Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Content vs. Capability

I notice I have two very different kinds of workshop participants/students.

Profile #1: A person has a very specific idea about what they want to do their documentary about.  It may be about gay marriage, or a spiritual journey, a lost story of LA.  Some do know how to make docs, and want an outside point of view to help them get clarity on how to proceed, others don't know how to make docs yet, but they want to, and they are starting with this story.

Profile #2: A person who doesn't really have a strong idea about what they want to tell, but has a strong desire for the skill set.  Something in them wants to be able to make documentaries, and they come to me to learn the skills so they can apply them as they journey through life.

What is interesting to me:
In the case of #2's I can help them look for good subjects. They can begin to know what it is they are looking for - essentially a story with a strong transformation - or the hope of one.  Of course, there is the idea of choosing someone who might be a good subject, and I would refer them to my interview with Kirby Dick  

In the case of #1's I help them see where the transformation is within the story they want to tell.  My favorite example is of a filmmaker that came to me with years of verite footage shot depicting people who went through the experiences around the subject he wanted to portray.  He came into my office in our first class, and told me he only had to get about 12 interviews of experts to tell the story.  But when we broke it down, we found he already head the story in his verite footage - ready to be a powerful compelling story.   

I also find #1's who become #2's.  They find they love the process of making films, and go on to make more. 

I personally, love working with all my students and clients whether it be helping them find the story they've already started, or learning how to set up an interview, or how to capture verite footage for a film they don't even know they are going to make yet. 

I just started a new workshop this week, there are spots still available.  The time is 12:30 Wednesday afternoon.  There may also be an evening slot open.  If you are interested, please email me at

Thanks for reading!  Stephanie.