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Old March 12th, 2003, 12:17 AM   #16
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Eric,

Sounds like we share common disorders. Next time you're in Tokyo look me up and we'll go complain about women while stuffing ourselves at a Chinese buffet.

Good to have you join us!
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Old March 12th, 2003, 10:58 AM   #17
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Eric,

What type of documentaries interest you? and what are some of the subjects you are considering filming?

I'm new here as well and while my story is not exactly like yours there are similarities.

There is a LOT of research to be done in order to learn how to make a documentary and this is one of the best sources for current information on several areas.

Good Luck
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Old March 12th, 2003, 12:33 PM   #18
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Hey guys,

Thanks for the responses.

John: sounds like a plan. I've always wanted to eat chinese buffet on a different continent.

Carl: I'm honestly interested in everything.

I like very thoughtful documentaries that present information in an intelligent, deliberate way but that are still accessible to regular people. I think that every person out there has a story to tell and hope to make my documentaries so that someone who on the surface would have nothing to do with the subject would find some commonality. That whole shared human experience thing. I definately want to incorporate humor. It not only keeps the audience interested, it will keep me interested. Nature documentaries are compelling as well though I think I would incorporate the humans and their interaction with nature in my films, like the personal journey of an environmental researcher.
The idea of being a fly on the wall appeals to me. I want to document emotion and struggle and the mundane and laughter. All that good stuff.

The notion of a regular 9 -5 office job depresses me greatly. I'd rather be out doing stuff, seeing interesting things, creating, entertaining others. I'd take an 16 hour day doing something creative than an 8 hour day staring at reports in a claustrophobic cubicle.

A few subjects I'm considering:

A group of deer hunters in Northern Wisconsin, friends of my father. They shack up in this tiny cabin, drink beer and wax masculine for a week in November. Schools get a week off for deer season in northern wisconsin. Think of that Canadian show Strange Brew, in real time, but with swear words.

I've always been fascinated by the crabfishing industry. I think it would be compelling to be a part of the crew on one of those boats and film the men interacting and show the nitty gritty of what that life is like and the dangers involved. Logistically, I'm a long way off from doing this and I think I would have to work one of the boats as crew before I could be just a lurking filmmaker. Details, details, details.

I think a piece about religion in America would be compelling. To show various faiths and belief systems that people have, no matter how wacky or off-mainstream it might be. Not to espouse anything, but just to document.

I heard on the radio that they have rat shows, like dog shows. Maybe a piece following a contestant through the process of preparation and showing. Would make a good narrative with plenty of opportunity for genuine emotion on film. That could be funny and interesting. Think of the movie Best In Show but with rats.

I have a few more ideas that I hope to get off the ground. Obviously, thinking about it is one thing and doing it is another. since I have no experience, I don't intend to tackle any of these right away. My hopes do go beyond mere hobbyist status as it would be fantastic to do things like this for a living. At least, that's how i feel now. When I get my camera, which I'm ordering soon, I'll probably practice by filming my dogs and interviewing my family members. Need all the experience I can get. Even if it is just schlepping gear around for somebody else. Funding and time are also a couple of hurdles I need to overcome. Might also dabble in shorts though I tend to dream bigger than my means can provide as you might be able to tell.

What kind of stuff are you interested in? Any current projects?

- Eric Thompson
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Old March 12th, 2003, 04:27 PM   #19
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I like the labor movement documentaries the best. This is probably just because I find them so compelling.

My favorite docs (not necessarily in any order):

American Dream, Roger & Me, American Movie, American Standoff, Harlan County USA, The Civil War (and all the Ken Burns stuff), just about any American Experience or historical doc.

I also like Blue Vinyl, Startup.Com, Salesman, and a lot of others.

I'm currently in the research/pre-production stages of a self-financed project.
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Old March 12th, 2003, 07:11 PM   #20
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<<I've always been fascinated by the crabfishing industry. I think it would be compelling to be a part of the crew on one of those boats and film the men interacting and show the nitty gritty of what that life is like and the dangers involved. Logistically, I'm a long way off from doing this and I think I would have to work one of the boats as crew before I could be just a lurking filmmaker. Details, details, details.>>

Eric, there's a recent documentary done on this very subject. I've seen it aired a couple of times on the Discovery Channel. You're right, it is fascinating what they do...and I never realized just how dangerous it is until I saw the show.
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Old March 12th, 2003, 07:26 PM   #21
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Carl, I haven't seen all those movies you named. Looks like I have some catching up to do. American Movie just plain rocks. I've always wondered how they found that guy in the first place and how the people filming it funded themselves during the film. They must have had backers. Or self-funded possibly. Do some filmmakers have distributors who fund their projects or does everybody have to produce it and then shop it around. Wonder how that works.

John, Discovery already beat me to it? Blasted! Actually, I've seen other documentaries about that subject, too. Maybe I need to come up with more original ideas.

- Eric
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Old March 13th, 2003, 08:58 AM   #22
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Crabbing

Eric,

If it is the crabbing industry that you are interested in filming then I would suggest that the Eastern Shore of MD-VA is probably the best. Home of the MD blue crab, this area has both colorful crabs and even more colorful crabbers.

Situated in the Chesapeake Bay area, the countryside is beautiful-marshy backwaters and wide, expanding vistas. Plenty of ocean shots are available too since the Eastern Shore sits out on the east coast.

Crisfield plays host to the annual Crab Derby and is arguably home to the world's finest crabs. As an added benefit, the dialect of natives is unique, both in form and style.

Tom
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Old March 15th, 2003, 07:58 AM   #23
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Eric, firstly: welcome aboard! As this forums wrangler (and I can't
say my English is as good as yours, unfortunately) I appreciate
it very much that you wrote such a lengthy (and humorous)
introduction. Thank you for that.

You know... we all have begun where you are standing now. In
fact I don't think I'm too far away from that point just yet. Perhaps
you are still in the sand and I just crawled out of the playground
so to speak.

One thing we seem to have in common is a large field of interest.
When people ask me what I like it is hard to give them an answer.
I like so much. Some people have even gone as far and "accused"
me of not doing much different things. This probably happens
because of the fact when I do things I do them so passionately
and that takes up a lot of time; leaving not much left for other
things.

I currently have a 8-5 job and thinking more and more about what-
if I left the job.... but bills need to be paid as well and currently
that takes precedence. I did however go down from 40+ hours
a week working to 32+. So that means I have a 3 day weekend
each week now which should allow me much more time to get
busy shooting movies....

Again, thank you for your introduction and see you around!
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Old March 15th, 2003, 11:58 AM   #24
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Eric,

From what I have I have heard Chris Smith needed some place to do some editing on his previous project and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee agreed to let him use the facilities. This is where he met Mark. This is where and when he also got the idea to make the doc about Mark. Although there was some outside funding I believe he said the bulk of the expenses were self-financed using credit cards (the figure $28000 comes to mind).

An interesting side note was that during the filming process Chris wasn't sure what stories were going to pan out and for a time he followed some other people such as Matt Wiseman (the guy they show doing the shaving movie), but those tangents didn't work out at it led back to only Mark. As you seen in the film, the movie was originally supposed to be about the making of Northwestern. Sometimes the story takes you somewhere else.
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Old August 4th, 2003, 03:38 PM   #25
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Hi all, I'm in Chicago

With the support of my wonderful wife, I'm starting my own video production biz. Wedding vids, birthdays, whatever I can get.

I've been working in office cubes for 10 years in the Loop (Amoco corp [now gone], Arthur Andersen [now gone]), I just can't sit in another cube until I die.

So far so good. I did a bunch of freebies for friends and family with my GL1 and got a nice reel going. Now I'm charging a bit below industry standard so I can help my wife out with the bills and buy even more toys...oops, I mean equipment.

I recently upgraded to a GL2, a Manfratto tripod with fluid head, a nice Samson UHF32 wireless mic and some other essentials. I'm also about to pick up a Lowel light kit (DV Creator 55 Kit) in a trade with a company I'm shooting my first 30 second commercial for.

I'm at that point where it's make or break time.

I edit on a dual proc Pentium using Pinnacle Edition 5 (after spending years learning Premiere, I don't miss Adobe one bit).

I used to have about 7 websites to show off my work, but the SDSL was too expensive and I traded it for a cable modem ($19/mo), so my websites are down.

I've sold some crime footage to the news and done an interview with local NBC regarding some of the gang shootings I've taped.

I'd love to do a documentary, but I just can't stay focused on one issue long enough. But I am about to turn in a 30 minute DV to cable access to run on Saturday midnight. It's just a compiliation of some interesting stuff I've shot around the city.

Maybe I can figure out how to run my webserver (port 80) through my cable modem and I'll let you all know.

This looks like a great forum. I plan to visit often.

Now I have to go do some things to make the wife smile when she gets home (laundry, dishes, repair, etc), while I also figure out how to make the GL2 look like film.
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Old August 4th, 2003, 05:24 PM   #26
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Welcome, Edward! A friend of mine once drove from Winnipeg to Chicago, had 2 beers then drove back. I asked him what Chicago was like, he replied, "I donno, I was really tired!" :)


PS: true story from the early 70's.
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Old August 4th, 2003, 07:14 PM   #27
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Hi Edward,
I too am in the Chicagoland area.
Maybe I'll see you around sometime ;-)
Don
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Old August 5th, 2003, 03:38 PM   #28
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Another Chicago newbie

Hi all!

I'm a copywriter for an in-house advertising group who was offered, and gratefully accepted, the chance to spearhead our department's move into DV and multimedia. I'm specializing in the DV part.

I got the chance to basically put together a workstation setup from scratch—the sky wasn't exactly the limit, but we were given the freedom to order pretty much whatever we want. So right now I'm using/learning to use:

- Panasonic DV100 camera
- JVC combo DV/S-VHS deck
- Sony monitor
- Audio Technica shotgun & lavalier
- Sennheiser handheld mic
- TO-97 3-piece light kit
- DA-1P DAT recorder for field audio

I'm editing on a new dual 1.4Ghz PowerMac w/ a 23" Cinema Display and a brand-new install of Final Cut 4.0.

I'm really looking forward to learning to use this. I shot my first footage (just test stuff) today and logged and captured it in FCP. Man, this is cool stuff. I could get used to this. :)

Anyway, I know I'll be having lots of questions, and I look forward to getting to know you all.

Dan
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Old August 11th, 2003, 12:07 AM   #29
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Chicagoans

I've been in Chi-town for awhile, I'm a novelist/screenwriter. I decided it was time to make my low budget feature: 7 actors, one location, no dogs-kids-sfx-cgi.
It's a thriller covering one night in the life of 6 college kids and one security guard...

So I'll see you guys in the forums - best of luck in all your endeavors~

ae
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Old August 11th, 2003, 08:15 AM   #30
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Welcome aboard, Dan! Good to have you with us. There are quite
a few people from Chicago area here. Looks like you have a fine
system (I'd love to have a Cinema Display myself -- although I
ain't working on a Mac)!

Good luck with your projects!
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