in a topic on the mobile platform, clicking the “i” button underneath the topic title will reveal the topic description and the tool for receiving email digests.

On the mobile platform, the main site navigation lives at the top left-hand side of your screen in the red bar—click on the three stacked lines to open up the full navigation set of tools.

Using the D-Word for research

Searching by topic: Search on one or more keywords by clicking the Search Button (on the left bar on a computer or in the Dropdown menu on a phone). The search will bring up all prior posts (with the most recent one first).

Searching for people: To search for a specific D-Word member and find out more about them, you need to visit the “People Search” tab from the menu on the left side of your screen. Search gives you many options to look up members, including searching by name, locations and skills. To perform a simple search for a specific person, all you have to do is type their name in the "Name or Company" box and hit the “Search” button. If you need to perform a more in-depth search for an editor in New York for example, you can select a Region (choose country, then optionally city, state, postcode, and even a radius) and tick a box in the Roles/Skills section. You can combine search criteria to make your results more general or more specific. By default, searches will only include Professional members. If you want to search more broadly, change the "Type" menu to "All People"

I forgot my password?

If you should lose or forget your password, click here.

Still need help?

If you have any other questions about using The D-Word, please post in the Help with The D-Word topic.