Frequently Asked Questions
I understand, I am camera shy too! We will take the time to get to know each other before we set up any equipment. I don't come with a large crew - just myself and maybe one assistant, who is also a genuinely kind person. We will make every effort to put you at ease.
What about people who are camera shy?
Do I have to come to your studio?
No, we come to you. I believe in filming people in their home environments for a more authentic portrait. This also helps put people at ease, and allows us to shoot additional scenes, such as activities and surroundings, that are relevant to you.
How will I know what stories to tell?
Where are you located?
Before we come, I will ask you to gather and look through meaningful photos, memorabilia, and any home movies you may have. This will help you come up with areas of your life to talk about. The first time we come, we will have a conversation to find out what is important to you to share. From that conversation, I will develop interview questions. I ask you not to rehearse the answers, though!
Our home base is in Boston, and we primarily serve the New England area. However, we are willing to travel further for many projects. Travel expenses outside of New England will be payed for by the client.
Why should I choose Personal Story Films?
How much does it cost?
Having worked for many years in broadcast news and documentaries, I have a high standard for every element of the production and the skills to make a professional product. Being an artist and musician allows me to bring my innate musical and artistic senses to the images, sound, and rhythms of every stage of the filmmaking process. Just as important, however, is creating a genuine, caring relationship. I quickly connect to and become interested in the families I work with. Kindness, respect, and professionalism are the biggest values I carry into my work and every interaction I have with others. I believe the process of making the film together should be meaningful and enjoyable for everyone. I bring all of my skills and talent to bear in making the finished film in a timely way, and can't tolerate doing less than my best. I honor the integrity of each human being and each story. I will work together with you to create a beautiful and authentic reflection of your story, values, and personality.
I try to keep rates reasonable. The cost of each documentary will vary according to the scale and length of the project. You can choose among our options as a starting point (Tapestry, Mosaic, Portrait, or Sketch – see the Options page). After that, we will refine the parameters to come up with a working plan that will inform our estimate. This estimate will be calculated based on the number of days of shooting and the projected hours we will spend editing. Our rates reflect high production values and the commitment to create a broadcast quality documentary. We do not simply shoot interviews in a studio and drop in photographs. We film people in their environments, including interviews, surroundings, and activities. During the editing, I will weave all the elements together with a professional touch. For more information about what goes on during the mysterious editing phase, click here.
I will strive to complete your film in a timely way. Much depends on the length and complexity you choose. The shooting may only take 1 -3 days, but the pre-editing and editing phases are much longer (Click here for more about editing). My best estimate is two months for a 30 minute documentary and four months for an hour-long documentary. This includes the opportunity for you to review a fine cut and suggest a few changes, which I will do my best to accommodate.