IDA Spotlight: SocDoc Faculty Tips for New Projects

July 26, 2019
IDA Spotlight: SocDoc Faculty Tips for New Projects
We are thrilled to be featured in the International Documentary Association's Member Spotlight this week. We include the text of the profile here:

IDA Institutional Member Spotlight: School of Visual Arts, New York City
One of our best jobs here at SVA's MFA in Social Documentary Program is advising our graduate students on their film ideas, helping them make their concepts strong. The idea stage can be invigorating, but successful films happen with thoughtful planning. We surveyed our esteemed faculty for suggestions on what filmmakers should consider as they embark on a new project.

What about this story is compelling to you?
Toby Shimin, editor, Ernie & Joe

Is the subject doing something authentic and interesting - that speaks to larger ideas that are engaging to an audience?
Maro Chermayeff, SocDoc Department Chair; director, Half The Sky

What are the stakes?
Deborah Dickson, director, LaLee’s Kin

Is there a story? Will transformation transpire during the film?
Ann Collins, editor, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Why are you the person to tell this story? What do you bring to it that you can share with viewers?
Leslie Asako Gladsjo, director, Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise

Does your idea excite when you describe it, or do people just listen politely?
Thom Powers, documentary programmer, Toronto International Film Festival

Now, imagine the images that best tell your story. How should your camera move or stay still? How intimate or formal should you be? These will change with your story but you are helped by using your imagination ahead of time.
Tom Hurwitz, ASC, cinematographer, Queen of Versailles

From a fundraising perspective: is there a similar film on this topic? How is yours different?
JT Takagi, sound recordist, Strong Island 

Are you prepared to give this project what it will take over the years that it will inevitably consume? Do you need partners to best serve the film? Who might support this film and why?
Beth Levison, producer, 32 Pills: My Sister’s Suicide