Anyone that couldn’t make it to April’s Hot Docs fest in Toronto had the option of experiencing the event vicariously through Hot Docs’ own art director, Brett Lamb. A graphic artist, cartoonist and doc addict, he kept a blog devoted to the fest (www.brettlamb.com/fest05) that’s chock-a-block with photos, film reviews, updates and on-the-scene party info.
Lamb wasn’t alone. GTA Bloggers, somebody named radioDan and many others were blogging alongside him. Yes, blogging has gone mainstream and the non-fiction community is logging on. Whether helping promote a brand, build an audience, generate discussion or tackle issues, blogging is giving both viewers and professionals an unprecedented look at – and an opportunity to debate – the non-fiction film industry.
Docs, blogs and blogumentaries
After FCC commissioner Michael Copps urged indie producers to band together to fight for their rights during natpe, Cableready CEO Gary Lico launched a weblog in the hope that producers, distribs, buyers and others will gather there to share their opinions, advice and frustrations.
Lico posts at least once a week, and uses the blog to respond to headlines or debates that emerge on panels. His motivation, he says, is to build community.
‘But this idea of Liberty buying into National Geographic Channel with the idea of somehow merging it into the Discovery Networks… It’s the kind of issue that should cause us indies to take up torches and seek out monsters in the woods.’
World of Wonder’s Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato write a blog for Inside Deep Throat that begins in April, 2002 and tracks the film through its Sundance debut and rights issues.
At February’s RealScreen Summit, Baily says the blog was done partly to help build an audience for the film.
‘Next day, Chuck Ashman called, who we had also interviewed… In return for a signed release he wanted a fee of several thousand dollars that we simply couldn’t pay.’
Though blogs began as a textual genre, they have expanded to include video, which has spawned ‘vlogging.’ At the 2004 BlogTalk conference in Vienna, Norwegian prof Jon Hoem spoke about videoblogs as ‘collective documentary,’ introducing terms like ‘vogs,’ and video-’moblogs.’
He noted that blogging from mobile devices is particularly interesting in relation to doc filmmaking, which is trying to grasp moments of life captured in the presence of a camera.
U.S. filmmaker Chuck Olsen is producing a doc on blogging. He intends to make all of the source footage available to the public in the hopes it will become the first ‘open-source documentary.’
‘This is about connection, a connection you don’t get turning on the TV or reading a newspaper,’ blogs Olsen.