Producer Tips

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Finally in Post-Production, I can see an end to five years of making my first feature documentary, My Louisiana Love. Now… how will the film help bring forth change for my best friend, co-producer, and main subject, Monique Verdin and her Houma Indian family of southeast Louisiana? With this question hanging over me, I gratefully accepted Vision Maker Media’s invitation to a Media for Change workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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If ever there were a boot camp for emerging filmmakers, the folks at NALIP have laid the groundwork for how things might go: early mornings, late nights, constant networking, and in between, squeezing in sessions of proposal writing, film editing, music composition, crowd-funding and practicing the perfect pitch. After 10-days of non-stop work-shopping at the Latino Producer’s Academy, I felt as though I had pulled the ultimate all-nighter, extremely fatigued, but reflecting on the experience with much satisfaction.

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My head was swimming with ideas as I left the Media for Change Conference. As a college professor and a documentary producer for Wisconsin Public Television, I straddle both an academic world, where I try to grow the next generation of digital storytellers, and a professional sphere, where I coax funders to bankroll worthy projects—most of them dealing with Native topics.

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$15,0000.  That was the magic number I had come up with. My documentary, “LaDonna Harris: Indian 101” had come to a complete halt when my funds dried up and I needed to get it finished.  I estimated that I need $50k to deliver the final cut to submit to public television, but it seemed impossible to try to raise that amount in 30 days, so I decided to go for a more reasonable $15k. I saw the success my other filmmaker friends had with their fundraising campaigns on Kickstarter.com and thought I’d go for it. Here’s how it all went down…

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This weekend (Sat. Nov 20) in LA, niche marketing guru Peter Broderick and tech author Scott Kirshner will bring their social media crash-course, Distribution U: Version 2.0, to LA. I attended their NYC event last weekend. And, despite the day-long committment--an intense 9 hour session-- the tech refresher brought industry-types together to share secrets and stories of success on the latest in hybrid distribution models.

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