About this project
What can you learn from the world's best documentary filmmakers?
In TELL ME SOMETHING, we've asked fifty filmmakers we admire, from veterans to up-and-comers, for one piece of advice. Then we took their picture. The resulting book is an art project, a creative manual, and an inspiration generator.
Edited by New York filmmaker Jessica Edwards, TELL ME SOMETHING is a clothbound, hardcover book with full-color photographs taken by esteemed photographers from around the world. Legendary directors like Albert Maysles, DA Pennebaker, Frederick Wiseman and Barbara Kopple, and renegades like Morgan Spurlock, James Marsh, Sam Green, Margaret Brown, and Gary Hustwit deliver advice on everything from career development to personal relationships to risk taking to fashion choices. They even throw in some filmmaking advice too!
Why do documentary filmmakers give such good advice?
Doc makers are a rare breed, they're creative, persistent, they're master storytellers and each film they make is like a graduate degree in their chosen subject. Some of them have spent over 60 years making films, and along they way they've learned a lot about how to balance life and art. They've got insightful advice for people in any creative field, like so:
Who will be in this book?
We have a great list of filmmakers already signed on to participate, and we're adding more every day. They've won Oscars, Emmys, and every type of filmmaking award out there, topped box office charts and travelled the world to make their films.
Some of the folks already on board are: Michael Apted, Jennifer Baichwal, Amir Bar-Lev, Alan Berliner, Doug Block, Margaret Brown, Yung Chang, Marshall Curry, John Dower, Sandi Simcha DuBowski, Heidi Ewing & Rachel Grady, Negin Farsad, Liz Garbus, Alex Gibney, Sam Green, Davis Guggenheim, Judith Helfand, Gary Hustwit, Steve James, Ross Kauffman, Barbara Kopple, Kim Longinatto, James Marsh, Albert Maysles, Brett Morgen, Stanley Nelson, D.A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Doug Pray, AJ Schnack, Morgan Spurlock, Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern, James Swirsky & Lisanne Pajot, Lucy Walker, Eva Weber and Frederick Wiseman.
Don't see your favorite doc-maker? Don't worry, we'll be announcing more filmmakers over the next month throughout the Kickstarter campaign!
We've teamed up with award-winning graphic designer Philipp Hubert who will realize the book design with us, which will be a 128 page, high-quality clothbound hardcover. And we've commissioned photographers from around the world to take original portraits of each of the filmmakers. Thom Powers will be writing a foreword for TELL ME SOMETHING. Powers is a documentary maverick working as a filmmaker, programmer, teacher and festival director. We are so inspired by the dedication and passion he has for documentary in all its forms.
Backing at the $40 level gets you a hardcover copy of TELL ME SOMETHING, plus an ebook version formatted for iPad, Kindle, and other devices.
We've also got some special rewards packages that include signed books and DVDs, limited edition photographs of the filmmakers, and invites to the launch party with filmmakers in New York City. The Albert Maysles and Gary Hustwit Super Bundles have sold out, but we've just added a new DA Pennebaker / Chris Hegedus Super Bundle, see the rewards list for details.
The money we raise through Kickstarter will go towards completing the portraits of the filmmakers, and designing and printing the book. Our dream is to expand TELL ME SOMETHING into a whole series of advice books, where we'll ask chefs, architects, fashion designers and other creative professionals for their advice. You can help Kickstart this series by backing our first volume!
We hope you will take the journey to help us finish TELL ME SOMETHING. We've got some great rewards for you to choose from and we'll have some surprises to come.
Thanks for your support!
Special thanks to our friend Amir Husak for the music in the video!
Update: We've made our initial funding goal! THANK YOU to all our backers for supporting TELL ME SOMETHING!
We'll use any additional money raised to add more filmmakers to the book, print more copies, and give some special gifts to our backers. If we make it to $25K we'll add five more documentary filmmakers to the book. And if we make it to $30K, everyone who's pledged at the $35 dollar level and above will get a limited-edition notebook. The notebook will be a companion to the book and a way to record your own day-to-day inspirations.
I hope you'll be inspired to back the project or upgrade your pledge so we can meet the new goals! - Jessica
Risks and challenges
We're printing several thousand beautiful books that will hopefully help you deal with your own risks and challenges! Our only challenge is raising the funds and overseeing the design and print production to the highest possible standard, we want these books to be really special.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
Support this project
- (30 days)