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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.