Beyond Democracy Update – March 3rd, 2014

I’ve finished the final version of my video. I have produced a 29 minute DVD called ‘Sociocracy – An Introduction’ which has, wait for it… …subtitles in English, Dutch, French, and German! David Berrian of Raven Productions in Seattle did the original English subtitles and got me rolling on this final version, which also has menus, which I’d never done before. You can get a copy of it at my home page.

I’ve also been doing a video blog about sociocracy. I call this 8-vlog series ‘Beyond Democracy’. They all appear on the same page at the Transition Charlottesville Albemarle site at . My next series of video blogs will be about how we can possibly start to use sociocracy in the political realm here in my little Charlottesville, Virginia. I call that series ‘From Democracy to Sociocracy.’

Finally, last and least, I made my video available on Dynamo player for a few months until they went out of business. My total earnings were $27.92!

Beyond Democracy Update – October 4th, 2012

I have finally figured out how to sell my video directly online. I use a service called Dynamo Player. Anyone can watch the video, as many times as they want for a month, for $5, or you can purchase a DVD for $15. It would be wonderful, if you’d like to see it, if you would go to my home page and watch the latest version.

Also, if you have a web site related to sociocracy, could you add the code that allows someone to watch the video at your site. I’m posting the necessary code at the end of this message. There is code for the trailer and for the video window to appear.

I’m still working on a French and a German version, but adding subtitles is going slowly. Sorry about that.

Here are the three lines of code that you can put in your website to make this video available to your website visitors:

A bracket goes here. It looks like the one after the JEoM, except backwards –
Watch it now for only $4.99.
A start tag bracket goes here. It’s two lines touching on the left so that it looks a bit like an arrow facing left -
iframe width=’640′ height=’360′ src=’’ >
Another start tag bracket goes here.

If I actually put the brackets in, the code won’t display on the page, the trailer and the player will appear!

Thanks a lot for any help you can give!


Beyond Democracy Update – October 17th, 2011

Wow! It’s been a long time since I updated. I was actually much busier with this project this last year than I was before my last update. I hope everyone’s been well. I have been. Here is some of what happened.

Earlier this year, I was hired to do three 5-minute testimonials called ‘DG for Businesses’, ‘DG for Schools’, and ‘DG for Healthcare Organizations’. Sheella Mierson arranged an interview and videotaping, and for members of an online DG group she’s part of, to contribute and pay me and the videographer. Thanks Sheella!

A videographer in Asheville did the interview for me and I added that in, plus some titles cards and a couple graphics to help explain everything better. The interview I got was very good. Rene Owens, the executive director of Rainbow Mountain Children’s School in Asheville, is well spoken and totally smitten with DG. She went right into my 26-minute video and now it’s 28:12. I am basically declaring this version of it finished.

Right now I have arranged for it to be translated into French, German, and Dutch. I don’t look forward to cutting and pasting words into almost every second of the video, but I feel committed to doing it. I have some French already translated and I’ve started pasting words in. It took about an hour to do 5 minutes.

I’ve been selling 20- and 30-minute DVDs and have sent most domestically, but I’ve mailed quite a few to Europe and Australia. I even sent one to Africa.

Now I am offering the “final” version of ‘Intro to DG’ on my website. It’s 28:12 long.


Beyond Democracy Update – September 1st, 2010

I’ve finished a 40-minute video! I put a trailer here. I’m now working on a 20-minute version. I’ve started working on a piece about CMR, Charlottesville Medical Research, adopting DG and the struggles they had.


Beyond Democracy Update – July 1st, 2010

On Saturday, June 12th, 2010 at 9 am I left home to board a flight to Washington, D.C., then San Fransisco, Vancouver, and, finally, arrived in Whitehorse in the Yukon, Canada at 3:15 am Virginia time. It was just after midnight there and the sky was still pretty bright. In fact, in Vancouver it was getting dark and after I left around 9:30 it just kept getting brighter and brighter.

I stayed with Jean-Marc Perreault, three other adults, two dogs, and sometimes two kids…plus four other guests. The house was big enough for it to be comfortable and there was a nice fire circle in the back yard. The first night J-M served moose burgers and then there was moose ribs for the next few nights. Of all those people I was the only vegetarian and luckily could scrounge various things up.

The conference mostly took place in two rooms of Yukon College. There were about 50 people when the whole group was together. To start it off the president of YC spoke and then we watched my video! Unfortunately, the aspect ratio was off. The picture was narrower, but we decided to forge ahead and watch it. People were positive. Especially Annewiek and Gerard, who are two people I would have wanted to please so that was very good. John Buck said that, especially more towards the end, there were places that had emotional impact. I had felt that myself, but didn’t know if others felt the same way in the same places.

I got good feedback from people over the next three days and, on our return flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver John and Ramona and I watched it again and I wrote down changes which have shortened it to about 40 minutes. That version will be available around the 7th. I have also started to cut it down to 20 minutes or less, but that’s going slowly. There’s just too much good stuff I don’t want to cut out.

The conference went well. It was encouraging to see so many people who are starting to use DG in Canada in places like Regina (Saskatchewan), and Montreal, and in the U.S. in Oklahoma, and in chapters all over the U.S. (the U.S. Green Building Council, where internal consultants are called “gardeners”). There was also a Yukon Green party candidate who spoke eloquently about using DG in his party. I met consultants in training from Portland, Oregon, Denver, Regina, and other places.

The first day of the conference we had a fire circle at J-M’s house. I played guitar and sang while folks talked and played Boulles. It’s a little strange to have a fire when it’s not dark at all. It’s also a little strange to be hanging out, feel sleepy, see how bright it is outside, look at the clock and see it’s 11:00 pm. But fun – lots of fun!

After I flew back to Virginia, I edited the video down to 40 minutes when, suddenly, we had a brief, but very intense storm that cut our electricity for a day. Trees and power lines are down all over the city. It looks like a hurricane came through. Many parts of the city are still without power. It happened around 5pm and the rest of the evening there were constant sirens. Huge trees are uprooted, snapped in two, power line poles hanging over roads, debris everywhere, busy roads detoured around. It’s really incredible what 20 minutes worth of wind can do.

Today is my 47th birthday and I got to play with my son at the nearby pool, and we’re going out with my narrator and girlfriend, Wendy Jo to dinner and a movie later.


Beyond Democracy Update – June 9th, 2010

After taking a year off from my video project, I picked up the pieces again in December. I transcribed the last few tapes, captured into the computer what I thought would be useful, and edited those into clips. I put some together and cut it down to 90 minutes. I spent two days cutting that down to under 45 minutes. I added titles and cut again. I got feedback, cut more, added narration a la my girlfriend Wendy Jo’s wonderful speaking voice, added music, and polished it ’til I could save it as one finished QuickTime file. Then I compressed it and put it on a DVD.

I will show it next Monday, in the morning of the first day of the first North American Sociocracy conference called ‘The River Flows Both Ways,’ on June 14 – 16, 2010 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.

The Network for Sociocracy will put it online and charge a small fee for me, but I’ll know more about that when I’m back from the Yukon.

I leave Saturday at 9:00 am and get into Whitehorse at 3:00 am Virginia time. Phwew!I’ll be glad when that’s over!


Beyond Democracy Update – April 2nd, 2010

It’s been six months since I posted an update. I basically took a year off when I started having financial challenges even though I kept posting updates for another half year. Things are going better now.

I have a deadline to finish a 45-minute video for the first North American Sociocracy conference called ‘The River Flows Both Ways,’ on June 14 – 16, 2010 in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. That gives me just about ten weeks.

To that end, in December, I transcribed my last 6 tapes, out of 35, one-hour tapes. Before that I had captured bits and pieces here and there. After transcribing, I went through all 35 tapes and captured everything that was possibly usable. The transcribing and capturing were both big tasks and I just finished the capturing today! Woohoo!! Now all I have to do is edit something intelligible from all the talking. Then maybe I’ll add narration and title cards. I’ll probably start posting clips online before that.

Then my goal will be to attract a producer with experience. This is the most important development in human history. It teaches us our relationship to power and how we give it away. It shows us how to forge real freedom and exactly what the responsibility associated with that is. How hard could it be to find a producer, considering how important this is?

Know any producers looking for their next project?


Beyond Democracy Update – October 13th, 2009

Between my job and my class I haven’t made time to retape the ‘What is DG?’ clip that I’ve done twice now.

On October 4th I gave an introduction to friends starting two businesses. It’s was fun and rewarding and makes me want to get this information out to many more people.


Beyond Democracy Update – September 14th, 2009

I got a job! I move produce at a place called Horse & Buggy. It’s hard work, but I like the people. Getting used to it has taken time.

In early October I’m going to give an introduction to friends starting two businesses. It’s been rewarding going through old handout materials that I haven’t seen in awhile.

The latest video clip I made needs reshooting. It was fun to make, edit, and watch, and then rewrite, but it will be next month before I shoot it. I’m going to learn the words over the next weeks, dress up a little, and use a nice office and lights.


Beyond Democracy Update – August 5th, 2009

July has been full of looking for work or traveling.

Last weekend Wendy and I went to the Eastern Conference for Workplace Democracy. These are worker-owners and co-op businesspeople. I had the good fortune to meet Francis Moore Lappé before she gave her keynote address and tell her about DG. I later gave her a copy of John and Sharon’s book.

I also made a handout of an outline explaining the basics of DG. I’m going to use the outline as the script for my short videoclip about DG for YouTube.


Beyond Democracy Update – July 2nd, 2009

Rob Wolman and I taped me talking about DG. This was a practice run. For the real thing I’ll memorize more and speak faster and, generally, work on being an entertaining presenter. We’ll also plan out our camera placements and movements.

I had written a document that we have now edited and reduced in length. My plan is split it in two: 1) What kind of a thing DG is (an organizational method) since people have a hard time wrapping their brain around that, and 2) How it works. Then we’ll add interview clips I’ve made, and end up with two less-than-five-minute clips that we’ll post to YouTube.

Also, I’m on facebook now with a vengeance. When I post the clips, I’ll announce it there first.


Beyond Democracy Update – June 3rd, 2009

I’m still waiting for friends to give me their feedback on my 2 ½ page paper called ‘What is DSG?‘ Then I will turn that into a 5 minute video clip and put it online.

I started transcribing the last of my six interview tapes (one hour each) that I recorded last year and earlier this year.

I’ll be getting paid to make another how-to video at This one is about homebrewing. I’m looking forward to that. Otherwise, I am looking for work!

Beyond Democracy Update – May 7th, 2009

I’ve been working full time for the Bureau of the Census. It’s very interesting to see, especially out in the country, where and how everyone lives. Sometimes I’ve taken long gravel driveways up mountains to where someone has a gorgeous view from their front door or second floor deck of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and I wonder, How would these people like DSG?

When I’m not at work I’m in our garden, but I have finished the first draft of a 2 ½ page paper called What is DSG? If you have any feedback for me about it I would greatly appreciate it. Not editing feedback, but do I get the ideas across.

I want to give another shout out for Jean-Marc Perreault’s DSG blog.

I did my first blog entry in about 6 months! Who knew that blogging was so time consuming!?

I’ve just joined Facebook. My whole life has changed. (BTW, my friend Gus just had a cheese and spinach pie.)

Beyond Democracy Update – April 7th, 2009

I started some new jobs. I was taking care of a man who had a stroke until he went into hospital. Say a little prayer for Jerry for me. Then last week, I started at the Bureau of the Census and now walk from house to house all day staring down at my hand held computer. I’m a real redneck now! I mean really. My neck is red. From the sun shining on it all day. I like it, but have little time to work on this flick.

A friend Rob and my partner Wendy helped me reevaluate what I should be focusing on now that I have less time, but still the same amount of enthusiasm. We decided that a good goal would be to use footage I have to create a 30 minute project that explains what DSG is and isn’t fancy with music and archival footage, etc.

I decided I prefer to call sociocracy DSG now. I’ve been reading about systems and I think dynamic self-governance is a very appropriate name. Many people in the U.S. hear “sociocracy” and think “socialism,” with which it is not related at all. Many people also have a hard time pronouncing it. Also, sociocracy seems more like an equivalent to democracy and other -ocracies. Right now that is only a potential. For use in a business or any other organization I think the most salient quality is that it is an open/dynamic system model. That will be an improvement over today’s closed/linear models.

I turned in an application for a grant to Bama, The Dave Matthews Band foundation. It is asking for $5,000 to make a trailer. A man named Bob came over one day and for an hour I gave him further clarification. The band gets together in June to review the grant applications.

Gregg Kendrick held a workshop just north of Charlottesville that is similar to ones he has done in California and Oregon and will do in Germany. It is based on Nonviolent Communication (NVC) and incorporates DSG. I believe that NVC improves interpersonal relationships because it gives us something to look at and evaluate when we’re having conflicts that allows us to get to the bottom of the problem and realize what to do. If you can’t figure out what to do, look at the needs of those involved. Then you can try to figure out how to satisfy everyone’s needs. I think DSG is a tool to create the decision-making method and structure for a better system and NVC is a tool to potentially create better relationships, and relationships are the foundation of open/dynamic systems.

We did a lot of cool movement exercises that helped teach about abstract concepts. In one, groups of about 5 people made a letter or a number on the floor using their bodies. At first we could talk and direct. Then we did it without talking or directing (self-organizing) and it went faster. My cousin Brad helped organize the workshop and did the movement exercises. I am going to stage similar exercises at some point so I can film them. I think that can make a great addition to the movie. My girlfriend Wendy, from her days as an HR manager knows of a couple other exercises that show how we’re more intelligent in a group than alone.

I found a great ally in Jean-Marc Perreault. I like the way he thinks and, Jean-Marc, I will write you soon, I swear! I’ve been so busy and distracted that I didn’t even do a March update! He brought John Buck up to the Yukon and now has planned the International Conference for Dynamic Governance in Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, Canada, in June 2010. I’m hoping to see you there!

See Jean-Marc’s blog about DSG (which he refers to as DG)


Beyond Democracy Update – February 10th, 2009

I applied for a grant from the local BAMA granting organization run by the Dave Matthews Band.

I also did a couple of interviews at CMR, one of the three organizations that I’m following. In December they reviewed their one-year experiment and decided to continue using DSG. The interviews went well and I got some usable comments from both Chike and Penny.

I taped a friend’s presentation and it is now on the web. His name is Alexis Zeigler and he calls it the Culture Change Constructive Panic Slideshow.

I will be paid soon for my first videography work. I did 10 clips of a video for a website called MonkeySee. The video is called Basic Beading. It’s in the mail and won’t be on the site until the end of the week at the earliest.

I’ve started working part-time at Home Instead Senior Care. They really seem to have their act together so it’s been a good experience so far.

I’m going to apply to the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) to give a forum in various parts of Virginia and discuss democracy. Rob Wolman has been helping me write this presentation. I’m excited about the possibility of presenting information about sociocracy and talking to people and getting feedback.

Beyond Democracy Update – January 3rd, 2009

Looking for work and dealing with my wayward tenants and the house has taken up my time. I have had court costs and a big, unexpected furnace repair bill. It seems like there is a lot of interest in the place, though.

I did have the pleasure of receiving my first grant rejection! I applied to the Sundance Skoll grant at the end of August – even before my proposal template was finished, so it was a bit sloppy. I never really expected to receive any grant from them.

I have scaled down my plans and am just going to apply to the local BAMA granting organization run by the Dave Matthews Band, and to the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Money from the VFH is for to give a slide show in different parts of Virginia and have discussions afterwords. It’s very possible and that will help me hone the story, get graphics together, and have a grant to list on my future grant applications. The woman who I talked to on the phone at the VFH is here in Charlottesville and lived in the Netherlands and speaks Dutch so we had a nice connection. My cousin’s wife has gotten a couple of grants from them already, and so has the writer who helped me with my proposal.

I saw a trailer for the film Fuel and it gave me an idea for how I could structure my own trailer. I hadn’t had any clue up to that point how I could do it. Now I’ve started putting it together.

Happy New Year!

Beyond Democracy Update – December 4th, 2008

I start out this last month by researching grants. Unfortunately, I lost half of my income stream, so lately I’ve been looking for part-time work.

I met a videographer in Charlottesville and had a very nice lunch with him. Mike Stevenson, Associate Producer and Editor, is co-owner of Linden Communication and Media Farm, a media production firm located in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m going to work with him on a shoot he’s doing of a cooking show wherein meals are for people who are going through or have gone through chemotherapy.

I added another video. I had been calling the video I had on my website a trailer, but it’s not really. It’s just some samples. I think of a trailer as looking more like the finished film and hinting at the storyline in a way that makes you want to see it. What I put up were just sample from interviews I have done that I chose because they seemed related. I didn’t very much like the one I put up, but it wasn’t a priority to add any more so I didn’t. I recently replaced the old one with one that I think is a little better. If you watch it at YouTube, then click on the link below the screen on the right that says ‘watch in high quality’ and you’ll get a better version. If you watch it at my site, there is no higher quality option.

Beyond Democracy Update – November 3rd, 2008

This last month I’ve been mostly researching grants.

As always, you can greatly help me out by going to my blog and commenting – and, even better, become part of the conversation. If you know of any people or groups who might be interested in sociocracy, please put them in touch with me or let me know about them. Please tell any of your friends and co-workers who are interested in organizational things – like people who facilitate meetings or train facilitators where you work. Thanks.

My friend Rob, on his own time, has started helping me with my storyline. I feel like I’m doing a pretty good job with it, but it’s still very, very nice to have feedback and help. It can be hard working by myself alone all day in my little office. Of course, my partner Wendy Jo has been an immeasurable help to me in every way – especially in taking a to-do list a page long and helping me decide what, of all those things, to do tomorrow.

I did take the time last Sunday to make a short music video and click on the link below the right side of the screen that says ‘watch in high quality.’

Beyond Democracy Update – October 3rd, 2008

The big news is that I have done a lot of work on my proposal and sent it out today to the IDA to apply for fiscal sponsorship! “Woohoo!!” I’ve been working on it for a long time. I really liked the process of figuring out what it is I want to do and why this topic is so important to me. I’ve written a bit about it in my blog. I’ve applied to one grant so far – the Sundance Skoll Social Entrepreneur Fund and have started researching more grants. This will be my major focus for the next few months. I hope the financial situation doesn’t dry up the foundations’ assets!

I finally published this website at the beginning of last month. I started blogging, but not too many people have been visiting the site yet. If you have a site or blog of your own, please link to it. If your site is related to sociocracy, I could add the link on my site. Check out the blog and see if any of the topics are interesting to you and add your comments! I would really love to have a dialog with you about power and domination in organizations. Tell anyone you know who might be interested about it. It is important for me to get other people writing there to be able to attract more readers to the site.

I added my first trailer! Another “Woohoo!!” You can also find it by going to YouTube and searching for ‘sociocracy.’ It’s nice to see it from a different perspective and think about people seeing it there. It doesn’t really make much sense by itself! I have five short trailers that I’m planning to put on, so they might make better sense together. At this point I only have interviews – no archival footage or music so it’s not a real, full-fledged trailer. I’m exploring using instead of YouTube. Check it out. There are a number of very good clips there and they’re all HD.

I also put some photos in the gallery.

Beyond Democracy Update – September 1st, 2008

While I was in Vermont, Paul Kervick had the idea to use an actor to play Thomas Jefferson. Paul knew I was bringing TJ’s ideas into the story. Besides filming with an actor, I can ask him to come to a fundraising houseparty. Jefferson’s hometown is Charlottesville and Monticello is just a mile and a half from my house. His ideas fit well with sociocracy and I think he would have liked and championed it.

An article in the Wall Street Journal mentioned sociocracy. In the article were some quotes from someone at the Darden school of business here at the University of Virginia. Since I need to establish some context for sociocracy I contacted him. Because he’s busy working on a book he recommended someone else who I met with, but was unable to help me. I’m still pursuing this avenue, though.

My grant writer Rachel and I prepared a proposal and a work-in-progress DVD for the Sundance Documentary Film Program and Skoll Foundation’s The Stories of Change Fund which was set up for independent feature-length documentary film to advance knowledge about social entrepreneurship. Sending it out was a grueling 40 minutes challenge to cut many of the proposal sections down to a smaller number of characters! It felt a bit sloppy, but it was my first grant proposal and done in a hurry. Now I’m ready to do more! Working on these proposals was very rewarding for me. I’ve had enough time now to know what I want so it has been a good time to put it down on paper. I ran out of money to pay Rachel so I am finishing the proposal for fiscal sponsorship from the IDA by myself. It is almost done now.

Rachel connected me with Drew and Michael Stevenson, who own Linden Communications, a media firm here in Charlottesville. Drew is a scriptwriter and a producer; Mike is a producer. They are interested in this project and I will meet with them in person soon.

I’ve been interviewing people who work for CMR, the organization in Charlottesville that uses sociocracy (or DSG – Dynamic Self-Governance, as they call it). Joyce Womack, the CEO, was another well-spoken interview subject, and one of the staff said, now that he’s experienced power-with, he would not like to go back to an organization that was based on power-over. I’d been waiting for that one!

On the 26th I received my first donation! It was $50. Woohoo! ! (Thanks, Mom!)

My website is now online and I just added my first blog entry! I want to have on my site a conversation about the issues that sociocracy brings up. Lately, for me, the big issue has been this idea of dominance vs. self-determination, or power-over vs. power-with. I hope that you will find these things important to come to my site and write about. You can have a direct influence on the movie and the message it gives out. You can provide your opinion on the topics that I bring up, or bring up the topics that you find important.

Beyond Democracy Update – August 4th, 2008

On July 3rd I got confirmation from Gregg Kendrick that Charlottesville Medical Research had committed to being part of this project. They had been positive about it, but it is very nice to have final confirmation.

I hired a grant writer, Rachel Mann, to help me with my fiscal sponsorship application which will also be a template for grant applications that I make. I immediately liked her writing on her webpage. It’s been great to work with her after working alone for so long. She has the skills I need and recognizes the value of sociocracy.

Life’s been dishing it out! Everything since about July 15th has been a blur. On July 20th my girlfriend and I moved a mile and a half across Charlottesville. Then I left for a week in New England. I’m am now set up to work again. It was good to get away from the computer for two weeks. Coming back to it I realize that I love this work. Right now I’m swamped, though, and can’t do enough! I can’t wait to transcribe the tapes I recorded in Vermont…

July 23rd I went up to Vermont to visit Living Well, one of the organizations I’m featuring and met some really wonderful people. Especially, I found two people who are a documentary maker’s dream: they talk quickly, fluently, succinctly, and have good points to make. One is Paul Kervick, who is a major force in Awakening Sanctuary, the non-profit that Living Well is allied with and does community outreach at Living Well. The other is Larilee Suiter, project coordinator at Champlain Valley Cohousing who I interviewed in the Burlington airport, right before I went and spent the night in the Philadelphia airport!

Awakening Sanctuary is in the process of becoming my fiscal sponsor. When that’s done I can start receiving donations (hint, hint).

Rachel just brought to my attention that the Sundance Documentary Film Program and Skoll Foundation announced The Stories of Change Fund which was set up for independent feature-length documentary film to advance knowledge about social entrepreneurship. The submission period deadline is August 15th, so we’re going to be busy getting an application ready. I’ll know by December 1st if I’ll get any of their $150,000!


Beyond Democracy Update – July 1st, 2008, (my 45th birthday!)

For my second A-story I have been talking to a local Charlottesville sociocracy consultant named Gregg Kendrick about working with Charlottesville Medical Research (CMR), a local company with 14 people that started training with sociocracy in January. They will have an evaluation in December and it would work wonderfully for me to work with them from now until then. On June 4th I showed the owners of CMR a 10 minute cut of the 17 minute cut I prepared for Docs In Progress. They liked it and at their meeting that evening decided that they want to be involved with my project.

I met with Docs In Progress on Saturday, June 7th and talked about the story and fundraising. They liked the way my interviews looked and said I shouldn’t worry about technical aspects now. I should only think about three things: Story, story, and story. Then we went over a fundraising strategy for me, the first step of which is to acquire fiscal sponsorship. One idea that came out of that meeting is that I should have a third A-story so that the A-Stories represent an organization being introduced to sociocracy (what I need), one adopting (CMR), and one that is past the adopting stage (Living Well).

I went to the Silver Docs documentary conference in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, the 21st. I did a seminar on Brand You online. It was about social networking and having a webpage. One bit of trivia I found out is that people are giving their babies strange names so that they will be unique for search engines when they’re older!

I also attended a pitching seminar and volunteered to have my pitch ripped apart by the three panelists. I’m glad I went first because they gave me a lot more and better feedback than the later pitchers. Also I was the only one that they asked the audience for suggestions for. I put a version of a pitch below.

Then, the most valuable seminar, distribution. Going to a festival and being approached by a distributor is the “old style” that Peter Broderick, who gave the seminar, now calls “alternative” distribution. With that kind of distribution, the filmmaker might get $2.50 per DVD possibly, sometime down the road – IF the distributer is ethical – which apparently is rare. People selling DVDs online get around $18 per DVD. He told many stories of people getting tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars before their DVD was advertised retail. Some examples: Many people had “house parties” coordinated with activist groups. Or, for ‘Iraq for Sale’ $385,000 was raised in 10 days – donations of $50 to have the donor’s name in the end credits. And ‘The Secret’ was put online in it’s entirety and the DVD was also sold there. It turns out that 90% of people who watched it online, bought it as well!

Anyway, what this means is that I’m going to be putting more time into a website. I’m very excited about have a “conversation” there about the issues sociocracy raises. I’ll blog and write about these issues, invite other “experts” to add content, and invite casual readers to comment as well. I’m going to wait until I have fiscal sponsorship before I do that, though, so I can solicit donations. I am seeking fiscal sponsorship through the IDA (the International Documentary Association) for it’s clout, but also through the non-profit that Living Well works with, which may happen at the end of July. Talking about the important issues in life is what draws me to documentary filmmaking. Having a conversation on a website I maintain appeals to me very much. I just hope I have time to do everything that I would like to.


Beyond Democracy Update – June 2nd, 2008

I call the story of sociocracy my B-story: how it works, Gerard developing it, and the future. The A-story is more personal and involving. I am planning on having two A-stories. One story will be about Living Well in Vermont. It’s a 15-bed eldercare facility. It is the only organization that I have found so far that actually started sociocratically from conception! They have been extremely successful. Dee DeLuca from Living Well said that others in the industry have visited and said that Living Well has done in 3 1/2 years what they haven’t been able to do in 25. I’m in the process of finalizing the other A-story.

Since returning from the Netherlands I have been transcribing the interviews I shot there and capturing footage to use for a fundraising trailer. I interviewed Gregg Kendrick and finished transcribing all the interviews I shot. I captured a little from each tape and then slapped together a 17 minute sample to send to my mentors in Washington, DC, Docs In Progress, who I will meet with again next week.

I ran into two ex-Twin Oakers (Twin Oaks is the commune where I used to live) who are professional musicians, and excellent at that – Devon and Danny. Devon Sproule has a gorgeous voice and some great songs and nice fingerpicking. Especially check out ‘Plea For A Good Night’s Rest’ and ‘Come Comet or Dove’ on her Myspace page ( Danny Schmidt does amazingly beautiful guitar stuff, but his songs always mean something and are full of nuggets of wisdom ( Check out ‘Girlwhiskey’ and ‘This Too Shall Pass.’ They talked about being willing to donate songs and I am going to contact their musical cohorts from across the nation, so I am very excited about that.


Beyond Democracy Update – April 28th, 2008

This one is long because it is the first and I talk about my trip to the Netherlands.

I interviewed John Buck in front of the Jefferson Memorial right before going to the airport to fly to the Netherlands. It was actually pretty cold with a strong breeze blowing on us. It looked pretty nice with John framed by cherry blossoms and the memorial across the water in the background. John brought me to the airport and then came to the Netherlands himself a few days later.


Early on I met with Claudia Tellegen, a documentary filmmaker, and old friend, who helped me with my interviewing process and in adjusting the questions I was planning to ask. I also videotaped some old fashioned windmills and some modern ones as well.

Then I travelled across the country (two hours) to Enschede (pronounced sort of like Enskeday) with a backpack, camera and tripod bags, and a big suitcase. I had to change trains twice, with barely minutes to spare. Bert Lambeck told me about how the area of town where his school is was totally destroyed by a fireworks factory explosion 13 May 2001 ( Bert is the principal of two schools in the public school system in which 32 schools are in the process of adopting sociocracy. In the late afternoon I went to Rotterdam where I met Gerard Endenburg, the engineer who first developed sociocracy. I stayed at his house for a week with other sociocrats from the US and Austrailia.

Walking around Rotterdam, I finally started feeling comfortable with Dutch again and realized I was learning new words and people weren’t responding in English, even though they could all speak it. I went to the annual event hosted by the Sociocratische Centrum, Landelijkedag. I met a lot of people and interviewed about seven of them. I shot some scenes of the group all together for the morning events. I did another interview at a restaurant during our dinner that evening. I also videotaped some parts of the Global Top Circle meeting the next day and did an interview with Pieter, who’s English was excellent. He had good ideas and spoke quickly and clearly – a documentary maker’s dream! Monday Claudia came to Gerard’s house and we interviewed him for two hours. We ended up using the built-in mic on the camera by mistake, but it was a quite place and doesn’t seem to have effected it too much. We then walked to the house of Ella de Kuider, who had been on the Rotterdam City Council for 16 years (pretty powerful – remember Rotterdam is the largest port in the world!) and interviewed her telling stories of using sociocracy in various political situations in Rotterdam. I went to Endenburg Electrotekniek for a talk and a tour. Later Marten Disberg of Reekx talked to us about adopting sociocracy over the last 15 years. I interviewed Annewiek at the Centrum. I also interviewed Gerard again with a couple of new questions and some old questions because of the earlier mistake with the microphone. I also interviewed Ger for a short time and asked Pieter one more question on camera.

I took the train (and my four bags!) to Rozendaal near Belgium where I interviewed Sonja Stilling. I was surprised when I was introduced to her. Even though she is the CEO her desk was just there with all the other people working in this one room. No one there has a private office. Also, the landscaping outside and the lobby inside were beautiful. I then hopped on a train to Groningen in the North – about a three hour ride. I had to change trains with all my stuff 4 times! In Groningen I visited Reekx and did some establishing shots of the building. I stayed with a friend for two nights. I finally fulfilled some of my goals of eating french fries with mayo, drinking a Grolsch, and eating a warm stroopwaffel at a market.

Saturday I got up at 6:15, took a train for two and a half hours, to the airport, handed off Claudia’s tripod to Pim, flew 8 hours to Washington, DC, and then drove 3 hours home – arriving about 2am Dutch time. The first thing I noticed when I went out the door at Dulles Airport was that it was hot and humid! It seems to have taken me two weeks to recuperate from my two weeks in the Netherlands. It’s been warm here, but lately it’s been very cool and rainy today, which reminds me of being back in the Netherlands. Many trees here are flowing white, red, pink, and purple.

I decided, with Gerard’s input, to go with the title Beyond Democracy. I learned more about the process that organizations go through as they adopt sociocracy. I also learned about why sociocracy meets resistance. I learned about people using sociocracy in a personal way in their own lives and families. I got a lot of good answers as to how sociocracy benefits the people who use it.

When I got home I found a certificate and other paperwork so now I officially have a company called Only Sky Productions, LLC! It’s as sociocratic as one person can be (well, I have outside advisors at least)! I also registered the web address of:

I shot about 16 hours of footage and I’ve been capturing it and am going to make a trailer from it.