Documentary Plans

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One Documentary Idea

I am considering collaborating with a fellow PhillyCAM member (to whom I'll refer as "A" for now) on a documentary about a certain group of influential American musicians. I'm holding back on specifics until we decide whether and how to proceed, but here are some general thoughts for the benefit of A and a couple of friends.

Getting Started

A first described his idea to me in December 2011 in a discussion during a workshop at PhillyCAM and in a subsequent e-mail. We did not discuss further for several months, but exchanged several email messages in the fall of 2012 and met at PhillyCAM for some discussions (not preserved in video form).

What Next?

I would like to begin by planning to break off a small portion of the overall plan and agree on a timetable for accomplishing that portion, but defer until later a decision on how far to proceed. I'm thinking of focusing mainly on a single artist for this initial phase of the project.

Tie-In With Other Projects

I expect that there will be a lot of overlap between my music-related projects, and that some material originally recorded for Philly Soapbox or Call Me Old-Fashioned will be included in the documentary. Because of this overlap, I think that all of my resource usage at PhillyCAM at first might be assigned to the Philly Soapbox project, and that once I get around to scheduling regular shows, my resource usage for the next few months might be assigned to the Call Me Old-Fashioned project. Only after completing a beginning phase of the documentary to serve as a pilot, most likely, would I begin assigning resource usage to a documentary project.

Documenting the Planning Process

One approach I'd like to consider is to turn the camera on ourselves as we plan our documentary. I'd like to interview A about his interest in the topic. "Tell me about yourself, your family, where you are from, how you came by this interest and how it has grown." Then I would tell my own story, answering these same questions.


I'd like to interview someone in the Music Dept. at the Free Library of Philadelphia, preferably on camera, to discuss some of the questions we propose to research and plans to conduct further research on a day-trip or two to the Library of Congress.

The Legacy Lives On

I'd like to tell the story of this musical legacy largely through the stories and performances of artists and scholars in the Philadelphia area. I'd like to include not just covers of influential songs, but also related new songs. New words set to an old tune, for example.

Prospective Partners

I'd like to recruit a local musician I know (a longtime professional) to play and discuss certain songs and the artists who made them famous. I have several other friends in mind to fill that role, local musicians of the not-my-day-job variety in mind.

Edgar "All-Frets" Stanistreet

Another subject I'd love to cover in a documentary is the man who taught me how to play mandolin and guitar, the late Edgar Stanistreet.

My Timetable

I can imagine this project occupying us for a couple of years. Read about my commitment or lack thereof, and my Timetable.



This page was last modified January 30 2015 01:22:18


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