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Friday, December 9, 2011

Cable Access...Your Ticket To A Larger Audience...And It's FREE

If there was ever a time for media guru's to acquire a larger audience, then this is that moment.  One of the best ways to gain larger audience share with your videos is to use cable access channels as a means to distribute your videos and gain market share for all of your work.  I've discovered through cable television,  a way in which you can use the local access channels to show off some of the best videos that you produce while finding an audience in your local neighborhoods and communities.  Cable access is the way in which the large cable companies offer their obligations and legally demanding rule of communications to give local producers their chance to distribute programming without having to pay for the air time.  If you have cable and want to make use of the services the large multi system operators are distributing their programming with take advantage of public access.  It's a free way to ethically distribute your voice and get viewers to tune into the programs that you're producing.  According to a government loophole in programming access, all cable companies must supply FREE airtime to local producers on their cable and provide a community service by offering up the time to local producers.  But you must be a cable television subscriber and have the means to produce the programming yourself unless you take an access course that the cable companies provide to their community television producers so you can  use their facilities for your own shows.  This is just another fantastic resource that producers can utilize to get their shows to the general public and if it's done right, you can gain market share within your community and have a stronger reach within local access viewership in your area.  So consider using cable access and contact your local cable provider to learn more about this not for profit service that will give you a voice, the credibility and the opportunity to have your shows seen and heard by the community.  You can't find distribution anywhere at these best bargain prices that won't bust your production budget or your personal pocketbook.  Good luck!  You might even find the time to build a website around your programming on a for-free web provider.  Use the website to enhance your cable show on access.
Let us know how you make out.  It's a great chance to take over the world with your own type of local programming.  Just make sure you know the rules.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Living The GALILEO Mystique---Sometimes a Lonely Existence

I've played the drums since I was 5 years old.  My paternal Grandfather bought me my first drum set when I was a kid.  Remembering vividly when we first visited a local Philadelphia toy store to get the set sticks deep in my memory.  It was a sunny afternoon.  Who would have known it would evolve into a long lasting musical endeavor.  Who would have known I'd be living the GALILEO Mystique for years to come.  Playing in a rock and roll band was always something that came naturally.  I've been doing it since I first started working in the entertainment and news industries.  Drumming has always helped my editing abilities.  Cutting to music and having a fervent timing sense has been important when cutting images for documentaries and solo projects.  But I never thought I'd be living the life of Galileo during the years of drumming and laying down the perfect timing tracks for so many artists.  It has occurred that way.  Uncontrolably, not in my power but philisophically mostly the same.

Galileo invented the telescope.  He was a remarkable craftsman who proclaimed that the world circled around the sun during a time when these types of ideas were considered blasphemy, part of a heretics thinking....Destined to be excommunicated from the church for proclaiming something that was accurate and proved to be right.  His discovery of the truth was a bit ahead of his time.  Not many were wanting to hear his proclamation and never wanted to accept his truths....even if they reflected personal and courageous accuracies.  Who knew I'd be living the GALILEO Mystique....

I had been playing with a rock and roll band for over 10 years based out of Westfield, NJ.  We called ourselves THREAT TO CULTURE and although I didn't think we were conventional as musicians, I felt that with some time and repetition, the music might catch on.  My other "mates" in the band were afraid of success.  They didn't want to "play out" and were determined to keep the music underground...separated, singled out and isolated from the general public for many years until they began to muster up the courage and fortitude of allowing their original sound to be heard.  I would battle constantly with the composers of some of our music to allow me to create drum tracks that worked...bringing their music to the forefront and allowing them to shine.  That's what a good drummer does.  He or she lays down a beat...a heartbeat....a constant thumping sound that works itself into the music and gets you to listen from your soul...gets you to listen with your heart and fall in love with the music while simply adding a background basic track that supports the body of the work.  That's what we do as drummers.  That's what we are suppose to accomplish if we are to be successful drumming artists.  The music was not all the time sensational while working with TTC but overtime it evolved, it fermented.  It became a fine wine.  The heartbeat, like a newborn baby was embedded into the tracks and awakened new listeners.

The Threat To Culture years or TTC days as we liked to abbreviate were introspective and long lasting.  The writers were at first unconfident with their own abilities and grew into trusting my basic beat sensabilities until we carved a niche into the music making it our own.  This drummer revolved around the Sun for over ten years playing various grooves and creating a vibe that was unique to TTC.  We recorded constantly and carved a niche as a descent underground progressive rock band from the Northern, New Jersey Area.  Local clubs enjoyed allowing us to play our music to semi filled concert halls.  I lived to serve.  I completed my mission in introducing some rather shy boys into the New Jersey music scene.  It was always a pleasure.

After over ten years, it was time.  We experienced "personal  and creative differences" that arise in any kind of musical or artistic endeavor and it was our moments of clashes that eventually knocked at each other like opposite atoms creating an atomic explosion.  Those Catholic Boys just don't get it right all the time....Unfortunately fear reigned on and my stubborness to get us out there to play out more caused the fear to grow.  But they did evolve.  They did create a sound of their own.  I'm so deeply proud of their heroic efforts over the years.  It was time to go.  We parted ways but the music lives on.  I'm so proud of those boys.  Yes, yes....Galileo was once again excommunicated from the Catholic Church in the form of Threat To Culture but the music and the great times we shared are forever there for everyone to see and hear.  We Rocked!  Galileo Rolled!....Another search continues for a new home.  Peace and love to my "band mates" of Threat To Culture.  It was one hell of a ride....Forever searching.....


Friday, November 25, 2011

I Visited The Sun---Traveling to Florida for Thanksgiving.

I never imagined that traveling down to Florida for Thanksgiving could be as easy as it was this year.  Yes, yes, traveling down to Florida for the holidays was one of the most peaceful and publicly relaxing types of experiences that I've had in a long time.  I'm a bit compulsive when it comes to arriving on time ANYWHERE...It's been part of my nature for years and being ON TIME was one of the important factors that I had to establish when I was working in news for many years...The ways you had to keep up with deadlines when writing under pressure established me as an on-time kindof guy that made it important to be compulsive whenever a writing assignment was parceled out by assigment editors and news executives when I once played with "the big boys".  Oh how I don't miss those days as I sit now in a uncrowded airport being part of the security protected elite getting ready for a short trip down to the West Palm Beach area of Florida.  Who would have ever thought that in a way you become a prisoner of your enviornment that you create while I sit here watching the baggage check personel and vast arrays of security personel wandering the airport corriders listening to the vast number of languages from people who have been trained to comply with so many of the standards airport security has set up since we became a post 9/11 society.  I wonder if the days of travel have just expanded our inner conscience to become more insulated...more secure with the ways we have seen ourselves protected by technology, passwords and problems that have worked their ways into insulating us from what actually happens in our communities and with our children.  Please don't think that I'm complaining but it does lead itself into wondering where we place our sacred trust these days when we know that monitoring and compulsive policing is necessary to provide the safety that we need to have especially on busy traveling days like the one I am experiencing this holdiay of 2011.  Gone are the days of having to schlep hords of equipment through airports running to a land where you must gain someone's trust in a matter of hours before interviewing them in front of a camera.  I can't say I miss it.  I don't...along with the pressure that I had to put on myself in order to make the deadlines.  Today, the experience of reporting has become more personal, more dedicated to reporting ideas about your family, friends and the ones you love reflecting a non intrusive way so that once made you feel accepted and unassuming without really trying.  My voice has not been sensored in a long time and it is mostly therapeutic these days to be able to write about personal experiences without really having the BIG BROTHER syndrome watching over my every move even if AT&T companies help us from afar in any kind of computer problem we might have when a system or a glitch takes down one of your computers.   So let us all be thankful this holiday season for a time that will be less intrusive and analytical allowing us to speak our minds and not be invaded by Orwellian "thought police" who know our evey move before we take a step outside.  It's something we all deserve to share with our fellow citizens in order to be free and enjoy the luxuries of friends and family this holiday season.  I wish you all peace and a good sense of serenity this holiday.  We all deserve it when traveling through busy airports and vast arrays train, bus and busy highways getting to the ones we love.  Enjoy the moments with with family and friends.  They only want the best for us all.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Still About the Story as Unconventional Media and Award Winning Filmmaker Eric Mofford Shares Some Unconventional Experiences.

Eric Mofford is a producer and director that has been involved in over 50 film, television and on-line productions and numerous music videos. He has worked as an Assistant Director and Production Manager on another 30 feature films and television programs, including the Emmy award-winning 24, CLOCKWATCHERS, KALIFORNIA and DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST. He has just completed producing, HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM, a feature Documentary Festival favorite, on the loss of domestic oil and energy alternatives; the live action portions for the EA video game, NEED FOR SPEED: UNDERCOVER, with Maggie Q; MANDALA, and a five camera live concert performance by world musician, David Arkenstone (also Directed. Previous producing credits include BLACK. WHITE. for FX television, EXTREME MAKEOVER:HOME EDITION for ABC and the IFC critically acclaimed comedy series, MINOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF JACKIE WOODMAN. In 2001, he co-produced the 13-part documentary series, SENIOR YEAR for PBS. He served as the Supervising Producer on the Docu-Dramady film, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE DINGLE, shot in Kerry County, Ireland.

Eric has taught numerous media workshops (including the International Film and Television Workshops) and been a panelist on funding councils and numerous film festival seminars. For the last 5 years, he has been mentoring filmmakers with an individualized, tutorial-based instruction program One on One Film Training.  Eric still considers his best and most challenging work to be raising his two daughters.

GP MEDIA:  What would you say are some of the key ingredients to becoming a responsible and ethical documentarian? 

 ERIC MOFFORD:   It always starts with story. What is the story you are trying to get across to the viewer.  How is it the truth?  Then you need to find the elements that support that vision, be it people or places.   Ethically, you can’t change the story to fit your needs because then it becomes reality television or a fiction piece so you need to find the elements that are true to the story you want to tell as a filmmaker.

GP MEDIA:   Name two or more experiences in your life that have greatly influenced your work.

ERIC MOFFORD:  I went to Emerson College with the ambition to direct narrative feature films and animation. I took a documentary class which included work on a documentary entitled, "Woburn: Who Bears the Costs?" It was all about the toxic waste in the drinking water of Woburn, Mass and children getting cancer, later told in the feature film with John Travolta, "A Civil Action."  This Emerson project turned me on to the power of documentaries. Each film inspires me to tell another story.
Having children was the other big experience. You want to make the world a better place for them. I’m a filmmaker, I know no other way to change the world. Narrative films can be entertaining, but look at the power documentaries can have to make us rethink our world, who we are as people.  "A Thin Blue Line," "Inconvenient Truth," "Food, inc." "Paradise Lost," these films have helped free innocent people from jail, changed public eating habits, etc. That inspires me as a filmmaker.

GP MEDIA:  How have electronic media and the internet played into how you find audiences?

ERIC MOFFORD:   These days the Internet is your only hope for survival and finding an audience. We are not only filmmakers but we have to be fundraisers, sales agents and PR marketers. It’s just too hard to get anyone to do that kind of work without charging you a lot of money. Most movies don’t make the kind of money they once did. And no one will have the passion that you do for the project. You’ve got to be out there blogging, posting on social media, twitter updates, emails, always working to increase your fan base. It’s not fun and I don’t really enjoy it, but it’s got to be done.

GP MEDIA:  Do you think documentarian filmmaking has become less adventurous, less rebellious, more reality TV based in theme and messages?

ERIC MOFFORD:   Short answer, No! I think it may be true that many documentaries on Network television are more reality based in style, but that’s been going on for a long time. When we produced the series, “Senior Year” for PBS in 2000, everyone saw the style as new ideas for reality television, but we were just using old ideas from Cinema Verite. Today, everyone has a camera. At Occupy Wall Street, I think people with cameras outnumbered police. There is an endless supply of styles and information presented in documentary form on YouTube. It isn’t all good storytelling, but it inspires the creative art for everyone. When we were at the Emmy’s this year with our film, “Houston We Have A Problem,” I was really impressed with how many documentary films I wanted to see that had aired on television, this year alone.

GP MEDIA:What do you envision the future of documentarian filmmaking to look like in the next 20 years and how might delivery methods to audiences change in this competitive marketplace?

ERIC MOFFORD:   Well, I’m real excited by Transmedia, which is why my company is called Unconventional Media. Basically, it’s the idea of your smart phone, ipad, kindle, computer, television, all connected together to help tell the story you are interested in. So, let’s say you visit a famous place, you can watch short documentaries about the location on your phone, while you are there or if the film you are watching on television is important to you, a list of numbers to call for change appears on your phone. Basically your film is only part of the bigger experience so story is still going to be the most important aspect for it to stand out.
We'd like to thank Mr. Mofford for his masterful insight into helping contribute opinions and progressive thinking about the future of documentarians...To learn more about his company check out the Unconventional Website and if you're in the Los Angeles area where Mr. Mofford is based, explore some of the many wonderful films his company has produced and enlightened us with.  His work not only tells stories but leaves the viewer with a message that we can all take home and think about as we apply it to our day to day lives.  That's all for NOW...  From GP MEDIA,  GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC,  I'm James Ford Nussbaum.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Get Ready and Stay Tuned for My Interview with Progressive Thinking Filmaker--Eric Mofford, Unconventional Media

Unconvential Media is a Los Angeles based production company spearheaded by acclaimed and award winning filmaker Eric Mofford.  His webiste for the company boasts many different types of genres and has a history of producing some of the industries most innovative creations which have included films like, "Finding Hope" and the Emmy nominated documentary "Houston We Have a Problem".  Mofford's style is assertive and unafraid to explore topics like child abuse and energy conservation issues as he's exhibited many of his films on nationwide tours of the country traveling to such places as Atlanta and the mid west.  The thing I like most about his Unconventional site is the variety of samples he allows us to explore layed out in a most unusal and different style than any other site I've visited.  His statements on the site are bold and brash allowing the visitor to take a behind the scenes look at what his company is all about.  One of the more fascinating aspects of Mofford's lifestyle is his family who comprise a clans of artisans that collaborate on many projects that are not just ordinary but capture unusal and different topic matters that some filmakers wouldn't dare explore.  Mofford has been an inspiration to my company and troops here at Galileo Productions and we'll dabble into some of his philosphies more deeply through future blogs when I conduct a one-on-one interview with this Master.  His intelligence and wit are never ordinary.  So--do your homework and check out Unconventional Media in preparation for one of our next blogs on the artist named Mofford....

Relating to Other Video Production Blogs

Groovy Like A Movie is another video production blog on the internet that always seems to fascinate me when it comes to learning about the latest and greatest innovations within the industry.  This blog is extremely well layed out and easy to read.  The topics are also inspiring catering information about RED CAMERAS and other production tools that simply make a significant difference in the way you produce video.  I believe the company is based in San Diego and touts magnificient scenary from their office windows leading you to think that they're based in one of the best locations for a production company.  Working with the RED CAMERA has been one of the newest advertisements for production companies that use this camera.  It doesn't use tape and applies a PCM card into the camera to record video data at a much higher pixel count then most giving the user a look that is suppose to be better than film.  However, the camera has some price point limitations and doesn't ship in any small way.  Many production companies are using this tool now and have found it to be the answer to all of their production concerns.  The PCM card is also utilized in editing using FINAL CUT PRO or AVID but there have to be some major hardware issues included with your editing software when using the RED system.  Groovy Like A Movie also has some superb examples using the RED camera system on it's blog and I occassionally check in to see what's new in San Diego.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The DIGITHEAD Mystique and Dealing with Pot Smokers....

Many years ago I produced a local cable show with two hosts that were involved with pot smoking endeavors.  I regress....while using these two persons who volunteered to participate in my DIGITHEAD experiment, I soon learned that they both liked to smoke alot of pot and one of the hosts particularly enjoyed his cannibus while we traveled to Amsterdam where the substance is quite legal.  I had no idea what adventures awaited me to only learn that both of my hosts were participating in illegal substance abuse by American standards.  The situation had become out of control.  What was this producer to do but try and limit the publics opinion by keeping them both as far away from the narcotic as possilbe; not so easy when you're dealing with egos and sometimes juvenile behavior.  The two of them have moved on to bigger and better things but keep this as a warning to many would be producers out there that you must engage in extensive background checks with the people you put onto the air before you give them a forum to vent their frustrations.  I wonder what they're doing now and only hope and pray that they've grown out of their narcotic endeavors and look to clean up their act.  I appologize to the viewers we connected with in hopes that they understand that sometimes, you must be very careful about who you choose to put on the air or over the internet when it comes to broadcasting ideas and choosing a candidate.  I didn't do my homework as best as I could when researching their escapades in the area of illicit narcotics.  Make sure you do if you affilliate yourself with people that are going to be your spokespersons.  The past will always come back to haunt you.  I remain, Gentleman Jim

A Subtle Reminder About our Freedoms of Speech

I was reminded soon after I began writing this blog about an instance that took place from an annonymous caller who had recently read some of my material over the internet.  He called to threaten and harass me about some of my past dealings with people I have communicated with in the past.  HIS words were at first very hospitable and warm as he called me from an annonymous phone number, the location of his call restricted by my cell phone.  "You better shut up and not make any more trouble", he said probably referring to some past difficulties this blogger has had with people who have in the past, had great difficulty with my website writing forcing me to be censored over the internet by parties who have not been able to examine themselves properly and realize that GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC and my films are all about expressing yourself honestly and looking to find truth in all subjects I document.  Refer to some of my previous blogs where I have written about these ideas.  The caller began to ramble and as the conversation began to get a bit nasty.  Unfortunately it ended after the caller wouldn't allow me to get a word in edgewise with any of our discussions.  I hung up on him.

New Ideas Strike a Chord with People and Sometimes Limit Our Freedoms of Speech

I'm reminded while writing this blog about a number of people from the community who have taken a disliking towards my ideas and writings over the internet.  I must explain.  Not too long ago I recieved an anonymous phone call from a restricted phone number on my cell phone.  They had been contacting me to try and silence this blogger.  "You better shut up", they proclaimed and began telling me how difficult my life would be if they continue to read some of my postings.  "We'll have to bring some of my friends up to where you live and pay you a visit", they bantered.  "We know where you live" and began telling me my address and phone number which is clearly posted over the internet on my companies websites.  Another instance came years ago from a person I well respected who had some problems with drinking many years ago when he was growing up.  He exhibited poor judgement in the past about his alcohol consumption and the discourse we shared against each other came to light, AGAIN, over the internet.  I had posted a website that was libelous by certain accounts against his character even though the posts portrayed an accurate and true representation of what we had gone through as brothers and friends.  I've since tried to ignore our dealings with each other and proceed with my work.  My father once put it well when he said, you're allowed to do almost whatever you want in this country as long as you're willing to pay the consequences.  Words I shall never forget but isn't it true that we must begin to learn how to use this new form of expression labled, The Wild Wild West by my attorney as a forum for getting people together for the good of our country?  It should be our freedoms to be able to speak our minds as long as we understand the ramifications and consequences for what we write.  Some of the people I've spoken about over the internet have some serious issues with some of my actions that have obviously been misunderstood in translation.  Isn't it time to hold out olive branches instead of swords using the internet and begin to try a dialogue that helps us bring people together instead of pushing each other away?  The Wild Wild West or WWW of the internet landscape is a place to just start beginning to break down communication walls and begin to understand that we all are very similar in the way we act and behaive.  Thanks for reading.  More to come.  JN

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Using Youtube To Test the Waters....Finding Your Subject Matter....

Youtube has been a wonderful gauge to find subject matter.  Consider this...You can place test videos up on Youtube to determine what the public wants to watch.  I use the site to run a variety of video vignettes and see which ones strike the most hits.  The most popular videos are usually the ones that should be placed onto your development list and produced into longer formatted documentaries.  It's a great place to test the waters.  Below is a clip I produced on Sushi Chef Jerry of East Tokyo Restaurant.  The video did surprisingly well bringing in lots of hits.  I'm tempted to take this video to the next level now and develop a documentary on the History of Sushi and why it's so popular in America.  Youtube is perfect for this marketing model.  The videos that are most popular deserve a second look and it might not be a bad idea to take this video to the next level and develop a documentary that will incorporate the idea into a larger body of work.
Youtube's immediate reponsive format makes it a perfect test marketing tool to determine where the eyeballs may fall for your next project and give you direction on what will make a good documentary or other type of film.  I highly recommend that you use Youtube to find your voice and help you stear the production machine in a direction that will get viewership and attract audience share.  The nice thing about it too is it's all FREE...What more can you ask for??


It's Time to Write The Bible....Your Production Bible That is....God is Joe Pesci

It's time to write your production bible....You know...the guide and information book that you'll combine into a notebook which will have all the answers for you when it's time to start production of your documentary.  You'll include, contacts, research for questions, shoot schedules, scripting and edit plans and even a section for all your correspondence.  It's the notebook of all notebooks that will get you out of hot water when you have to visit the courts and step infront of the G-d Judge who will determine whether or not you should be censored.  I know it sounds extreme, but the production bible you compile will be your go-to answer card whenever you have problems or questions in the field and need to contact someone or just look for an answer to a production delemma.  Look at your production bible as the answer to all religious questions and think of it as the book you assemble that will be a wonderful reference tool for years to come when you have to look back at how you produced your documentary.  Here are some note worthy sections that should be included in your production bible:

1.  Contacts
2.  Research for Scripted Questions
3.  Scipted Questions
4.  Shoot Schedules
5.  Directions to Locations
6.  Transcripts
7.  Paper Edit--The Edit Plan
8.  Misc.
9.  Crew List with Phone Numbers
10.Press Releases
11.Sponsorship Information
12.Legal--Releases and Location Waivers

The production bible IS NOT anything religious the way most think about it in biblical context, it's simply a wonderful reference tool that has sections dedicated to various aspects of your production.  Don't think of it as anything religious.  George Carlin puts things into perspective better when it comes to religion....
So remember, if you have to answer to Joe Pesci when it comes time to defend your work, look at the production bible that you compile as a strong means of defense from getting your head knocked in by Joe Pesci.  You'll thank me along the way when you realize how important a well crafted and organized production bible can be in producing a coherent and well scripted video project that makes sense and changes people's lives.  The video production bible is your answer to contend with G-d....Even if G-d is Joe Pesci.   JN

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Capturing Your Families History On Videotape---Oral Histories---

There's never been a time right now when people are skammering to collect and save family moments... relics of time gone by and remembering the past through their family trees.  One of the services we offer has been a rather successful and unique product we call oral histories... These videos include taking your elder statesman or matriarch of your family and sitting them down to recollect about your family and days gone by.  It's a testament to your family tree and a chance for you to get closer with the elders in your clan.  What better way to learn about the past and how far you've come then developing a dialogue with one of your grandparents.  We record them on DVD and then keep them on file for a client for several years so that when they pass you've got a moment in time recorded for posterity.  These oral histories allow family members to share and bound keeping up the traditions for generations to come.  They can include photo's like this one...
or just use an interview that is conducted with a family member to tell the story of your clan.  What better way to keep the family traditons alive and give them out to others as holiday gifts.  The photo above was from my grandfather's Bar Mitzvah, a tradition in the Jewish faith that takes place at 13 years of age.  My grandfather never had the chance to actually get Bar Mitzvahed as money problems persisted during the Great Depression era but it did give him the chance to study and learn Torah.  He would later go to synagogues and teach Hebrew at the the temple to newcomer Bar Mitzvahs and spread his love and knowlege.  What better way to learn about your past and the many great stories that are there by creating an oral history video DVD for generations to come.  It's a wonderful way to show you care.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Registering your Company Trademark with the USPTO

Most companies have some kind of trademark or logo for their branding and marketing purposes.  But what alot of people don't know is that you should make an effort to register this trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office located in Alexandria, Virgina.  The USPTO is searchable on Google and available to take an application for registration over the internet where you can register and protect your companies assets and properties.  It's something we all forget to do but necessary in a world now so protective of intellectual property and ideas.  In order to keep your company original and different from others, I can not begin to tell you how important this is.  Here is our trademark at GALILEO PRODUCTIONS, LLC... 

The trademark is usually good for about ten years and you can have it protected by the USPTO in case another company tries to use your name or use a similar name that could be confusing with your own.  This is a very helpful service by the US Government in protecting your companies interests and helping you to establish a brand.  It's also a good way to legally go after anyone who tries to use your name after you've established it with the USPTO.  Remember that no one can use the name or logo once it is registered with the USPTO and you'll have to go through a rigorous screening process by the USPTO in order to determine that no one else is using your name or brand over the internet or in commerce.  A small nominal fee is usually applied to you when registering your brand or trademark so make sure it is unique and different from anyone else's logo.  Do a Google search before registering a name to make sure no one else is using it the same way you are.  It's just another way to protect your companies name, reputation and intellectual assets.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Finding Truth...What Makes Documentary Filmmaking So Intriguing

I've always loved getting to the bottom of truth and finding new meaning in learning about subject matters through documentary film making.  It is the process of producing a documentary that allows for learning the truth about a subject matter and getting to the bottom of what actually exists.  Documentary film making is a process of discovery and learning about a subject matter in a cohesive process of production lending itself to being concise and well organized when done the right way.  You learn about people and their interests in their own words while performing the tasks at hand for documentary production.  Allowing a story to be told by your subject matter in their own words is one of the biggest services you can offer an organization or a person when producing good stories.  You become an outsider looking in and achieving a noble profession of portraying the truth in a world that is filled with misrepresentations and lies.  Finding answers to complex questions through documentary film making offers up the ultimate teaching tool to your viewers and can be the way to lead people in a safe and coherent manner so they can make decisions on their own without too much manipulation of facts when done correctly.  It is a gift and honor to be selected to perform these tasks for an organization or network where you must have skills at your disposal that can present a subject matter  in their most honest and truthful representation.  It is a role that comes along with allot of responsibility and it is our mission as documentarians to present the facts without imposing too much of our own opinions and beliefs in good story telling.  We become the new gatekeepers and must abide by a stern grouping of rules and ethics in order to keep our reputations and titles reputable.  Trust must never be broken and we establish this with our viewer by abiding by a table of ethics.


Transcribing Interviews for Your Final Edit---The Importance of Details

It has never been more important to make sure your interviews are properly transcribed to paper before making your selects for sound-bites while post producing a documentary.  Finding a good company that can transcribe interviews you've conducted on tape is both challenging but essential.  You will need to find a reputable company that can take an interview from your master tape or MP4 file and handle the format properly so they can work on listening to the interviews you have conducted and then transcribe them to a WORD file or some other text format so you can print them up and compile them into your master edit production bible notebook.  Once you locate a reputable company, ( we've used paralegal assistance from law firms who charge a nominal fee for issuing a transcript from your master interview tapes with time-coded location of each sound-bite placed into the document so you can find them easier when you begin your edit plan on paper ) you're on the road to establishing a concise edit plan that will be helpful to you in the future for reference purposes and legal reasons just in case any of what you place into your documentary is ever questioned in court.  This is particularly helpful if you're producing an investigative piece or some kind of in depth expose that might come up questionable later on after your documentary is produced.  I can't begin to emphasize how helpful transcriptions of interviews are.  I'm still trying to find software that can do this for you similar to an Apple Dragon program that recognizes voice commands and transcribes it to text but there hasn't been any kind of software that I've yet discovered that will do the work for you without a transcriber of some sort.  Good luck in your edit plan.  It's the bible of documentarians.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Keeping It Simple and Exciting in the Edit

Most people who haven't edited a story before in documentary filmmaking tend to ignore some of the principles that should be adhered to in order to make a successful edit exciting for all audiences.  Keep it real and keep it simple making sure all of your edited sound bites don't take up too much time....usually about 4-6 seconds is plenty when it comes to interviews and sound techniques.  You want to keep your viewers attention and making sure sound doesn't drone on for too long and put your viewers to sleep is key.  But sometimes this all depends on the subject matter itself.  An animated interview will surely keep the viewers attention opposed to a subjects long winded monotone rants that could just cause you to lose your audience.   As described earlier, use your preproduction time wisely to find subjects that will talk in bites and articulate your topic matter with elequence and style.  Allow the interviewee to tell the story in their own words and lead them into painting a picture through sound and storytelling that is engaging and most important coherent.  Make sure to have your interviewee recite the questions and incorporate them into their answers.  We make a point of telling this in advance to our interviewee so that they can also think carefully about their answer.  Remember, good interivew practices will allow the editor to pick and choose soundbites that have simple and short meaning in your documentary.  Simplicity leads to excitement and a sucessful edit.

Monday, October 3, 2011

4 More Tips for Conducting The Perfect Interview....

Here are so more tips for the interviewer in television....

1.  Be prepared when conducting an interview with your subject and do your homework.  There's nothing more embarrassing then trying to wing an interview with your subject that presents yourself as being unknowledgeable about the topic matter and the subject at hand.... Do your research and try to have 8X10 cards with you that are not white in color for camera purposes....A blue colored 8X10 card is always best.

2.  Have a series of questions ready that promote your subject to talk in soundbites.  Always use the "WHY?" question to elicit a more lengthy discussion that will be easier for your editor to cut.  Remember that
a good sound bite usually gets across a point within seven seconds.  Finish the interview with, "Is there anything else you'd like to add?"  as a means of being fair to your subject.

3.  Communicate to your subject that they should try and reiterate your questions into the answers because your questions will be cut out of the final edited piece.  This also gives your subject some more time to think about their answers.

4.  Be persistant if you don't get the answer you're looking for.  Ask the question again reworded if necessary to elicit a response that suits the message and theme of your interview.

Remember, the more you conduct interviews, the better you'll get being able to manipulate your subject and give you responses that best suit the message you are trying to make.  It sounds a bit unethical but time factors in television are very important and you don't want to lose your audience because of a subject matter that is drawn out and just plain boring to your viewer.  Sound bites are an art form and it takes a while to master the manipulative techniques of good interviewing skills.

Thanks for reading.


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