So for the first time in a while, I am in a position where I can take some time and learn more about film production. It wasn’t really an option in graduate school. The English literature program wasn’t a compatible fit, and the Ph.D. program was more about research than hands-on skills. That was as it should be, really, though I am not always one to do things the way they “should be” done.
I currently live in the Boston area, which is the northern end of the “documentary corridor” from Boston to Washington, D.C. This area is home to the PBS powerhouse WGBH, not to mention the Media Education Foundation, as well as a full complement of broadcast stations and other media advocacy groups. Also, multiple documentary makers make their homes here (and I can see why).
Question is, where do I start in learning the technical sides of the production process? In doing some research and soliciting some feedback on Twitter, I came up with several possibilities:
1. Grab a camera, go out, and just do it.
2. Read about it through the tons of books now available on the subject. Here’s one of the newer ones that looks interesting.
3. Take a class on the basics. That one comes from Twitter. I know, for example, that David Tames offers classes as a boot camp at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. There is also taking courses at some the community colleges in the area. If I throw a stone in any direction, I will hit one.
4. Enroll in an entire program, for a degree or a certificate.
5. Volunteer to work as an intern on a production. This idea appeals to me, though I am not quite sure how to go about pursuing this option.
6. Watch, watch, watch. I do this, often. Netflix loses money on me, and I regularly watch documentaries online when the Internet access allows. I also hope to attend some of the festivals in this area, too. (More on those later.)
If I missed any other options, please feel free to leave them in the comments below.