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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tips for Finding and Conducting The Perfect Interview On Camera

Here are some tips in conducting an interview on camera for documentaries and specialty pieces.  You should all know that the greatest and most powerfull tool you have is the telephone: 

1.  Always conduct a preinterview by phone and discover if your subject is articulate enough to share stories and speaking in "sound bites", small snippets of information that will grab your audiences attention.  A long winded speaker will tend to be boring on camera and not good for an on camera interview.  Look for someone who can describe what you want on camera without being too wordy.

2.  Always conduct an on scouting locational survey over the phone of the place you'll be conducting your interview:

3.  Ask specific questions about the room intelf;  What color are the walls for camera purposes and does the room echo in any way for sound causing distractions. 

4.  Is the location for the interview near an airport or bus terminal where distracting sound or RF frequency could disturb the way the sound is recorded? 

5.  Make sure you find out where outlets are placed in the room using the phone interview as a strategic plan to map out what technical obstacles you'll have once you arrive on location. 

6.  Is there natural light coming in from a window that might be near a shot that needs to be neutrally densified with gels so as to not mix natural and synthetic lighting on camera causing blueing of the shot....(Note that most new digital cameras can adjust clearly to this problem if they are white balanced correctly in advance) 

7.  Is the location going to have crowds of people nearby that could interfere with the interview?

8.  Finally make sure all releases are signed off in advance and that the subject knows that a release will have to be signed so that there are no surprises.  Some subjects don't want to sign off on having their likeness seen on camera.

9.  Make sure your subject is not wearing high contrast colors like black and white and have them dress in advance in colors that are good for the camera.  We usually ask them to wear earth tones to a shoot.

If you follow some of these simple steps in preparation for your interview you'll find it all goes alot smoother making every moment of your time more effective and productive....Safe shooting...


Friday, September 23, 2011

Finding a New Voice---What's new at GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC

As I write this new post about some of the projects we're working on, I'm happy to say that my creative process hasn't lingered and fallen by the wayside.  I'm actively looking for new story ideas for projects and two of them might just come to fruition at one point.  I'm currently working on a new story about the history of Jewish Boxers in America in hopes that I'll be able to profile the day to day life of Ron Lipton, an American Jewish Boxer who has found his voice in teaching kids how to box and fight better in the ring giving them a sense of confidence and security.  Ron's story stems from the streets of New York as his own boxing career shaped into a strong testament to his fighting ability creating quite a name for himself.  More to come on this project as it develops.  The second project I'm working on as well involves the history of what has made Sushi so popular in America.  I'll be following a number of leading sushi chefs around the New York Metropolitan area trying to learn what has made this cuisine so distinguishable and in demand right here in the US.  It will be a a culinary as well as a spiritual journey also in hopes for finding the answers to decade old questions about it's success.  Both projects are in the making and I hope that you all stay tuned to learn more about the creative threads I weave to make these projects come to life.  There will be much more to report in future blogs....

A Cantors Tale---A New Film by Director Eric Greenhill Anjou...

I recentlly had to good fortune to see a fairly new film about the life of a Brooklyn Cantor entitled A Cantors Tale at the New Jersey Jewish Film Festival at the JCC in West Orange, New Jersey.  This documentary profiled the life and followed Cantor Jack around the streets of Brooklyn as he returned to his roots and shared memories of the old neighborhood with locals.  The film featured appearences by Jackie Mason and Allen Dershovitz just to name a few of the appearences in the project.  It was a delightful rendition of filmmaking as we returned to the "the neighborhood" with Cantor Jack.  The film was so personal and cohesive in telling his story in an amusing and sensitive portrayl.  I simply loved the way this cantors story crepted into your heart by giving you personal and historically correct yiddish phrases to collaborate the past and take us back to a time when the Jewish Neighborhood was as closely knit and tight to the point of a rock.  There doesn't seem to be as much of this Jewish comradery around as much anymore and filmmaker Eric Greenhills award winning film has found a way to come into your heart and take you back to a time when cantors were stars strutting their celebrity way of life for the entire community to enjoy and follow in.  You can't find a film like this that places together most of our heritage in such a sensitive way.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Readings From Rettberg---Will We Ever Have Any Privacy Again If We Blog???

After reading further chapters in Jill Walker Rettberg's book BLOGGING from her Digital Media and Society Series, I'm beginning to question whether we'll ever have any sense of personel privacy again over the internet as our experiences extend us into the world of Blogging....As you continue to use the internet, you find yourself offering up more and more information about yourself to the world.  While writing bloggs seems to offer up the chance for Cititzen Journalism and better understanding of your own private thoughts, I wonder what the internet will offer up next as we almost seem to be ever absorbed by who, what, where, when and why we provide all of this information to the World Wide Web reader....The bloggs that appear to be more credible according to Rettberg are the ones that offer up more information about ourselves almost to the point of eliminating the need for privacy over the internet.  There seems to be a most ironic set of values for the internet user who complains of losing his or her freedoms of privacy but continues to share more and more of their own personal information just by using sites and continuing to blogg out to the world over the the world wide web.  I wonder if the internet was designed to level the playing field of potential threats to the state by putting offenders online and allowing them to be observed and recorded while being tracked on your every move.  It almost seems to be developing into a cyber online prison where your every move can be seen and recorded by the state or some big brother entity in case you decide to go bolistic.  It saddens me to be made aware of all the ways our writings and thoughts are being monitored by the World Wide Web according to Rettberg and that thought there is a great contradiction in thoughts about privacy, we continue to give it all away the more we use this vast medium.  The people unafraid of exposing themselves over the internet seem to be the ones more likely to succeed with this new medium and prosper the same way a well reknowned journalist for a leading network might find his or her lifestyle exposed voluntarily without any thought of consequence.  I get scared as to how the internet is shaping our minds to believe that we should have privacy in an online world but offer up our souls everyday to things we want people to know about ourselves without thinking about what we might be throwing away in regard to our privacy.  It allows us to be more open to an annonymous group of viewers that we don't even know and might give us a chance to develop a more trusting relationship to new viewers who were strangers to us before the internet even came into existence.  I applaud the new medium while still reserving some of my most inner thoughts for an OFFLINE diary instead.  We're not all quite there as of yet....

Friday, September 16, 2011

Can We Really Report on What We Want---An Exploration into our Freedoms of Speech...

I have wondered whether it is still the best time to be a documentarian in this post 9/11 age.  Since the terrorist bombings of 2001 we have grown into being more militant protecting our at home interests and exploring what more security must be put into place in order to keep our society from falling apart and departing into utter chaos.  During these years post 9/11 I'd argue that we've seen a reduction in any kind of documentarian filmmaking that tends to question more of what is good and bad in our society.  The onslaughts of Michael Moores and other witty documentarians has withered and in fact I must notice that even some of Michael Moores work has become more watered down versus the work he originally produced like ROGER AND ME in the earlier parts of the new century.  Have we lost our voice due to the fact that any kind of outrage stated through documentarian filmmaking has been squashed a bit because of our fears of terroristic activity or anti American statements that might be misunderstood as treason if we were to speak our minds in these mundane years?  I'm asking us all here to help me reaffirm my belief in the American way of making good hearty controversial documentaries for some examples out there of productions that have asked us all to think about our state of affairs these past 15 years and help me rekindle a belief that there is hope in continuing down a road of filmmaking that can still question whether or not I agree or disagree with what the President has to say to the American people in his State of the Union address....I  need some reassurance America and want to feel like what I do for a living can still make a difference and that what I am doing is going to help make people think and get out of their arm chairs and act.  Have we all become complacent?   Has the unemployment statistics that keep going up reflect a nation that has been trained to be agreeable and passive in their hopes for better evolving natures and change?  I want to feel like my country and the films documentarians have the power to produce can still find an audience of people that still care about where our country is going and what makes us all want a better America.  The examples of filmmaking I've witnessed these past years has not really struck a cord to many times while analyzing it and I wonder if anti war themes are just a second nature reaction to what our country is becoming instead of finding films and documentaries that can still find the heartbeat of our nation and look to show where we've come and what we've evolved into....Please help me find the hope in continuing to make poignant films instead of watching my piers around me dabble in filmmaking that has become mundane and far from reaching into our American psyche and getting us all to care just a little bit more....Is anybody out there?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What Documentaries Mean to Me...

Most of what my company does involves documentary films.  There is a great truth behind these types of projects that intrigues me to make more of them.  It is the wonder of finding new answers to new or old questions and begin to share with the public what I can find.  We did this in my award winning film BATS: THE LAST FLIGHT as we attempted to find answers to what was killing over 97% of the bat populations on the Eastern Seaboard States....It was a project that took close to two years to film as I followed members of the Department of Enviornmental Conservation through their treks to tag bats and find answers to the killing spree that has been taking place.  The project was just one example of what documentaries mean to me as I use these production moments to find answers to questions that either plague or challenge our society with answers that can only be supplied within a specified amount of screen time.  BATS was a project that took me on an adventure through the upper Adirondacks of New York State and helped me draw some conclusions of my own to what was killing the bats but it also gave me an opportunity to meet and share special moments with a select group of enviornmentalists that wanted to preserve caves and bats.  It was only ironic only to learn later on that these enviornmentalists or cavers were the ones helping to spread the disease that was killing the bats.  These ironies are what I enjoy most about making documentary films and learning what the consequences can lead to when you find the truths in the films that you produce.  In each project that I tackle there comes a moment in time when you come face to face with the truths that you're trying to find answers to and it is at that moment in time when you learn something new about the topic matter you've chosen to explore and bring to the public in the form of a documentary.  I've been blessed with having the chances to be able to explore what I've enjoyed most about making films and not having to be led by an editors choices.  To this I'm grateful and my hopes are to continue making films that find answers to questions that intrigue audiences and educate people into the truths that lie out there.  I have always believed that one person can make a difference and through my work I continue to live by this addage and make films that will have answers to questions that we might all have some doubts about doing it in a way that is not preaching a set of values or trying to dictate an edict to the choir.  I hope my work will inspire viewers to find more of their own answers and let them decide on their own in a way that is fair and balanced.  The journey continues....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Galileo Productions, LLC---A 20 year adventure...

Greetings all on the first installment of my new BLOG...It's been a long 20 years of experience to share with you all....Good day to all of those interested in learning more about me and my company GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC.  The company has been around for over 20 years now and it's been quite an adventure in learning and creating new media for the masses.  I'm originally from Philadelphia where I was born....My family moved away from the city of Brotherly Love when I was just two years old.  I grew up in New Jersey...South Orange to be exact and would later go to Boston where I completed my undergraduate degree at Emerson College.  It was a wonderful 4 year experience that I will never forget.  It was in Boston where I first developed the idea for GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC and forged ahead with video productions that were produced through the College and exhibited in Boston and on the local ABC WCVB television station in town on a latenight program we then called NIGHTSHIFT.  What fun...I came to New York and worked for various media outlets in the city once leaving Boston although I had the chance to work for WCVB's GOOD DAY SHOW while in Boston towards the end of my senior year and then opted to do some traveling over to Europe after graduation.  When I returned from Europe I began the rigorous task of finding work in NYC working for various production outlets including CNN and Public Television's Nightly Business Report where I field produced stories and fine tuned my craft.  My specialty was Business News and it didn't take long to master some of the networks that were producing this focused type of programming as it was very new at the time and not alot of people were covering the markets.  My career progressed and I Associate Produced for Good Morning America for a while at ABC Television in New York where I had the chance to produce national features for the network.  Later on I had the incredible opportunity to work for Geraldo Rivera's NOW IT CAN BE TOLD, a magazine program based out of New York City where I was able to produce stories with a variety of correspondents including Richard Wiese, who now explores the world with his own adventure show these days....We focused on finding answers to Bubonic Plague which had been ravishing some areas of the US while working for Geraldo....We investigated.  The people and places I've explored have been everlasting impressions of experience that I couldn't substitute for anything during the course of my career.  I hope it continues and I look forward to keeping you all posted on the latest adventures I explore with this blog and where we decide to go next will be shared for all to read....Thanks for reading up and keeping in touch.  We couldn't have done it all these years without you all....

Safe surfing....Keep in touch....

James Ford Nussbaum
Executive Producer