Friday, October 09, 2009

Documentary Seminar

So, in the spring semester, I'm teaching a graduate seminar in documentary film. I was thinking about the course today because I had reached the deadline for selecting texts for the class.

The challenge for this particular seminar is the audience. It will likely be a mix of production-oriented grad students and those who have no production experience and are interested in documentary from a theoretical and analytical point of view.

I want to the class to be useful to both groups, and I think there are elements of both theory that are important to the production students and ideas about the actual practice of making a documentary film that will be interesting and useful to the non-production students.

But, of course, the non-production students will not have enough expertise (or interest) to support an entire course focused on the filmmaker aspects, and the production students should have the opportunity to practice the craft.

In light of all that, I'm thinking about ways to make the course useful for both audiences.

I plan to have the production students make short projects in a variety of documentary genres, and I was thinking of having the non-production students work with them on both the conceptualizing of the films and the actual shooting. And, assuming the films are any good, I was thinking the non-production students could engage in analysis and critique of the production students' efforts.

But - I want to go further than that. So, I'm not sure who all is reading my blog, but I'd be very interested in hearing any ideas my readers have about ways I can engage and teach both audiences in a cohesive and coherent manner.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Festivals and more Festivals

I spent a good chunk of my early afternoon processing a bunch more festival entries for Endings. I had hoped to have it completely done by now -- but the sound and music processes are not yet complete, so I'm still sending out the "temp sound mix and some temp music" copies.

Festival entries have gotten easier in the age of Withoutabox (an online service that allows you to fill out ONE entry form and then send it out with payment via credit card to all subscribing festivals). But even with that, it's still a hassle and one of my least favorite parts of the process (PR is my other least favorite part, but I'll tackle that in another post).

There is some degree of satisfaction from just knowing a festival has your package in hand -- something that Withoutabox confirms for you via its Submission Status page:

But really, unless you get asked to screen, nothing else matters. In the wake of my first rejection for Endings, which arrived in my inbox earlier this week, I'm reminded of the emotional roller coaster that the festival circuit is. Here's to trying not to let every reaction to the film control my daily mood...