Who doesn't love a good list of rules for success? Doug Block, the director of one of the most fascinating personal documentaries I've seen in years, 51 Birch Street, provides his personal Ten Rules of Personal Documentary Filmmaking as a series of entries on his blog. Doug knows of whence he speaks; 51 Birch Street is both compelling and (at times) uncomfortably personal. You could do a lot worse than to take his rules to heart.
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That's a pretty decent cash stake for a short film. Visit www.kcjubilee.org for full details on entering. Early deadline is November 15.
This year Apple is again running a film festival for high school and college filmmakers -- the idea is to make a film basically from scratch in 24 hours.
Thinking of participating? Check out John August's top ten tips for making a short film in a limited amount of time. My favorite: "Protein, not carbs. Because you’ll likely be working all night, sugar will send you into a crash."
Of course, the most practical is to "Go funny." This applies to documentaries as well as narrative films; if you can display a sense of humor towards your subject -- however dire -- your film is much more likely to be remembered and rewarded.
Best of luck to the participants.