Documentary Seminar

Day 1 of the directing documentary workshop with Leeanne Pooley.

I was on a workshop today on directing documentaries, with Leeanne Pooley. It’s a two-day seminar at the Film Archive, presented in association with the Screen Director’s Guild of NZ, the NZFC, and the NZ Film Archive. I suppose also with Leeanne’s production company, Spacific Films. We got given a free copy of Take, the Screen Director’s Guild magazine, with a SDGNZ sign-up sheet. [But, I’m not a full-time student, so I don’t think I can take advantage of the student rate. Oh well, I probably won’t sign up yet then.]

Before the workshop, we were sent a DVD copy of Leeanne’s documentary on NZ male ballerina (ballerino?) Douglas Wright, called Haunting Douglas. The film has an amazing opening scene, btw. Douglas dancing naked with a candle. We were also asked to watch Pooley’s acclaimed documentary on the Topp Twins, Untouchable Girls. I watched it last night – again, a really good doco.

The first thing Leeane asked was whether we had googled her. Uh… no. She pointed out you should always google the person giving a seminar before you sign up or pay any money, to make sure that they know what they’re talking about. Lesson learnt – I’m googling now, in preparation for tomorrow.

For my Honours study next year, I was considering doing a documentary film. Within the first hour of the seminar, I realised that my possible topics need a massive amount of work before I shoot anything!

So far the seminar is going really well. Leeane knows her stuff. She’s given us a huge workbook of notes (so we don’t have to take our own), and a list of docos that we should see. Out of the list of 28 films, I had seen a grand total of 1 (The Corporation). So I went to Civic Video and got a few of them out. I just watched The Kid Stays In The Picture. (Fantastic. Really great). I’m considering watching Capturing The Friedmans, but I’m really tired. If it’s around 90 minutes, I’m gonna watch it tonight. If not, I’m saving it for later, along with The Fog Of War.

And, I finally remembered to take my business cards to a film event. I’ve swapped cards with some people in the workshop. Two thumbs up for me.

Author: phetheringtonnz

Film Producer, Director, Lecturer. From NZ based in London.

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