A Bonanza Opportunity of Unexpected Depth

A look back on LD 2015 with the Producer of Wilbur Force Veronica Stevenson

Ollie Lucks introduced me to Loading Docs and for that he will always have my thanks. We had been friends for many years and always wanted to work together. This seemed like a perfect opportunity and when our short Wilbur Force officially made it onto the slate of LD2015 things got intense.

An email arrived inviting us to Auckland to meet the nine other LD teams for a two-day immersion in story, distribution, and marketing strategy. The diligent LD team sent us a detailed plan of the weekend including maps, parking, homework, and even a reminder to bring pen and paper. Bless the attention to detail of production teams.

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When we met the other teams I was struck by the diversity of storytellers as well as by the stories they were going tell. It was at this point I knew we were part of something that had been very carefully curated.

Over two short, whip cracking days we and the other nine teams were put through our paces by industry experts. Publicity and media strategy from Anna Dean, crowdfunding for our impending Boosted campaign with Anna Jackson, and treatment development with Kathryn Burnett.

The experience of these two days alone was worth the application process.

Maybe you’ve made a film or two and know the juggling, the problem solving, the wrangling and late nights that go with a shoot. Ours was just like that. Complete with snowstorm, shooting our talent in Lycra during ball freezing winds (or so I was told), and pushing the now dead car down the road to get that last shot.

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The due date rolled around quickly with long nights for Ollie in the edit suite with the colour grade team from Toybox and sound mix team from Sale St Studios (both provided by LD). Then all at once it was the premiere.

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For a director, having 3 minutes of creative freedom is pretty much unheard of unless you’re Orson Wells or you’re in tertiary education. So this was obviously a very special element for Ollie. However, for me, as the producer, that’s not the bit that was remarkable about being a part of Loading Docs.

For me the takers-of-the-cake were the two workshops. The first gave everyone a chance to help develop the other teams’ concepts, and to get insights into your own. After the first workshop their stories disappeared into the black box of production, only to reappear shot and polished on the big screen.

The premiere was the big reveal for everyone – even Ollie and I hadn’t seen the final grade – and it created a special buzz in the theatre.

The second workshop was after delivery, after the premiere, and after I expected anything more from Loading Docs. They’d managed to wrangle a day with Rebecca Howard, the then online content director for the New York Times. I learned more from her about the changing face of the production industry in one day than in weeks of research. The personal contact time she gave us was invaluable to our distribution plan for Wilbur Force.

The support and opportunities kept coming from the LD team. We were given the chance to meet the Director of India’s Daughter, a chilling and rigorous story about Jyoti Singh, her perpetrators, and the attitude towards women in India. I was recently in Delhi and curtains are now illegal on buses because of this case.

Bottom line. I was pretty busy when the Loading Docs opportunity came along with a full time job and several other projects, but I grabbed it with both hands and I’m so very, very glad I did.

The Jump: Meet The Ballsy Creators of Bungee

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With a healthy mix of imagination, balls and roughly remembered Newtonian physics, a kiwi bloke jumped off a bridge in 1980 and started what has become a worldwide phenomenon. ‘The Jump’ is an original story of bungee jumping and its unsung creator Chris Sigglekow unearthed by filmmakers Alex Sutherland and Rebekah Kelly. A Great Big Story by our friends at Loading Docs.

via Great Big Story

Dancing in the Dark

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Peter Vosper leads a double life, engineer by day, dancing neon robot by night. He leads “No Lights No Lycra,” where dancers lose their inhibitions and cast off their social masks. Our friends at Loading Docs show that life is better when you let it all hang out.

via Great Big Story

LOADING DOCS:CHANGE 2016 | CALL FOR PROPOSALS

LOADING DOCS seeks new 3-minute documentary ideas for 2016.

After another phenomenal year LOADING DOCS once again seeks proposals from New Zealand filmmakers for creative and original 3-minute documentary shorts. The theme of CHANGE will unite the 2016 collection of documentaries.

LOADING DOCS has established itself as the pre-eminent platform for the distribution of high quality short documentary, boasting over 600,000 views for the 19 documentaries created to date. LOADING DOCS’ mission is to give the best and brightest New Zealand filmmakers the chance to tell their stories with creativity, vision and passion and share them with the world.

In previous years the themes of HOME (2014) and CONNECTION (2015) have united the collections of short documentaries. Providing the umbrella for 2016 is the theme of CHANGE. Be it physical, internal, external, social, political, emotional, irreverent, or psychological each short must have a strong sense of purpose, offering a concentrated story while delivering to a big picture suitable to generate public interest and media engagement.

Telling a compelling 3-minute story is a test of creativity, skill and ingenuity. Now it’s the turn of a new crop of filmmakers to be part of a movement that is transforming the way we make, tell and view documentary shorts in NZ.

“I was stunned, delighted, knocked out. More importantly, I was moved…here, in glorious hi-def. video, are fellow New Zealanders telling stories packed with emotion.” – Grant Smithies on Loading Docs 2015, Sunday Star Times, Aug 2015.

Funded by NZ On Air and with support from The New Zealand Film Commission, in 2016 LOADING DOCS will once again partner with TVNZ OnDemand, The New Zealand International Film Festival, Toybox and Sale Street Studios.

10 films will be selected with each receiving:

• Professional development opportunities including workshops on story and creative treatment, outreach and distribution strategies and will receive hands on support from LOADING DOCS executive producers, to ensure their short reaches the widest possible audience.
• $2,000 production funding, and an additional $2,000 matched funding to support a crowdfunding campaign (we’ll match each dollar your raise through crowdfunding up to $2,000).
• A colour grade and sound-mix from Toybox and Sale Street Studios. That a total budget of over $7,000 for each 3 minute documentary.
This is an opportunity for the best filmmaking voices in New Zealand take up the challenge and be part of this cutting edge short documentary initiative.

For more information about LOADING DOCS and to watch the documentaries produced for LOADING DOCS 2014 and 2015, visit www.loadingdocs.net.

Important dates
• Saturday 21st of November: Submission deadline.
• December 2015: Selection announced.
• 23 & 24 January 2016: 2 Day development, outreach and crowdfunding workshop.
• February 2016: Crowdfunding campaign (30 days).
• March 2016: Film production officially begins.
• July 2016: Films launch and are shared and promoted in New Zealand and all over the world.

10 Top Tips for Documentary Treatments: How to Make Your Submission Shine by Irene Gardiner

  1. Know exactly what your story is and be able to tell people what it is in one clear sentence. If you can’t sell it in a sentence it’s probably not a story, or you haven’t worked out what the story is yet.
  2. Once you have written your most hooky intro sentence, explain how your story unfolds in the most clear and logical way you can. If your documentary is in multiple parts, write a summary of what will be in each part.
  3. Who are the most important people in your story? Introduce them in a clear and inviting way. Include succinct bios of main talent, but not endless pages of culled articles presented in an unfocused manner.
  4. What is your documentary going to look like – explain your visual/audio treatment, that’s shooting style, editing style, and use of graphics and music.
  5. What is special about your documentary? Make sure you have really conveyed its essence and the heart of the story.
  6. Who are the key people working on your documentary, what is their background and what will they bring to this specific project?
  7. If you are working to a set budget, think about how you can achieve the result you want within those parameters. If you are preparing a budget, make sure you ask yourself a lot of questions about how realistic it is. Be careful not to over or under budget.
  8. Set your written submission document out clearly and tidily, and don’t include un-necessary information. Network Executives and Executive Producers are busy people with limited time to read. If you haven’t hooked them with your first page, another 100 pages won’t help you. As outlined in tips one to seven, start your proposal document with your most simple description of what your documentary is about, then explain that more fully, then outline who your main talent are, then explain your visual and audio treatment, then key production personnel and budget.
  9. If you’re no good at spelling and grammar, get someone who is to help you do your final draft. It does matter.
  10. If you are doing a verbal presentation as well, get to the point quickly and keep focused. Explain your concept clearly in your first sentence, and then work logically from there. Don’t waste busy people’s time by not cutting to the chase. Let your passion for your project shine out of you.

About Irene Gardiner

Irene-Gardiner-Key-Profile.jpgIrene Gardiner is a long-time television producer and executive producer, with a particular interest in documentary production. She is a former TVNZ Head of Commissioning and currently works part-time as the Content Director for the NZ On Screen website.  Gardiner also continues to work as a freelance executive producer, with recent credits including the six-part documentary series Keeping it Pure, and the music documentaries Dragon and Rock Chicks.  Gardiner is also a regular contributor to radio and television as a media commentator and television reviewer.

Meet the woman who can talk to ANIMALS: Faye Rogers reveals her donkeys speak to her about crime shows, her llamas like to discuss American politics and she even chats to WORMS in her garden

daily-mail-logo-vector1Many animal lovers dream of being able to speak to their pets so they can have a natter about all the scrapes they get into.

But for Faye Rogers this is a daily reality.

Dubbed Dr Dolittle by her friends, the ‘animal communicator’ claims she chats about American politics with her llamas and dissects crimes dramas with her donkey, Thistle.

Living on a farm in Christchurch, New Zealand, with her goldfish, a rabbit, budgies, a cat, guinea pigs, llamas, four dogs, a donkey and a pet sheep called Beanie, she is never short of company.

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Faye Rogers from Christchurch, New Zealand, claims that she can speak to animals, pictured with her Irish wolfhound called Emerald

She even claims animals have warned her about impending disasters such as the Victoria bushfires and earthquakes in Haiti and China

But she said her ‘gift’ can, at times, get a little overwhelming because she sometimes feels bombarded by the thoughts of all the animals surrounding her.

She even claims animals have warned her about impending disasters such as the Victoria bushfires and earthquakes in Haiti and China, but says it is ‘not her place to stop it’.

‘You go outside and the birds are talking to you. You sit on the grass and the worms are talking to you,’ she said in a Loading Docs documentary called ‘Conversations With Pets’.

In the film she introduced some of her pets, saying that she sometimes speaks to them about ‘the most unusual things’.

The 'animal communicator' said she regularly chats to her donkey, Thistle, (pictured together) about various crime dramas

The ‘animal communicator’ said she regularly chats to her donkey, Thistle, (pictured together) about various crime dramas

Conversations with Pets – Meet Faye Rogers who talks with animals

Dubbed Dr Dolittle by her friends, Ms Rogers also said she chats about American politics with her llamas

Dubbed Dr Dolittle by her friends, Ms Rogers also said she chats about American politics with her llamas

White patting and feeding her llamas, she said: ‘I do converse with my pets on a day-to-day basis.

‘I’ve had the lectures on American politics.’

She also gave an insight into the thoughts and feelings of her pet donkey, Thistle.

Opening the gate of his enclosure, she said: ‘Here’s my wonderful donkey.  Hey do you want to come out?

‘And she tells me, ‘ah of course am I stupid?”

‘She said it’s f****** about time you got here. Yeah, here we have a donkey that swears.’

Ms Rogers revealed that she often chatted with her donkey about crime shows.

‘With TV she’ll be outside the door watching it. Just from her point of view they’ve got to have a really good storyline, but strong characters to actually bring it together,’ she said.

‘It’s quite magical talking to animals because they are sharing their experiences with you. It’s giving you a perspective into their world.’

She claims that she can tune into animals’ thoughts to give owners an insight into their pets’ health and behaviour, much like a horse whisperer.

She claims that she can tune into animals' thoughts to give owners an insight into their pets' health and behaviour, much like a horse whisperer

She claims that she can tune into animals’ thoughts to give owners an insight into their pets’ health and behaviour, much like a horse whisperer

Ms Rogers was seen receiving a frantic Skype call from an American client about a lost kitten

Ms Rogers was seen receiving a frantic Skype call from an American client about a lost kitten

She said her 'gift' can, at times, get a little overwhelming because she sometimes feels bombarded by the thoughts of all the animals surrounding her

She said her ‘gift’ can, at times, get a little overwhelming because she sometimes feels bombarded by the thoughts of all the animals surrounding her

Ms Rogers, who refers to herself as a ‘healer, teacher and visionary’, is aware many people are skeptical, but says they become convinced after she provides personal information.

She started speaking to animals to help friends, but now charges up to $85-an-hour for ‘communication sessions’ and $40 for healing.

During the film Ms Rogers was seen receiving a frantic Skype call from an American client about a lost kitten.

She asks the tearful woman: ‘Tell me where you’ve looked. I will keep talking to her and see if we can get him to come out and show himself.’

Her client can be heard calling out the cat’s name, shouting: ‘Finn, Finn’.

Ms Rogers then wrote on her computer screen, claiming she was channelling the thoughts of the cat.

‘To communicate with any animal they don’t have to be present with me,’ she said.

The American woman was later seen Skyping Ms Rogers again to tell her that she had found her kitten.

She told Ms Rogers: ‘You’re wonderful with what you do, I feel more connected with the animals. It brings joy and it also brings a little sorrow and pain.

Ms Rogers looks after a pond of goldfish, a rabbit, budgies, a cat, guinea pigs, llamas, four dogs – including an Irish wolfhound called Emerald – a pet sheep called Beanie, and Thistle the donkey

Ms Rogers looks after a pond of goldfish, a rabbit, budgies, a cat, guinea pigs, llamas, four dogs – including an Irish wolfhound called Emerald – a pet sheep called Beanie, and Thistle the donkey

In the film she introduced some of her pets including her llamas, saying that she sometimes speaks to them about 'the most unusual things'

In the film she introduced some of her pets including her llamas, saying that she sometimes speaks to them about ‘the most unusual things’

Ms Rogers said animals have always been a 'big part of her life' and revealed that she became interested in breeding dogs in her teenage years

Ms Rogers said animals have always been a ‘big part of her life’ and revealed that she became interested in breeding dogs in her teenage years

‘I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have you.’

Ms Rogers said animals have always been a ‘big part of her life’ and revealed that she became interested in breeding dogs in her teenage years.

‘As a small child I would blurt out something that one of our family animals had shared or what the birds flying overhead were advising off,’ she said.

‘I remember a few childhood experiences when animals would be telling me things and I would tell my mum and she would say ‘animals don’t talk, that’s cartoons’.’

She described dogs and horses as ‘direct’ and birds as ‘busy and purposeful’ in an interview with stuff.co.nz.

And she revealed that cats play with mice because they are giving them respect and are ‘giving them a second chance or time to get away’.

Ms Rogers also said farmed animals are happy to be farmed as long as they are ‘treated well’.

via The Daily Mail

Short Kiwi docos packed with emotion

Stuff+logoI was stunned, delighted, knocked out. More importantly, I was moved. At one point I reluctantly tore myself away from the screen, dashing outside to haul in the washing during an afternoon sun-shower, but my cheeks were already wet before I made it out the door. A film called Gina had, in three short minutes, broken my heart.

Innovative local film project Loading Docs was tailor-made for a big sook like me. Here, in glorious hi-def video, are fellow New Zealanders telling stories packed with emotion. The catch? They have just three minutes to do so.

The concept is simple. Each year, ten teams of promising documentary makers are mentored while they make a short doco, with funding from the NZ Film Commission and NZ On Air. The filmmakers have to pitch, write and develop the story, shoot and edit it, and crowd-fund some of the money themselves. But most of all, they have to learn to cut to the chase.

These are docos that capture your attention, make a few strong points, then they’re gone. Thank you and good night. Roll credits. Their brevity is extraordinary, given their impact. It is like comparing the overheated waffle of this column with an elegant haiku. This is storytelling with all excess baggage stripped away, which is an inspiration to a long-winded soul like me.

“The project has a strong professional development focus,” says Julia Parnell, an award-winning doco maker who executive produces the series alongside AUT media academic Anna Jackson. “It makes filmmakers really hone down what they want to say. Three minutes is long enough to use innovative cinematic techniques and deliver a strong message, but short enough that people will watch them and pick up that message. That time constraint makes a filmmaker get straight to the heart of their story, and then later on, they can take what they’ve learned into making longer films.”

Read more

‘Wilbur Force’ Is A Touching Documentary About Pro-wrestling, Friendship, And Never Giving Up

logo-scriptWilbur Force was a former champ in the field of New Zealand pro-wrestling. But, as the saying goes, the higher you climb the further you have to fall. And, after a few glorious years at the top of the pro-wrestling food chain, Wilbur (real name William McDougall) found himself back in his hometown, unemployed, and out of shape.

That’s where we meet him in three minute documentary Wilbur Force, part of the Loading Docs series, which is directed by his friend and now life coach J.Ollie Lucks. Knowing he was down on his luck, Lucks seeks to get out of this rut and re-boot his career.

So he made this tragicomic offbeat tale, succinctly told in the three minutes it has, to help him do that.

Lucks says the film, along with motivating McDougall to get back to being the great entertainer he once was, is also about “Holding on to one’s best self and having a mate to remind you what your best self was.”

The good news? “The film did actually make him get off his ass.” says Lucks. “He will be wrestling again for the first time in three years, this August.”

via Smash

Tihei: The Kiwi Freestyle Rapper

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Loading Docs is a New-Zealand production company that helps nurture local talent. They work with filmmakers who aim to captivate audiences with stories strong enough to be told within three minutes.

At heart, this particular documentary is a story about the different ways we feel comfortable to communicate.

For Tihei it’s through freestyle rap. The moment he starts singing you can see his confidence rise. It’s incredible to believe he can string together the rhythm and rhymes on the spot.

But that’s just the surface of the story.

As you listen into what Tihei has to say, you become aware of the struggles he has faced and you can’t help but appreciate the beauty in the freedom of freestyle rap.

You can watch more from the guys at Loading Docs over here.

via The Huffington Post Australia