Documentary films have soared in popularity since Michael Moore's Roger & Me released in 1989. In a way, it almost seems simple; pick up a camera and start shooing something interesting. But as a documentary filmmaker, one has distinct responsibilities as a storyteller. The filmmaker must make decisions about style, what to leave in and take out, the voice (or lack thereof) of the filmmaker and thousands of other choices that will take place up until the time that the film is complete. In Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me (2004), he set out to explore the topic of the healthiness of McDonald's food, especially if eaten three times a day for 30 days. In this case, Spurlock made himself the center of the story by subjecting himself to the diet and documenting the results.
In this podcast, filmmaker and professor (Tribeca Flashpoint College) Bill Baykan talks about his documentary film, Public School Wars which is in the process of raising finishing funds on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo. His film will explore the ideas and arguments around charter schools, Common Core, and what this all means for public education in the U.S. At the time of our conversation Bill is still developing his film and weighing different approaches based on the hundreds of hours of film he has already captured and considering what other elements he might need to produce a film that adds something insightful, new, and valuable to the conversation about education in this country.
Prior to our discussion about his film we cover a range of topics from "cutting the cord", filmmaking as a career in the digital age, UCLA, and his time at Harpo Studios as a Supervising Editor.
Bill's passion about his work, teaching, and this film is evident throughout the podcast. It is getting the chance to meet and talk at length with people like Bill that continues to inspire me to pursue my own projects and consider my place in the world as a storyteller. I hope this episode does the same for you.