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Jed Riffe’s Advice for Aspiring Documentarians

Jed Riffe’s Advice for Aspiring Documentarians

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Jed Riffe is a producer, journalist, independent moviemaker and the man behind production cooperative Jed Riffe Films LLC. His latest effort, Ripe for Change, won the MovieMaker Ecocinema Award at the 2007 Wine Country Film Festival. The documentary, which emphasizes Riffe’s belief that changing the world begins with changing food politics, is part of the PBS series ”California and the American Dream.” After 25 years in the field, Riffe knows a thing or two about getting his point across on film. Here, he shares a bit of advice for documentarians aspiring to do the same.

1. It’s about perseverance, and having faith in your project. And it’s about being willing to get your project done by any means. (Well, maybe not any means, but almost any means necessary.)

2. Be a smart and creative fundraiser. You’ve got to be able to pay people to participate and contribute.

3. Take advantage of the current relatively inexpensive and available technology. These are the tools that we wanted [when I first started in this field].

4. Be creative about getting your film out there, whether that means storing short clips on your cell phone or setting up interactive kiosks playing sections of the movie. Clips from “California and the American Dream” are currently on public display at museums, conferences and Google headquarters.

5. Believe in the power of collaboration. You really have got to learn to work together if you want to be successful in this business.

For more on Riffe and his most recent documentary, Ripe for Change, pick up a copy of MovieMaker‘s Spring 2008 edition, or visit http://jedriffefilms.com.

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