Left Coast Press, a nationally renowned California publishing company, has released their new book, Documentary Filmmaking for Archaeologists, written by two New York documentarians, Peter Pepe and Joseph W. Zarzynski.
Peter Pepe, President of Pepe Productions, a Glens Falls video production company, and Joseph W. Zarzynski, a Wilton-based underwater archaeologist and author, teamed up to write the book. Previously, Pepe and Zarzynski collaborated on producing three feature-length award-winning documentaries about historic shipwrecks as well as creating several “mini-docs” for screening in museums, art galleries, and visitor centers.
Two of their documentaries were about French & Indian War (1755-1763) shipwrecks in Lake George, New York and the third video production was about a Confederate privateer shipwreck lost off St. Augustine, Florida in 1861. Pepe and Zarzynski have likewise taught several documentary filmmaking workshops at archaeology conferences around the country. The pair used their talents and experience to write a book for archaeologists and other social scientists on the step-by-step process of making a documentary so that these scientists are better prepared to work with professional documentary filmmakers. Many accounts told by Pepe and Zarzynski in their book cite interesting anecdotes from the making of their documentaries: “The Lost Radeau: North America’s Oldest Intact Warship” (2005), “Wooden Bones: The Sunken Fleet of 1758” (2010), and “Search for the Jefferson Davis: Trader, Slaver, Raider” (2011).
Peter Pepe has over three decades experience in corporate and documentary video production. Joseph W. Zarzynski directed Bateaux Below, the group of volunteer divers that from 1987 to 2011 studied Lake George’s historic shipwrecks. The book is Pepe’s first and it is Zarzynski’s fifth book.
The authors offer a step-by-step description of the process of making a documentary, everything from initial pitches to production companies to final cuts in the editing. Using examples from their own award-winning documentaries, they focus on the needs of the archaeologist: Where do you fit in the project? What is expected of you? How can you help your documentarian partner? The authors provide guidance on finding funding, establishing budgets, writing scripts, interviewing, and numerous other tasks required to produce and distribute a film. Whether you intend to sell a special to National Geographic or churn out a brief clip to run at the local museum, read this book before you start.
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