Documentary films are based in fact, documenting some aspect of life and reality. They can have a powerful social and political influence. As a documentary filmmaker, it is my goal and intention to present material that is honest and well balanced – not merely to support a one-sided point of view or agenda. Though the scenes may be carefully chosen and arranged, they are not scripted, and the people appearing in a documentary are not actors. Some documentaries may rely on voice-over narration or interviews to describe what is happening, or the footage may speak for itself.
Before delving into a documentary project, I ask myself several important qualifying questions:
Is the subject timely, important and compelling enough to me to immerse myself in it?
Am I the appropriate filmmaker to bring this subject matter to the world?
Once I have decided to move forward, this is my general process in beginning production on a new documentary project. Sometimes several steps are active simultaneously:
- I watch other related documentaries to see what is already out there and available to the public. This can help me present a different outlook and angle, and not ‘re-invent the wheel’ by duplicating information.
- I research my subject as thoroughly as possible, through a variety of forms and media.
- I create a structure and outline for my film – a blueprint for shooting. This includes my vision for the general aesthetic look and feel of the film, the possible inclusion of interviews, still photographs, archival footage, music, narration, text, etc.
- I analyze my wants and needs for the film – what resources are easily accessible, what will require more extensive time and energy? I make a Wish List of the resources I might like to have for the film – and ways to go about manifesting them.
- I consider my financing options – grants I might apply for, documentary funding programs, fundraising events, self-funding, etc.
- I set up a Production Schedule and begin shooting!
- I begin the Post-Production process by transferring all my footage to DVD. I take stock of my footage through Logging (making notes about usable clips), and prioritizing according to quality and relevance. I bring all related materials together and I edit!
- Once complete, I am eager to share my film with the world! Depending on circumstances, I may upload it to the internet, seek a distributor, send it out to the film festival circuit, host screenings, burn DVDs and get it out and seen far and wide. I breathe a huge sigh of relief for a job well done!
Examples of my work:
- DIALOGUE IN NIGERIA
- THE FACES OF CUBA – (Las Caras De Cuba)
- PEACEMAKERS – Palestinians & Jews Together at Camp
- HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA – Highlights of The Heart of Wisdom Teachings
- CELEBRATING SISTERS SINGING
- MOTHERS & DAUGHTERS. . . The Tie That Bonds
- VIVA CUBA! – Santa Cruz-Guamá Sister County Alliance Travelogue
- ON THE WILD SIDE . . . Meetings With Remarkable Women
- ODELKIS & THE CUBAN FLAG