What excites you about documentary filmmaking

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Part of it is that I'm fascinated by environments and places that I don't normally frequent. We've always loved subcultures and things like that. I'm always interested in the human condition, so I'm always fascinated to live, in some ways, through other people's experiences. I've never been on trial for murder and lived in a trailer park and all those things, but I am fascinated by the human condition and love spending time with people who walk in different circles. So I get to hang out in the studio with Paul McCartney, and I get to hang out with Damien's family, and I get to take Delbert out for his first Chinese food in Munnsville. That whole experience, I found incredibly rewarding; almost as much as the filmmaking itself is the life experience that I have in making it. I suppose it's like a sociologist and anthropologist, in that you're almost put into a time zone. Who thinks about being in Arkansas and covering a murder case, or hanging out with Plant and Page in a studio in London, or sleeping in a box with homeless people to see what it's like to spend a night in the dead of winter and how they have to exist on a day-to-day basis? I think those kinds of experiences are phenomenal, and I embrace them.

Delbert Ward Ward Brothers
Left to right: Roscoe Ward, Michael Kraus (soundman), Joe Berlinger, Douglas Cooper (cameraman), and Bruce Sinofsky shooting on the Ward brothers' farm. Photo credit: Derek Berg, courtesy Creative Thinking International, Ltd.

Every time I look for a new filming subject, it's gotta be something that intrigues me because I'm off at work a lot. It has to be something I really like and really feel strongly about. I just did my first shoot last week on the Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. They were doing Cuckoo's Nest there, so I did a little shooting around the theater with Gary Sinise and some of the cast members. They've sort of revolutionized theater. And I like theater, and I said, "It's a good opportunity—I'd like to venture into that," and that's worked out very well.

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  • ulrich
    What excites you about film production?
    3 months ago

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