200 Docs to See Before You Die, Become an Expert Interviewer, and More – New Year Coffee Break


It’s been a while since the last Coffee Break, so I’ve got a nice little stash built up for some New Years reading.

200 Documentaries You Must See Before You Die eBook

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True Films sister site, Cool Tools, has released a free eBook with the the top 200 films True Films has reviewed. This is a great list of films that will definitely build up my Netflix queue. Not just restricted to features, it has TV series including Mythbusters, Project Runway, and Project Greenlight Season 1, though I’m a fan of Season 3, after Bravo took over.

This is definitely worth a browse, I guarantee you’ll discover something new.

The PDF can be found here. And True Films, and Cool Tools, are good sites worth adding to your reader.

Become an Expert Interviewer – Fast – Great list of tips to come up with killer questions and keep the dialog engaging during an interview.

As part of your preparation, search out previous interviews the guest has done. Look for topics “the guest really likes to talk about,” advises Miller, and the topics that “fall flat.” The goal: To find a balance between what your audience wants to hear and also what the guest wants to talk about.

The list was derived from a PDF with even more tips, which can be found here.

A Little Light Painting


Here’s a video about the making of the photo above. Yeah, it’s still photography, but the ideas behind compositing can be taken over to the film world. And it’s a really awesome photo.

Digital Media Locator – Lots of libraries now offer eBooks and movies/docs online, for free, as part of your library service. Check this site to see what’s available at your library.

The Afterlife is Expensive for Digital Movies – Celluloid is still king…for archiving at least. This is a really fascinating article from the NY Times about the high costs of storing movies in the digital age, an age that does not do so well against time.

The problem became public, but just barely, last month, when the science and technology council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the results of a yearlong study of digital archiving in the movie business…Industry types largely missed the report’s startling bottom line: To store a digital master record of a movie costs about $12,514 a year, versus the $1,059 it costs to keep a conventional film master.

Much worse, to keep the enormous swarm of data produced when a picture is “born digital” — that is, produced using all-electronic processes, rather than relying wholly or partially on film — pushes the cost of preservation to $208,569 a year, vastly higher than the $486 it costs to toss the equivalent camera negatives, audio recordings, on-set photographs and annotated scripts of an all-film production into the cold-storage vault.

To begin with, the hardware and storage media — magnetic tapes, disks, whatever — on which a film is encoded are much less enduring than good old film. If not operated occasionally, a hard drive will freeze up in as little as two years. Similarly, DVDs tend to degrade…only half of a collection of disks can be expected to last for 15 years…Digital audiotape…tends to hit a “brick wall” when it degrades. While conventional tape becomes scratchy, the digital variety becomes unreadable.

Now I have to check all those old hard drives for those classic middle school films, not that much of the world would care if they never reach a screen again.

Full Frame: Garrett Scott Grant – I’ve said it many times before, Full Frame is a great festival. And now for first time filmmakers, there’s a chance to experience it for free.

What: This grant funds first time documentary makers for travel and accommodations at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, April 3-6, 2008. For four days, grant recipients will be given access to films, participate in master classes and be mentored by experienced filmmakers. TWO filmmakers will be chosen for the grant in its second year.

Deadline is January 28th.

The Most Expensive Drink at Starbucks – This will keep you going through the night. A 13 shot venti soy hazelnut vanilla cinnamon white mocha with extra white mocha and caramel, all for only $13.76.


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