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Today on the show we have the Stock Footage Yoda James Forsher. James has nearly forty years of experience in producing, writing, and directing documentaries and television commercials. Forsher’s productions, ranging from half-hour shows to feature-length documentaries, have aired on the Discovery Channel, The Movie Channel, Cinemax, A & E, and PBS.

Forsher’s productions range from this year’s hour-long show Elvis and the Girl from Vienna back to his 1977 documentary Conrad Hilton: Insight into a Giant. Forsher has also taught film and video production at the college and university level for nearly two decades directed the broadcast program at California State University, East Bay, and has taught communication courses as a Fulbright Scholar in Europe.

His new book Stock Footage + Everything Under the Sun: Using Archival Material to Make Your Good Film Great is the bible of stock footage. It is the only book that gives an overview of the use of archival footage and how it played an expanding and crucial role in documentary and TV films. Readers learn how to research images and clear the rights.

Part One is an overview of archival footage, reviewing exactly what constitutes archival material and how it fits within the broader history of film and TV production. It also introduces the areas of research and legal parameters to the reader.

Part Two examines the variety of styles of entertainment programming that use archival footage, including separate sections on network magazine formats, cable reality shows, webisodes, PBS documentaries, feature-length documentaries, and how documentaries can sway public opinion. Each Part offers interviews with experts who give a realistic idea of how they’ve used stock footage in their own work.

Part Three covers Visual Literacy 101, a short course on how to “read” a film. By looking at only a few seconds of footage, one can deduce some very important facts about the film. This part makes a detective out of any researcher or editor who is determined to find the most authentic setting and context for their film.

Part Four discusses how to use archival footage, writing a script that includes archival material, editing archival material, negotiating rights and budgeting constraints.
If you ever wanted to know how to get, use or sell stock and archival footage for your film get ready to take notes.

Enjoy my conversation with James Forsher.

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