Reminder: Becoming One Family Interview Tonight at 7pm

Just wanted to send out a quick reminder that tonight’s interview with my mother and older sister Eva is tonight at 7pm. You can watch by clicking on the link below.

Watch live:

You don’t need any special programs. If you can watch a video from YouTube, you can watch the interview. I will be broadcasting starting around 5pm as I setup for the interview. If you are around come hang out.

Hope to see you tonight!

Finding a Tribe: Why Do You Like Our Story?

The State of Marketing

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors and marketers. He really understands the state of marketing in today’s world. If you aren’t familiar with his work then I highly recommend you check out some of his books.

His basic theory is, marketing is about finding a group or tribe of people that share the same world view, and doing stuff for them. This could be helping them connect or introducing them to something new to talk about.

Building a Movement

I recently listened to a talk he gave about the new dynamics of publishing. It’s a great program and only 40 minutes long. I highly recommend you take a listen even if you are not in the publishing industry. I think these rules apply across industries.

In the speech, he talks about finding a tribe and building a movement. This is so important because it’s not about you the author, film maker, or company. It’s all about the tribe.

I’ve been talking with John about this very idea. The one thing we’re still trying to figure out is who the audience is for our documentary and who’s in the tribe?

Who’s In the Tribe?

I realize this story is about me and my family, but it can be so much more than that. It touches on so many aspects of the human condition and is too important to be just about us. There is so much that people can learn about life and each other from what we have been through.

One could say that the tribe is adoptees or people who have been touched by adoption. It could also be people who care about human rights issues. It could be people who are interested in history or family. It is really hard to narrow down but I know that I must narrow it down. A tribe has to have insiders and outsiders.

Why Do You Like Our Story?

As people who are part of the Fan page or reading this blog I’m wondering why do you like it? What do you get out of our story and how can we help you?

Philip Bloom(@philipbloom) Workshop Recap

Philip Bloom's Equipment
This past weekend I attended a workshop taught by Philip Bloom. It was hosted by The Boston Final Cut User Group and Rule Boston. The workshop was 7 hours packed full of information about how to use digital SLRs for film making. Being new to shooting with DSLRs, it was very helpful.

I want to share with you some of my take aways from the event. There was a lot of information covered so I’m only going to share what is relevant to a documentary film, like the one I am working on.


The two cameras we talked the most about were the Canon T2i, 7D and 5D Mark II. While there are a couple more cameras that are capable of doing full HD video, these three have the most options.

The main difference between the cameras is in image. This has to do with the size of the sensor used to record the images. The T2i and 7D use the same size sensor and produce a similar image. The 5D uses a full frame sensor that produces an athletic image like no other video camera. To see an example of this camera in action check out this year’s season finale of House.

The 7D does seem to have some more advantages over the 5D and that is probably the camera we will end up getting. Unless you love the look of the 5D, then the 7D should work just fine. I asked him if one was better for interviews and he said either one worked great.


Philip stressed that lenses are the biggest investment. Ideally you want a lens that will work on both the 7D and 5D. Since the sensors are different sizes, the optics change for each lens. I’m still trying to understand this myself but it’s something to research if you are going this route.

For interviewers he recommended the Canon EF 70-200mm because it’s light and works with both cameras. It’s very challenging to keep the camera still when shooting, so image stabilization is a must.


You will want to shoot in a very flat color. Turn the contrast and saturation all the way down. This will prevent loss of detail in the image and make it easier to color match the video in post production. A simple solution for color matching is Magic Bullet software. You can easily create a style for your film by draging and dropping effects onto your video.

If you are going shoot with moving subjects, you will need some extra equipment. It’s nearly impossible to get a stable image without it. Zacuto has a number of products for DSLR cameras that will make it easier to keep the camera still. One piece of equipment that was recommended by someone other than Philip was the LCD ViewFinder. It’s nicer the Zacuto version because it attaches by a small magnet stuck to the camera.


The take away here is DO NOT use the camera as your main source of audio. You can use it for reference audio but the quality is not good and there is no way to monitor it. You want to use an external recorder to capture the sounds and then sync the audio in post production. You can use PluralEyes software to easily match up the audio and video. It is so easy Philip was even able to give us a live demo and it worked perfectly.

For a recorder he recommends the Tascam DR100 over the Zoom H series. The main reason being that the Zoom recorders have problems closing files. You could lose an entire interview if you run out of power. The Tascam uses a rechargeable battery and two AA for backup. It also does not have the file closing issue.

Big Take Away

The biggest take away from the workshop was that Philip is basically a one man film crew. With these cameras he can create stunning imagery without all the equipment you would traditionally need.

This is great news for John and I because this is exactly the situation we are in. We want to create something that looks great without breaking the bank.

After this workshop I am excited about the possibilities and can’t wait to get started. I want to thank Philip and everyone else who made the event possible. It was just what I needed to put my project in perspective.

Becoming One Family: An Interview You Don’t Want to Miss

I’m very excited to announce the first interview for the yet to be titled documentary I’m working on. The interview is going to be about becoming one family. It will take place Saturday July 31st and we will be broadcasting the interview live so you can be part of the filming.

One question I get a lot is: What was it like for your families when you were reunited? It’s difficult to say because it was an emotional time for everyone. We were people from two completely different backgrounds thrown together by chance. Our own real connection was through me and I was only 16.

While I never felt hostility between my two families, it was obviously hard for all of us. My adoptive family now had to share me with a whole group of people. My birth family had just found a long lost relative and wanted to get to know me. Thanks to a lot of hard work and understanding by both families, we slowly became one family.

At the end of July my older sister Eva will be visiting us and I thought it would be a great time to address this subject. Eva, my mother Margaret, and I will be sitting down to share our thoughts and experiences about this interesting time.

We would love it if you would join us for this exciting discussion. We will also be taking your questions. Since this is being filmed for the documentary, there is a chance your question could make it into the film! You can RSVP for the event on Facebook or Eventbrite in case you’re not on Facebook.

On the Cutting Edge: Digital Still Cameras for Film, Part 4

My new Canon T2i

In part 3 I talked about the drawbacks to using digital still cameras for film. In this part I’ll be talking about the equipment we are looking at.

Picking the Right Camera

We are looking at a number of the Canon’s high end still cameras, specifically the Canon T2i, 7D and 5D. Each of these cameras are capable of taking full 1080p HD video. Thats a technical way of saying they take video at the highest video quality commonly used. While there are other brands that are able to take high definition video, Canon cameras are more widely used for film projects.

Earlier this week I bought the Canon T2i. We probably will not be using this as our primary camera. There are some issues with focusing when using external equipment that would make it hard to use during the interviews. We would not want to do an entire interview only to find out later the focus was off.

The body is smaller than other cameras. This means it’s not as durable and it may not work with bigger lenses. I am getting this for more of a personal camera. It may also be used to film some “B role” material for the doc.

For our main camera we are looking at the 7D or 5D. These are the cameras most widely used for filming. They do not have the focusing issues of the T2i and have other additional features.

There are also rumors that Canon will be announcing a new camera geared more towards video in the coming weeks. It could have a rotating display among other advanced video features. Since we are not in a rush to make this movie there is a chance a newer camera will be exactly what we are looking for.

Learning the Equipment

In order to better understand how to shoot with these cameras I am attending an all day workshop with Philip Booom taking place this Saturday. I mentioned Philp Bloom in part 2 when I posted a video he did using these cameras. I’m very excited to be learning from the best. I think it will be a good experience and it will cover everything from what lenses we should use to editing.

Why I Want to Speak at #140conf and How You Can Help

About #140conf

The other week I went out to the #140conf Boston TweetUp. For those of you not in the know, a TweetUp is a networking event for people on Twitter. This event was all about the #140 Character Conference taking place September 14th in Boston. Being a pretty heavy twitter user, I had heard about #140conf before but I wasn’t exactly sure what it was about. Thankfully, the founder of #140conf Jeff Pulver was there to enlighten us.

He described it as a conference about the real time web, but also a platform for people doing interesting things to shine. Jeff tries to get celebrities and other big names to speak at the conferences to build an audience, then opens it up to lesser known people to speak. There are individual talks which last no more than 10 minutes and group talks that are no more than 20 minutes. The idea is to have lots of different people present a wide range of ideas.

My Pitch

Of course this sounded like a great opportunity for me to talk about the documentary project I am working on. I promptly wrote up a proposal to speak. Below is the proposal I submitted. Let me know what you think.

I would like talk about my family’s incredible story and how the real time web is helping us share our story.

This past December I sat down with my family in Central America to interview them about the past 12 years since we were reunited. We used ustream to broadcast the event to our friends and family. It was an interesting experience for some family members who had never heard or seen my father speak about what happened during the war.

From that first interview I started doing more interviews with other family members about different aspects of the story. My goal is not only to share our story with the world, but to make a documentary from it.

The internet has always played a big role in my life and in reconnecting with my birth family. In 1997 our home number was found by doing an internet search. Over the past 12 years we’ve used AIM, Skype, Facebook and many other programs to keep in touch.

I’m fascinated with the power of the web to connect people and share information. The #140conf seems like it is a celebration of this idea. It would be an honor to be able to share our story with a group of like minded people.

How You Can Help

Jeff was big on saying he wants people to tell him who should be speaking at the confrence. If you think I would make a good speaker at #140conf and you are on Twitter you can drop Jeff(@jeffpulver) a line. Please don’t spam him but you could say something as simple as:

I would like to hear @dewittn speak about #anasmiracle at #140conf

Every little bit helps!