Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cell Phone Documentaries

An Italian crew used Nokia N90 cell phones to shoot a 93 minute sex documentary, New Love Meetings, as described in USA Today. Advances in camera technology have driven documentary film making since the beginning of film. Cell phone documentaries are the next logical step. Here's the trailer for the film. Note the hand-held closeups of interviewees which take maximum advantage of the cell-phone's tiny lens and it's built-in microphone.

MovieGeeksUnited Interview Nov. 23

Just finished an entertaining interview with MovieGeeksUnited. We talked about Making Your Own Digital Films using the tips in my new book Digital Video Secrets. The interview is here.

new camera?

It might be time for a new video camera.

Cameras that interest me: Sony FX1000, Canon XHA1S, and the Panasonic HMC-150.

If I had to choose today, I'd probably go with the Canon because of the image, lens quality and proven design.

The Sony EX-1 is too expensive, the HD SLR Nikon D90 seems like a great idea, but it's not designed primarily for video.

Writing For Story

Have been re-reading Jon Franklin's Writing For Story.

How to Find a Story
1. Find a complication. (Joe is injured in a car wreck.)
2. Test the complication. Is it significant to the character involved? Does it have universal significance? (Example: Joe is paralyzed.)
3. Define the resolution of the complication in 3 words noun-verb-noun. (Example: Joe overcomes paralysis)
4. Define the actions the character took to resolve the complication. Define actions in 3 words noun-verb-noun. (Example: Joe learns therapy. Joe does therapy. Joe designs crutches. Joe walks home.)
5. Define the character. Why is this complication important to the character? Is there a moment of full insight that changes the character? Is the character sympathetic.

If the story meets all these tests, proceed. If not, scrap it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just got a nice review in Film Festival Today

Producing with Passion Making Films That Change the World

By Dorothy Fadiman and Tony Levelle
Michael Wiese Productions
Studio City, California

“A film that reflects your true passion can have an impact for generations. This book gives you the tools to envision, produce, and finish such a film. As a documentary filmmaker, you have the means to open people’s eyes and bring them into another world.” So begins one of the most inspiring and informative books ever written about making films that have an impact on the world. Dorothy Fadiman, an Emmy Award Winner and an Academy Award nominee for “Best Documentary” along with Tony Levelle have divided their book into three parts: (a) Getting clear about your vision (b) Sustaining your intention as you produce the film and (c) Launching your finished movie.

The authors provide helpful advice on trusting your instincts to select a subject whose core idea will carry you through the challenges it takes to make a film. Advice on finding the key theme that helps define your project will allow you to create a more vibrant film. They discuss three of the main challenges to making a documentary film which are getting it right, getting it done and getting it out. Another helpful chapter explains preproduction and how to produce the unscripted documentary.

Fadiman and Levelle explain what it takes to create a well written proposal and they relate most poignantly that in raising money, people give money to people, not projects! Helpful advice on putting together a production team and the nuts and bolts of production are handled with the experience that 30 years of making documentaries will provide.

Interviewing, building the story, editing and feedback screenings are illustrated with helpful suggestions and practical advice. Finally, a chapter on finishing the film and how to move on to the next project are discussed. Several of the ending chapters deal with publicity and distribution. Helpful suggestions for dealing with PBS or the virtual world are included. Throughout this essential read for the serious documentarist the authors neatly tie up each chapter with key points and provide you with both the inspiration and knowledge to make your “heartfelt”, serious film a reality.

Monday, November 3, 2008

3 minute vote movie

Absolutely brilliant. Excellent editing, animation and story. A wonderful example of the potential of YouTube videos.