Friday, January 20, 2017

An Inconvenient Sequel premieres at Sundance!

Congrats to Kenn Rabin, who was the archivist for An Inconvenient Sequel, which premiered at Sundance this week!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Article now available in Romanian!

Many thanks to journalist and film critic Anca Yvette Gradinariu for her translation of "Keep a Close Watch: Analyzing a Documentary's Strengths and Weaknesses" (Documentary magazine, May 17, 2016) into Romanian!  You can read the article here, "Cum Să Analizăm Documentarele," the website of Docuart, an association dedicated to the Romanian documentary.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New article: "Analyzing a Documentary's Strengths and Weaknesses"

Now online: "Keep a Close Watch: Analyzing a Documentary's Strengths and Weaknesses," in Documentary magazine (publication of the International Documentary Association), Spring 2016 issue. 

Adapted from Documentary Storytelling, 4th edition (Jan 2016), the piece offers a discussion of the critical opening minutes of your documentary, and strategies for close analysis of others' work.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Listening as a Writer: An Informal Guide to Podcasts

I like to listen to substantive conversations (at least 20 minutes, preferably an hour or more) with writers, producers, directors and others in the worlds of film and theater as I walk or bike (or drive), and have discovered that there's a seemingly endless stream of these conversations available online.

Here are a handful of them, in no particular order. If you have a favorite podcast that's not here, feel free to add it in the comments section.  

The Producers Perspective with Ken Davenport
An incredible array of guests. Some recent favorite conversations: Jeanine Tesori, Diane Paulus, David Henry Hwang, Ralph Sevush, Theresa Rebeck.

BAFTA – The Guru Podcasts
This is a goldmine of material, including a screenwriters’ lecture series, in focus masterclasses, and conversations.

Indie Film Academy Podcast/Learning Filmmaking from Filmmakers. 
Recently, I’ve especially enjoyed Alan Watt, author of “The 90-Day Screenplay.”

Some of these have been formatted specifically for audio, but the video ones can also be downloaded just for listening.  Some terrific ones include Shonda Rhimes “My year of saying yes to everything,” Jehane Noujaim (“My wish: A global day of film”); Deborah Scranton (“An Iraq war movie crowd-sourced from soldiers”). There are also playlists of curated talks, such as 12 talks gathered as “The power of film,” which includes two of the above talks.

National Theatre, London: Podcasts

The Dramatists Guild’s “In the Room” Series
Conversations with and between artists including Stephen Sondheim, Jason Robert Brown, Emily Mann, John Guare, Tina Howe, Kirsten Greenidge, Wendy Wasserstein and more, drawn from the Dramatist Guild archives.

Others worth noting:
HowlRound: A knowledge commons by and for the theatre community
A couple of series: Matthew Gray’s “Living the Dream” and David Dower’s “Friday Phone Call”

Fresh Air – host Terry Gross often brings on writers, actors, directors, etc.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

2016 Doc Impact Awards

Congratulations to the creators of Chasing Ice, Citizenfour, Food Chains, Miners Shot Down, and Virunga on winning the 2016 Doc Impact Award.

Virunga was produced by Orlando von Einsedel and Joanna Natasegara.

In the 4th edition of Documentary Storytelling, Orlando discusses the role that good storytelling plays in making an impact. "Your film could be about the most important social issue in the entire world, but if it’s a really difficult film to watch, because it's boring for instance, you’re going to limit your audience," he said. When asked how he'd managed to gain the trust of the park rangers, he said, “Early on, they recognized that this film could be a tool to protect the park. It was a vehicle through which to investigate what SOCO and its supporters were doing, but also the end product could show the world what was happening in this park, and try and get the world to rally with the park to protect it.”

For more information on the film, see