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    My Wonder Woman costume fail

    I tried to make a homemade Wonder Woman costume for Halloween 2016.

    It was an epic failure. Here’s what I learned in the process.

    Background: My Love for Costumes

    There are a lot of people who are really great at making costumes.

    Sadly, I’m not one of them. Mad respect to the cosplay crowd, though.

    This costume is so well done! Jealous. (Source.)

    There are some seriously talented people making cool things to wear. I’m jealous of their skills, and totally want to hire them.

    My love for making costumes come naturally, I’m proud to say.

    My parents handmade my own costumes for Halloween when I was a kid. One year I was a butterfly with my mom’s help, and another year I was a trash can (made so that I crouch down and hide for fun). Plus, I spent a lot of time dancing and acting as a kid.

    My parents helped us with handmade costumes at Halloween. This is a photo of the butterfly costumes my mom made out of felt.

    Among groups of friends in college, my girls and I were known for our fierce dedication to Halloween and the chance to dress up. Two of the favorite costumes I made were Rainbow Brite for an 80’s themed year, and the Cheshire Cat for an Alice in Wonderland themed group outing one year.

    They were so much fun to make! Btw, we had to make most of our costumes then since they weren’t for sale anywhere. Now you can find both of those online, although I’ve only seen them in the “sexy” versions. (Don’t get me started.)

    So, yeah, there have been a lot of costumes in my life.

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    TriFilm Society Summer Social on 6/22

    There’s a TriFilm quarterly social tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to it.

    The summer social will be in Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday, June 22nd, from 5:30 – 7:30 PM. You can get all of the details, including tickets to attend, on the TriFilm blog: Membership registration is open, too, so you can join and then attend the social for free as an official member of the TriFilm Society.

    Or you can register for tickets directly here:

    TriFilm Society quarterly socials happen once per season in the spring, summer, winter, and fall. So this is our summer social. The next one will be in the fall.

    Since 2009, I’ve been organizing these socials as a way to connect the film and video makers in the Triangle with people who want to meet them.

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    Tips for practicing self care

    “Self care” is something I hear a lot about these days.

    It’s kind of wild. We’re so desperately in need of tending to our health and wellness that a label like self care even exists.

    Then again, when you watch the news or refresh your feed, the onslaught of negativity can be overwhelming. In 2017, I’ve noticed that the people around me (friends, family, strangers in public, drivers on the road, etc.) are pretty tightly wound. Anxiety, fear, and passionate political rants seem like they’re on the upswing.

    These are interesting times; I’m still trying to find a balance.

    I know this much: I want to live an intentional, satisfying life that somehow makes the world a better place. That’s hard to do when I’m cranky, tired, and stressed out.

    It’s got me thinking about the self care practices I embraced over the past few years, following a season of major life adjustments and stress that left me 30 pounds heavier. Now, many self care practices a part of my daily life. I’m so incredibly grateful for it.

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    Craft beer on the Amalfi Coast

    I’ve gotten spoiled.

    I’m not afraid to admit that.

    Here in North Carolina, there’s an abundance of amazing craft beer. My palette has completely changed since I started drinking craft beer, experimenting with different flavors, speaking with brewers, and making Brewconomy.

    Years ago, I used to like only lighter beers with specific flavor profiles; now, I’ll try just about anything. The beers I drink now have such a depth of flavor. They’re so delicious.

    My palette isn’t the only thing that has changed since we started talking about making Brewconomy in 2011.

    At that time, there were about 60 craft breweries registered in North Carolina and now there are nearly 200. Demand for craft beer is growing rapidly, consumers are more educated about it, and the big brewers know that they much change to keep up with the market. (I could study this and talk about it all day.)

    Behind the scenes on Brewconomy, a documentary about NC craft beer.

    More evidence of the worldwide appreciation for craft beer was found in Positano, Italy, while on a recent family vacation. (I wrote a little about the vacation here and here.)

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    Questions from readers about making movies – Part 2

    Why do I take questions?

    I get requests from fellow filmmakers pretty frequently.

    People invite me to lunch, drinks, or coffee often to “pick my brain” about what I’ve learned in the 10 years of making movies. But … it’s tough to accommodate everyone. It’s even more impossible to distill all that I’ve learned into one short meeting.

    That’s why I blog and it’s why I formed the TriFilm Society. (Read more about starting TriFilm here.) It’s my sincerest hope that I can help as many filmmakers as I can. So I’m always looking for ways to do that more efficiently.

    The TriFilm Society Fall Social was held at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in 2016.

    When I started making movies, I had nothing but my blind ambition and iron will. There were many, many mistakes and failures along the way. A lot of people were kind enough to help me out, so I want to pay it forward.

    Sharing those experiences not only helps other filmmakers, it helps great stories get made / shared. My theory is that (in some small way), these things could help make the world a better place one small step at a time.

    So, without further, ado, enjoy these Q&As from Nick!

    Did you miss part one? You’ll find those Q&As here.

    Q: Do I need people to sign a waiver if they are interviewed for my documentary?

    Yes, you should have a release form signed by every person you interview on camera. Do some googling and you’ll find a lot of resources, thoughts, and opinions on the matter. Seek legal counsel about what, exactly, you’ll need for your film in your region.

    Shuffling release forms on the set of Brewconomy in 2013.

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    What’s in a name?

    Naming things can be a challenge.

    A name becomes such a part of our identity. It’s spoken, written, and often becomes symbolic of our character. Or what we do for a living.

    My Name

    At a cinematography workshop, a filmmaker asked me if my name was real. I chuckled at the absurdity of his question, until I realized he was serious.

    “Camden Watts sounds like a stage name you made up. It’s too perfect,” he elaborated. The guy went on to talk about the significance of each word, and how it played perfectly into filmmaking. I’m a little embarrassed that I’d honestly never made those connections.

    No, my name isn’t a fake / stage name. But, thanks for the compliment?

    Whether it sounds made up or not, for all film-related activities, I keep using my maiden name: Camden Watts. I got married a few years ago but my maiden name has been tied to all of my artistic / creative endeavors for so long that it feels weird to change it.

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    Questions from readers about making movies – Part 1

    It’s always a pleasure to hear from readers!

    I’ve been blogging about filmmaking for 10 years and, seriously, hearing from people who found helpful info here is really fun. That’s why I encourage your comments, tweets, and questions!

    Today I have a few questions from a fellow filmmaker, Zak, who’s presently navigating the waters of documentary film.

    He asked to pick my brain in person – a comment request from folks these days, which is increasingly tough to accommodate – but I thought y’all may have some similar questions. So I asked if we could share our conversation publicly here on the blog.

    Let’s go!

    Who do you think are the most important people to know when promoting a documentary?

    There are a lot of people who help make and share movies.

    Maintaining and building those long-lasting relationships are a high priority for me. I sincerely hope to build authentic relationships that are mutually beneficial every step of the way.

    That being said, in relation to promoting a film, I think it’s incredibly satisfying to build a long-lasting relationship with my audiences. There will be different target audiences for each movie I make, of course, but I hope to have a core audience that’s always eager to see what I do next. I’m constantly thinking about how I can cater to those people and make them feel special because I appreciate their support and encouragement so much.

    The more resources I have on upcoming films, the more fun stuff I can do for our audiences. I daydream about this kind of thing!

    Understanding your target audience on an intimate level is really helpful when the time comes to share your finished film.

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