This time, we hear from filmmaker Natalie Hull of Bend, Oregon. Natalie is a recent grad of the 5-week Filmmaking Workshop and has already turned the skills she learned into a full-time business. Her company, Forget Me Not Films, makes high-quality short films for families.
Unlike most home videos with shaky footage, bad lighting and poor sound, you will receive a studio-quality film that is filled from beginning to end with your highlight moments.
Using a wide variety of elements including professional camera equipment, on-location shots, archival photographs, carefully chosen music and – best of all – your own words and those of your children, we produce a one-of-kind documentary on DVD for you. Click to watch a sample.
Natalie took a break from shooting, editing and running a business to answer a few questions.
Which class did you take at SFSDF?
I took the summer documentary filmmaking workshop (Summer 2009)
I developed the idea for FMNF through my previous work as a researcher for a book about language and perception. Part of what I did was observe families. I took audio recordings and field notes while following people and analyzing family communication patterns. Eventually I got the idea to produce a companion documentary for the book. I started filming families and soon people started requesting copies of the footage.
I started wondering what I could do more commercially with that idea. It was fun to put short films together in a way that people hadn’t seen themselves before. It gives people a totally unique memory-keeping device. The custom films bring more meaning to families than I could have ever dreamed. It’s very fulfilling for me as a filmmaker.
What was the most important lesson you learned at SFSDF?
Before I attended the documentary filmmaking workshop at SFSDF, I had not realized the extent to which most documentary films are planned. My first inclination, as is the case for many young documentary filmmakers, was to shoot first and find the story later. There is a delicate balance between “scripting” a documentary film and allowing life to unfold as it happens. The most important lesson I learned at SFSDF was how to use the best of both aspects to create an artful, emotionally powerful, yet representative film.
Learning how to conceptualize a specific but flexible storyline for my films, and plan shots and interview questions accordingly, also dramatically streamlined my filmmaking process.
You are working on a documentary as well as FMNF, yes? Tell us about that.
Yes, I’m continuing my work on the long-term documentary film about how language shapes perception. I’m working with my mom, an independent researcher and writer, who has been developing this body of work for 25 years. It has taken time to craft her complex scientific ideas for a general audience. I’m delighted to join as a filmmaker on the project. It’s a real thrill to contribute the best elements of documentary filmmaking to her brilliant, original ideas: storytelling, visual imagery, animation, music and so on
The demand for the films we produce at Forget Me Not Films is certainly there, however, because each film is written, shot,and edited in a completely customized way, they take time to complete. Eventually, I would love to hire a full-time crew and team of editors to keep up with demand.
Natalie is already scoring valuable press coverage. She was highlighted in Cascade Arts and Entertainment Magazine, was reviewed in True North Magazine and was recently interviewed by Kristi Miller of COTV for her live morning show. We’ll have that clip soon!
Find out more information on FilmSchoolSF 5 Week Digital Filmmaking Workshop HERE