Moving Ahead: A Documentary Maker in Development

janroberts (1) It has been thrilling to learn more about documentary making.  So far I have read Eric Barnouw’s “documentary: a history of the non-fiction film” and “Documentary Film Making” by John Hewitt and Gustavo Vazquez.  The former brings to life the power of this genre to instruct, excite and even deceive. The latter is a pragmatic how-to guide that was both helpful and daunting at times. Next up is “Producing with a Passion” by Dorothy Fadiman and Tony Levelle.  Following my book learning introduction is immersion in hours and hours of documentary watching and analyzing.  Then, participation in the shooting of a documentary already in process in conjunction with hours of exploring and learning in private study sessions. THEN, developing my own production and making it a reality.  All in all, it is probably a two year project.

I have always enjoyed documentaries especially those that are issued focused.  However, lately I have been pulling back from seeing some that reveal the evils and inequities of the world,which leave me feeling overwhelmed and helpless.  It is just too painful.

I marvel at the unstoppable determination, diligence, creativity and sacrifices of documentary makers, who pour their hearts, souls and often their own finances into their work. Often, all that time and effort goes unnoticed by the general public. Yet, countless documentary makers still rise up out of the ordinariness of life to follow their passions.  It’s damn impressive.

I do not count myself among these brilliant artists.  I am a novice and student in documentary making.  I suffer an enormous lack of history and experience in the field.  However, what I do possess is a huge passion for my subject and an unyielding spirit in the face of my anxieties, ignorance and lack of resources.  I am also fed by the conviction that we need more documentaries about the good news that is happening now around the country.  The kind of news that demonstrates not just feel good stuff about doing good but news about successful efforts that are having systemic impact.  Stuff that not only gives us hope that humanity and the planet have a chance for a positive future but stuff that we can make happen ourselves.

So, I move forward on this late-in life chosen path of documentary maker.  I am buoyed by my family, friends and colleagues, who not only give me emotional support but engage me in learning and honing my ideas without dampening my determination to reach for the stars.  Although, finances remain a big challenge, I am grateful to Premier Eye Care for continuing my stipend while I develop and implement this project.  There is still fundraising to do for the professional crew, editor, research and travel but one step at a time.  First, comes my learning and study of documentary making.

My end product is still being developed but I can tell you that it will have not only big ideas on the economy but personal stories of real people involved in making these ideas come true.  They will be people in the arts, education, business and finance. I want this documentary to not only inform you but entertain you and touch your hearts. A good story that does all of that will surely engage and involve you—of that, I have no doubt.

A savory, hearty, easy to make Risotto recipe!

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