Documentary First

Normandy Project, LLC

Documentary First is your all-access guide to the world of documentary filmmaking. With her own “The Girl Who Wore Freedom” film well underway, Director Christian Taylor sits down with Josh and Jason to explore the highs and lows of film creation.

All Episodes

Today we’re joined by James Mason, the new Director of Living Stories. We talk through what that means, why and what they’re doing, and how things are changing within the organization. We talk about Melissa Perkins leaving the team, how Christian could have prepared better, and the implications of a long term project like a documentary. Then we dive into productivity tools, systems and websites to help put your team on the right track.

Dec 1

33 min

We recollect favorite thanksgiving movies and general thanksgiving. Christian has studio updates and shares future plans with streaming platform, Vudu. We're thankful for all our subscribers and Patreon supporters!

Nov 26

31 min 28 sec

Today we’re joined by Mindy Cook, a documentarian cinematographer and “marketing specialist” for the Girl who Wore Freedom. First we dive into talking about the pitch to Netflix, an upcoming Q&A with members of the film. Then we talk about rejection, keep moving forward. Then Mindy walks us through how she joined The Girl Who Wore Freedom, documentary filmmaking, and working in the non-profit sector. Mindy praises mentorship and then we discuss film school.

Nov 17

55 min 31 sec

Today we’re joined by Zach Callaghan, writer on The Brave Dutch, who previously wrote for The Girl Who Wore Freedom. He goes through the process of screen-writing for film. Christian speaks on leading a team with fresh perspectives and allowing them to add their ingredients to a proverbial "stone soup."

Nov 11

43 min 47 sec

Today we talk about Ted Lasso, Halloween costumes, and how to deal with the lulls in production. Christian talks through what she’s working on right now, the prep she’s doing for The Brave Dutch, and partnership proposals with various organizations.

Nov 3

46 min 4 sec

Jason Hoban, sound designer for The Girl Who Wore Freedom and Documentary First Podcast, discusses the art and science behind making audio mixes for film, etc. He has wielded the microphone as a foley artist, and has extensive experience editing audio using Pro Tools. In addition, he shares how he got his start as an audio engineer.

Oct 27

46 min 8 sec

Today we talk about Research and Development, screening the film for cadets, Christian dealing with a heckler, the emotional journey it sent her on, and how it might change her future films. We talk a little about the future of the podcast, the way production and documentary work intertwine with everything in your life, and boots-on-the-ground research.   Today we talk about Research and Development, screening the film for cadets, Christian dealing with a heckler, the emotional journey it sent her on, and how it might change her future films. We talk a little about the future of the podcast, the way production and documentary work intertwine with everything in your life, and boots-on-the-ground research. Mentioned Links: Public Screening Rights: Jason Rugg's @Jaxandchawn Favorites:

Oct 21

46 min 15 sec

Christian’s back from her Odyssey, we get an update about her trip, the things she learned about. We get a look at how Christian has learned about giving people rest time, including herself. We talk about self-care, then dive into Christian’s great uncle’s journey with the 334th Infantry.

Oct 13

26 min 59 sec

Today we're joined by TGWWF and The Brave Dutch Co-Producer, Michelle Coupey, Christian's still in the Netherlands and has some updates about The Girl Who Wore Freedom! Then we dig into the Brave Dutch, Christian's amazing day, learned a bit about Buren, Netherlands ( and The Brave Dutch Podcast: Christian visited The Oranjehotel internment camp, got to hear the history, the atrocities commited there, and what bits of hope were scrawled into the walls. The Propaganda Cartoon:" When anyone preaches disunity, tries to pit one of us against the other you know that person seeks to rob us of our freedom and destroy our very lives."  

Oct 6

45 min 50 sec

Josh is finally back, we talk through some updates about the Girl Who Wore Freedom on Delta Air Lines, Christian gives us an update about a future L'Oréal event, and Fort Bragg. We get an update about Grueling Glory, the short film, it's film festival run, and Christian explains the difference between feature/short film festival submissions. Christian gives us an overview of the Netherlands' role in World War II, the bombings, the surrender, the resistance. Then we dive into the story of The Brave Dutch.

Oct 1

1 hr 3 min

We're joined by Flavie again! Christian is in the Netherlands on a pre-production trip. But first, she shares what parts of France she had the visited on the way, including memorials, museums, and the Pegasus Bridge. This recent trip to Europe involves meeting with her son on a mock special-ops mission called Falcon Leap. They attended the Operation Market Garden ceremonies in the Netherlands and talk about its significance.

Sep 23

56 min 57 sec

Jeff and Jason play switcheraoo! After a film update, Christian shares about plans to travel to the Netherlands for a scouting trip for "The Brave Dutch." Then, composer Jeff Kurtenacker explains how he had to name each musical piece in the movie, even if it were the shortest of études. All the details must be recorded on the timeline, including who were the authors and performers; In addition, a demonstration of rights needed to be on the cue sheet.

Sep 16

1 hr 2 min

This week, the podcast team took a break during this past Labor Day so we are reposting a previous episode, but before that, Christian reflects on what was happening a year ago during the recording of "Episode 79: Hunter." A lot can happen in a year, since then, Hunter has completed Navy Officer Candidate School (OCS) in June 2021 and is now in Pensacola, FL for flight school.

Sep 9

58 min 8 sec

Mindy got involved on the marketing team for The Girl Who Wore Freedom through listening to The Holy Post podcast. She ran a successful social media campaign with the marketing slogan, "Watch, Rate, Review". Her passion for stories and real-life accounts is what drove her to join the team!

Sep 2

40 min 28 sec

Christian's finally back home! We're joined by Sam King, the assistant editor of the film, and lead social media editor. Christian gives us a film update, Delta airlines update and some film festival updates! Then we dive into Sam's story, how he joined the project, what he learned and how the project helped mould his career. The things he learned as he became more and more creative learning how to edit with a director. Scriptnotes "Notes on Notes" Episode: Jax & Chawn on Instagram:

Aug 26

46 min 31 sec

CEO/President of Virgil Films speaks to Documentary First regarding his experiences as a distributor for over 40 years, including trying to sell "Supersize Me". He starts at the beginning of his career and takes us on a journey from the VHS era to today's streaming market.

Aug 19

38 min 54 sec

Today we talk about how life effects work; Check out Jason & Shawn's animation channel on @JaxandChawn Christian's been gone from home for 4 weeks, dealing with personal issues involving her father, moving him an hour and a half away, and struggling with progress on the film. Then, we talk through flexibility with volunteers, social media mess ups and mistakes. Being patient is a key part of being creative, but it is also about making moves when you can. How to get your show greenlit in 3 easy steps by Sara Schaefer:

Aug 12

36 min 29 sec

Update about sub-distribution for TGWWF, Hoopla and Delta Airline are now streaming our film! Christian goes into the details and shares about other potential distribution deals. Then, she speaks on work-life balance.

Aug 5

39 min 57 sec

Today we dive into Josh's awesome movie-themed-roadtrip, work life balance, and Jason disses Josh. Christian recaps her accidental crimes and gives an update on the grant, blessings from God, and new members of the board. Then we dig into work life balance, how the film has brought together so many people. Christian opens up some wounds about her family life over the course of the last few years and some recent developments with her family.

Jul 28

42 min 57 sec

Today we discuss some lessons learned, mistakes made, and fees paid. Christian fills us in on a week of bad luck, misfiled papers and trying not to incur penalties and fees. We talk about connections, growth, the future of "The Brave Dutch" and sub-distribution.

Jul 22

29 min 27 sec

First, we get updates on the distribution phase of The Girl Who Wore Freedom. Second, Christian reveals two new projects she has underway, "Grueling Glory" and "The Brave Dutch". Finally, the act of gaining story rights, self-funding pre-production tours, and building a team are discussed. To be added to the DVD pre-sale list, email:

Jul 15

40 min 41 sec

We’re joined by Jeff Kurtenacker, David Patterson, and Jason comes and goes throughout this episode. We look back on what we’ve learned about distribution, discuss strategies for how to get your film distributed, then recap how Jeff joined the project and how David joined too.

Jul 8

46 min 6 sec

Jason’s back! George is back! Josh, well, he’s gone! We get a quick update on the film, then we dive into George’s film career which for him, started at 81. George recaps his efforts to get gates put on a cemetery and how he brought teachers over to Europe to show them the gravity of the soldiers sacrifices. At that point, George started making documentaries to show the high price of freedom and interviewed people who had lost their freedom. Then, George gives us a list of all the films he's made and goes into why he made each of them.

Jul 1

34 min 28 sec

George Ciampa is back to finish off his cliff hanger ending from the previous week. But first, an update on more film festival wins, Christian’s travels, and her experiences with D-Day celebrations. Then we get an update on Delta and Michelin. Fort Bragg is opening a museum dedicated to Normandy, and Christian has been invited! George gets back into his story, seeing the German girl again in 1949 in the Ringling Bros. Circus. Then, we start to get to George's career at the LA Times. Finally, we start to touch on his film career, and his efforts to get gates put onto a military cemetery in France.

Jun 24

36 min 12 sec

Jeff Kurtenacker, the music composer of TGWWF, fills in for Josh Lindsay and Jason Rugg! Christian shares exciting news regarding partnering with Delta and Michelin, and even meeting with Delta Airlines CEO, Ed Bastian, in Atlanta, GA. Then, connections made during film processes are discussed and the latest stats on distribution are shared. Support us on Patreon!:

Jun 17

52 min 53 sec

The Girl Who Wore Freedom is out on iTunes and lots of other streaming services. We talk through reviews, strategies, cinnamon rolls, and what it's like to release a film online. We walk through the marketing plan, going grassroots, asking for ratings and letting reviews help bump the film up in the iTunes charts. The marketing wins and losses, plans for the next film, and discoverability. Then an update on the Delta deal and what it is like to to build a collaborative team behind the film, and how different that is compared to having a huge investor.

Jun 10

44 min 12 sec

This week, George Ciampa joins the pod for another occurrence, but first off, by the time this publishes, The Girl Who Wore Freedom film has been made available for purchase on Apple TV or iTunes as of June 1! Thanks to your support, the film has finally reached a wider audience! George tells more stories of his time at war in Germany, of being "bivouacked" and the Battle of the Bulge. The progression of his personal mental health being surrounded by so much death is discussed as well as happy moments making friends with German trapeze artist, "Margot".

Jun 3

39 min 6 sec

Today we’re joined by George Ciampa again, but first we need a film update. Some exciting release news for the film, in flight entertainment, and cable in Canada! And getting ready for the iTunes soft launch of the film. Then, we hear about George Ciampa’s experience at the Battle of the Bulge, and beyond. George digs in and tells us about his experience digging temporary cemeteries, the bombings from German forces and the local farm kids helping support American troops. We talk about military humor, finding moments of joy through the sorrow, and dodging buzz bombs.

May 26

57 min 34 sec

Today we're joined by George Ciampa, a WWII veteran and documentary filmmaker. But first, an update on the Delta Airlines Partnership, then we dive deep into George's history and how he became a filmmaker. We encounter some tech issues, and keep on trucking, like any podcast or filmmaker should. George walks us through his experience landing on Omaha Beach during D-Day, digging graves and the losses of Operation Tiger.

May 19

41 min 51 sec

This week was kinda quiet on the film front, so we talk through some of the things that happened, future plans for D-Day film screenings and the future of Christian's filmmaking career. Then Christian gives us an update on the Delta Airlines relationship and Christian's next film & Living Stories. Christian talks us through her 501c3 organization, what it means for the future and trying to keep things legal.

May 13

31 min

Christian gives us her usual update on the film, her experience in the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival, and maybe some wins...??? Then she walks us through some of the amazing things she got to see and participate in at the festival, the connections made, and friendships forged. You'll have to listen to find out! Then, we're joined by Michelle Coupey. She's back to talk about translations, transcriptions and being on location. She advises having several team members who speak both languages as it's most helpful for getting entry into locations where you don't speak the language and with the public while filming. Then the we talk about her adventures in translating, and taking poetic license with subtitles.

May 5

50 min 50 sec

Christian's in Dubuque, Iowa for the Julien Dubuque International Film Festival! We talk through the festival activities this week, the overwhelming experience, and how the festival tried to stay COVID-19 free. Christian tells us about Dubuque's unique history, and how the festival makes use of their venues and burning cable cars. Then we get into branding, both personal and for your film, how to grab eyeballs and do something special at a festival while keeping it on brand. In closing, we check in with Jason and Josh's personal projects.

Apr 29

46 min 23 sec

Today we're joined by Michelle Coupey. But first, we need an update about the Film. Christian fill us in on some interesting goings on in Wyoming, and Christian won another award, this time from a monthly film competition. Christian fills us in on new film festivals THIS WEEK, so be sure to listen in and see if you can attend. We talk through the light and dark of a distribution deal. Then, we talk through the hurdles of overcoming dual language film, particularly when you don't speak one of them. Michelle recalls how she met Christian and how she came to work on the film as a co-producer and French translator. Christian explains the different translations methods they tried, and failed, and the system they ended up using.

Apr 22

43 min 31 sec

We're joined by Ron Tucker, director for the Beaufort Film Festival of which The Girl Who Wore Freedom was a part of last February. He has stories galore about the film world and expert advice about making it in the film business.

Apr 15

53 min 12 sec

*Note: Please excuse the few seconds that got clipped in the beginning, we're adjusting to our new recording software, Zencaster, thanks for understanding!    Today we have no guest! Which, feels a little weird. It's just Christian, Josh and Jason this week. In this episode, we talk about the announcement on social media of the TGWWF distribution deal, as well as the release announcement strategy and the people behind the announcement plan. We discuss recent viewership of the film, including how it was received during the free screening weekend (through the Normandie-WWII and Thin Line Film Festivals) by the French people, and in 26 other countries. We talk through the importance of story and film criticism. Christian gives her thoughts about how to hook your audience, what 'The Chosen' gets right, and we discuss grabbing your audience using what they can easily relate to and by the their emotions and compelling them to support your project. We talk through distribution plans, participating in the marketing for The Girl Who Wore Freedom, and being an active participant in helping the film make money. After that, we go back to deliverables! 

Apr 8

59 min 51 sec

Today we're joined by Alex Maier, a filmmaker Christian met at the Flathead Lake Film Festival. Alex tells us about his history in hiking/backpacking, how he started making films. We talk through the technical hurdles of being an outdoor filmmaker, the advent of digital cinema, and how it changed the game. Alex tells us about Splitboarding, how he got into it, and the growing movement toward splitboarding. We talk about self distribution, the day job, and what life is like as an outdoor filmmaker.

Apr 1

57 min 59 sec

What's a “faith based” movie? What about a “faith laced” movie? Chris White, Director, Writer, Producer, and Actor, of the film, “Electric Jesus” joins us to dig into portraying a subculture without parodying or denigrating it, and talks casting and song writing.  We talk charisma, how to hook people with an idea, and Chris shares what he's learned from making films.

Mar 25

53 min 16 sec

This week we talk with Tim Gray. Tim is an accomplished award-winning filmmaker with nearly 30 documentary films under his belt. He's won 5 regional Emmys. He is the founder and president of the WWII Foundation, as well as the WWII Film Festival that takes place in Normandy each year.

Mar 17

50 min 36 sec

This week we hear about website optimization and film deliverables! I swear, it’s more interesting than it sounds! Check out the updated “watch” page for The Girl Who Wore Freedom here: Then, Christian’s headed to Iowa! The film has been accepted to YET ANOTHER Festival. With a CASH prize? We dig into the financial aspect of film festivals. Then we talk about Deliverables. What are they? How do they work? What sorts of things do you need to plan ahead for?

Mar 10

41 min 6 sec

We get an update on how the film festivals went, awards won, and then we get into some facts about The Girl Who Wore Freedom’s Festival run. Christian walks us through the process of entering film festivals. There are many stages, confusing titles, and work arounds. Christian recounts theater experiences, how important and rewarding it is to see/hear how your film impacts people, and how that’s missing during the pandemic. Then we hear about how important film festivals are for local economies.

Mar 4

45 min 26 sec

We get an update about the film, film festivals, and we hear from Jason and Josh, who were not at all prepared for this. Christian talks us through some of the other films at the festival. Then we are joined by Michael Peroff, a filmmaker who’s film Behind the Strings dives deep into Chamber Music and the Shanghai Quartet. Michael fills us in on how he discovered Chamber Music, his history, and gives us a synopsis of the film and how it’s effected him.

Feb 24

51 min 18 sec

Scott Homon will be the guest for this episode. Here is the link to his website if you would like to check out some of his work. If you would like to take a look at his film you can see it here:

Feb 18

1 hr 9 min

Today we’re joined by Michèle Phoenix! But first, as usual, an update about film, distribution, deliverables and an update from Josh and Jason. We talk about the challenges of working on a multi-lingual film, particularly if you don’t speak all the languages. We talk through the workarounds they’ve used to live translate, and work through problems. We talk through Michèle’s history, how she came to work on the film and overcoming obstacles. Christian and Michèle recount several translation stories from making the film, and the beautiful moments they got to experience. Michèle then fills us in on the book she wrote after her experiences on the film. Check out her books and website here:,Fragments of Light:

Feb 11

49 min 16 sec

It’s Episode 100, and we’ve got a whole mess of people on the show. We’ve got Jason Hoban, Jonathan Liu, Bradley Stair, and Jeff Kurtenacker! We’re celebrating 100 episodes of the podcast, and some big news for the film. We get some background on how Documentary First is made, then we dig into some exciting news! We talk through the learning experience of the film, the amazing experience of “Just doing it”. The process of discovering if you can do something. Making something creative.

Feb 4

25 min 19 sec

Sandy Gordon is back! But first we have to get some updates about the film, and film festivals. 
Sandy brought some show and tell today, she brings out some scripts, notebooks, etc from previous projects. Then Sally runs down all the information included on a Call Sheet, how it’s organized and why it’s included on the sheet. Then we talk through how Rudy filled a football stadium.

Jan 28

29 min 29 sec

Sandy Gordon is back, today we’re talking about Line Producing, the Hudsucker Proxy, and how she got involved with their production. Then we dig into line production, what is line production? How does their job affect the budget, and production? Sandy gives some great examples of how line producers help production save time and money. Sandy walks us through all the different things that go into even just planning craft services (food) on the set, the difference it makes to have healthy options vs junk food, and how that changes production.

Jan 21

31 min 22 sec

Today we’re joined by Sandy Gordon, Emmy Award winning producer and published author. We talk about her history in film production, how she got started, and what she’s been working on since. Sandy tells us about her first BIG break working on the movie Rudy, how she got involved in TGWWF and then enlightens us about Chicago’s tax incentive for film and TV production. Lots of stuff to learn in this one!

Jan 14

26 min 48 sec

In this year end podcast, we look back on what we appreciated about this crazy year and what we’re anticipating for 2021. Jason talks about being a workaholic, Josh talks about his business this year, and Christian takes inventory of her blessings. Then we dive into what we’re anticipating. Josh talks about his plans for next year. Jason talks about agents, managers, and meetings, and Christian lists out everything happening with the film in 2021.

Jan 7

38 min 23 sec

The podcast crew share hopes for the new year by thinking about the limitations, lessons, and innovations they have faced traversing the film-making and voice-over world. Also: Jason is insightful and hilarious? Find out more in this episode.

Dec 2020

1 hr 5 min

Today we talk about “the next thing”. What will that look like? Financially, distribution wise? Production wise? When is Christian no longer a first time filmmaker? And what in the world is going on in the film industry right now?! It's like the Wild West out there! What’s the ongoing trend for filmmaking and movie studios, film festivals, movie theaters and what does that mean for independent filmmakers? Christian, Josh and Jason talk through some of the different streaming services, distribution plans, changes to movie theaters, and speculate about the future of traditional distribution. They don't seem to have any definitive answers but they are good questions for any filmmaker to ponder! Happy Holidays!

Dec 2020

44 min 43 sec