Producer Tips

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We were invited by Producer Debra White Plume to present our current project and train participants on media activism as part of the Moccassins on the Ground 3-day frontline activism training, which took place in Manderson, SD in March.

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The Native World has a way of calling. And it’s usually unexpected…1996. St. Petersburg, Florida. My mother’s passing gave me the very unlikely job title of “Owner, Native American Art Gallery.” This wasn’t supposed to happen. I was newly married, had a promising TV career underway in Chicago, and the Native World (and the art business) was the furthest thing from my mind. But, something (someone?) told me that this was my path…

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On September 5th through the 7th, Dustinn Craig and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Vision Maker Media Producers' Conference held in Minneapolis, MN. It is always inspirational to meet and network with other filmmakers, especially Native filmmakers, and to hear about their projects and how they juggle or attempt to juggle their lives and projects.

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By the time we got to Minneapolis for the Vision Maker Media conference a while back, Jamie and I had already had enough dealings with Vision Maker Media to expect to be gracefully and efficiently guided to a better understanding of how we, and our company Dog Mountain LLC, could make our film Finding Refuge better. We also expected to learn about how we could more effectively find more funding and build on the trailer we’ve created.

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The National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC) Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 5-8, 2012 was a great experience for the Native American Media producers. Myself, as an aspiring educational media producer, this conference with Vision Maker Media brought together many creative media artists. I was able to meet some new friends and reconnect with old friends within the Native Media network of people.

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I took away many things from Minneapolis this past September. Firstly, I really enjoyed being there with my partner in this film together. not only did we tackle some some issues and hurdles with our current cut from twenty thousand feet over Colorado, we had each other to springboard points and issues that emerged during the workshop. We were touched that Vision Maker Media was happy to have us both there and I think my partner Christian especially was able to offer some technical insights to the group too.

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The Vision Maker Media producer workshop opened by eyes in more ways than one. We’ve been working on Bridge the Gap to Pine Ridge for almost two years now. The film started as a web series, then it blossomed into a 1 hour program for potential distribution on PBS Plus. Now we have been given a green light for distribution on the National Programming Schedule.

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I received valuable professional information about working as a documentary producer during the Media for Change workshop with Molly Murphy from Working Films on August 19 of this year. I am fundamentally a writer, director, cinematographer and editor, but I will be making my first foray into documentary producing for an upcoming project in my company, Red Ant Films.

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The Media for Change workshop held by Vision Maker Media brought to light many of the challenges facing both educators and independent producers today. However, there seems to be a disconnect between the needs and desires of educators, the model of the independent producer engaged in content creation for public television, and the shifting realities of funding and distribution.

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Rarely a day goes by where I don’t thank the forces of social networking and how it has helped my film along in many ways. I credit Facebook- without hesitation- for bringing in thousands of dollars to my fundraising campaign on Kickstarter this past June from one single email plea to my friends, family and colleagues.

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I recently attended the Media for Change workshop in Santa Fe, NM hosted by Vision Maker Media and was a part of the Media-Maker’s group. The bulk of the first session was led by Molly Murphy of Working Films who gave an in-depth presentation of what their campaigns consist of. She offered insight and tips on how filmmakers should approach Working Films and similar companies and pitch their projects correctly and in turn what benefits they can reap from the collaboration.

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Just wanted to post a message regarding the 1st Vision Maker Media Media For Change event in Santa Fe, NM. I have to say that I really enjoyed the program and it was good to see old friends and meet new ones. I found this event to particularlly interesting because of how media is changing. It's no longer about just delivering a completed movie, but now it's about  how to extend the life of that program by using new media, such as the internet, apps, online gaming, etc.

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