Producing with Passion: Making Films That Change the World

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  1. Mitchell W. Block says
    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Producing with Passion: Making Films That Change the World, May 15, 2008
    By 
    Mitchell W. Block (Santa Monica, CA United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This review is from: Producing with Passion: Making Films That Change the World (Paperback)

    Producing Impossible to Produce Films

    After teaching independent producing at USC School of Cinamatic Arts, (in the Peter Stark Producing Program) since 1978, “Producing with Passion” is the book I’ve been looking for to use in my class.

    Sundance screened over 1,000 docs to find the handful of films it programmed this year. Far too many filmmakers are shooting first and thinking about how their film will be marketed, distributed and used later. Ms. Fadiman’s book is written by an Academy Award-nominated documentary filmmaker who has made some of the key films supporting women’s rights of the last 30 years. Her current film “Stealing America” (note: I am an executive producer of this work.) chronicles the undermining of the electoral process to shape the outcome of our elections. This work is a work of passion that will be seen, used and provoke audiences to protect the integrity of the voting process. Ms. Fadiman, by following her own advice, has made a film that transforms the way people will think about our electoral process.

    “Producing With Passion” is the only work that provides an easy to understand step by step guide from idea to funding, production, movie theaters, community groups and DVD distribution for these important works.

    Mitchell Block conceived, co-created and was an executive producer of the PBS landmark series CARRIER. Programs he has executive produced have won Academy and numerous other awards. He has handled the marketing and distribution of over 60 Oscar winning and nominated documentary, shorts and animated films.

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  2. Kari Ann Morgan says
    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Find your passion as a documentary filmmaker…, May 14, 2008
    By 

    This review is from: Producing with Passion: Making Films That Change the World (Paperback)

    In Producing with Passion, Fadiman & Levelle guide the reader through the sometimes unpredictable, ultimately rewarding world of documentary filmmaking. From doing research & conducting interviews to finding the “real” story you’re trying to tell, it’s all here.

    In and of themselves, the chapters are well laid-out, with an overview at the beginning of each one, and summarizing key points at the end. At the beginning of the book, Chapters 1-4 follow a logical progression; but topics in chs 4-8 seem to repeat themselves and/or show up in an odd order. For my suggestion, the chapters would flow better from one topic to another if they were placed in the following order: Ch. 2 (focusing your topic), Ch. 3 (research), Ch. 5 (how to plan an unscripted documentary), Ch. 6 (putting together a proposal), Ch. 7 (ways to get funding), Ch. 4 (assembling a support team), and Ch. 8 (your “core group”).

    The amount of information in this book is insightful & incredibly helpful. The authors go into great detail when explaining the purpose of proposals, treatments, and core/interest groups. They also give excellent ideas, references, & suggestions for how to do effective research, draft a proposal, attract funding, & much more. Because this is a book on how to make a documentary (and not a feature film), there is not a lot of technical information beyond the basics: lighting, audio, camera shots, editing, etc. The info on these topics is sufficient for what you’ll need when making a documentary.

    One of the most valuable things in this book, however, is the voice of experience that has come with making dozens of documentaries over the years. This experience is evident throughout the entire book: how to assemble a production team that you can really work with; how to conduct interviews that advance the story you’re trying to tell; how to shoot in the field, in different locations; how to make sure you have the right documentation, especially if you’re filming overseas (a very important, but tricky process!); and how to assemble and edit your footage so that your true story comes out. All of these are valuable things, learned from experience and trial-and-error.

    While I was reading this book, I found that I was catching the authors’ excitement as they talked about the places they’d gone & the different things they’d discovered along the way. If you are an aspiring documentary filmmaker, this book is a resource you’ll find helpful with each film you make. The amount you can learn from the authors’ experiences make this book one that you can read repeatedly and gain new insight each time. At just under $23, this book is an excellent value, for the amount of information and insight it provides.

    Final Score- 8.4/10
    -Kari Ann Morgan, Microfilmmaker Magazine

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