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Michael J. Edelman
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Make a film with what you have, not with what you want, says author Elliot Grove. That's easier than ever today, with the astounding advances in video technology of the past decade or two. Years ago i learned to shoot and edit 16mm sound film using several tens of thousands of dollars (in today's money) of rented equipment. Film stock cost a fortune, as did developing, and making a print to send out wasn't cheap, either. Today i can shoot 70 hours of HD video on my phone (!) and there are cameras costing between one and three thousand dollars that can produce theatrical-quality video. In place of the expensive film editing machines we have software that can run on a relatively inexpensive laptop. And thanks to the internet, there's a ton of free information out there that can show you the ins and outs of the technical side of film making.
Thing is, that's the easy part of making a film. The difficult part is, well, everything else. How do I get people to act in my video? How do I get permission to shoot in a restaurant/theater/office/library/whatever? Can I get financing? What about music? Once I've made my masterpiece, how do I get others to see it? That's what Grove addresses here. The first edition of this book was written when film still dominated, and for this updated edition the emphasis is on digital video. There are still a fair number of film references, like discussions of 35mm versus 16mm, but again, that's a small part of the book. Grove spends a few pages outlining digital options- DSLRs, dedicated video systems like the Blackmagic- and then gets down to the real businesses of filmmaking.
While the book's titles states that it's for "Lo to No" budget filmmaking, your idea of low budget may not be the name as the author's. He starts out with what a professional would consider a bare-bones budget of 1,000 pounds Sterling (or about $1,600) and talks about the different options available you have a budget of 10,000, 50,000 and so on up to a million pounds. A lot of the material assumes the would-be filmmaker does have enough budget for equipment rental, professional talent, PR and the like. But there's also a fair that's applicable to the bare-bones filmmaker as well, particularly the material on publicity and distribution. Knowing how something is done by the pros can also help the bare-bones filmmaker, who may find a way to do something for free- like publicity- that the professional crew will hire a specialist to do. The focus is on the British (and European) currency, practices, legal contracts and so forth, but again, most of the information is general enough to be applicable in North America as well.
I see this not so much a guide for the absolute beginner as for the individual who has been writing, filming, and editing video for a while, who understands the basics of filmmaking, but who is looking to move up to the next level- making more ambitious videos, using skilled actors, making raising a bit of money from investors, and distributing a professional product. For that audience, I think this book should be a valuable resource.
- Publié sur Amazon.com
To start, it's important to note the meaning of "Lo-to-No" in terms of dollars and cents: No-Budget = $1-$100,00; Lo-Budget = between $100,000-$1M. The book does, however, disclose a few ways for a filmmaker to raise capital (i.e. bank loans, investors, credit cards, etc.) and ways to get certain tasks done for free.
Also, this book is written from a UK perspective, so there *will* be differences within the US or other countries--for example, there's a section called 'Co-Production and European Tax Incentives', which won't be of much use to US filmmakers since tax laws/filmmaking subsidies vary greatly--but if you have some ingenuity, you'll figure out ways to modify the tips offered to your own advantage.
I especially enjoyed the interviews with various industry professionals, to include producers, agents, CEOs, a YouTuber, etc. The questions asked varied, rather than using stock questions, and the answers given are invaluable and enlightening (some more so than others).
To offer a couple examples, asked of Mark Shivas (Perpetual Motion Pictures), "How would you describe your role as producer", to which he answered, "I would describe it as a mixture of a cajoler, a wet nurse, someone who raises the money, someone who keeps the movie on track, someone who looks after the crew." Or, asked of YouTuber TomSka, "So viral content has its own structure, very different to, say, short films or even features" wherein he answers with "You can get away with things like features, but if I wanted to put a feature on YouTube what I'd do is make some viral videos around it. ... I'd put out a marketing campaign beforehand where I had put out like three 1-minute videos, sketches or whatever, set in that film universe. Put those out and then suddenly the 3 million people who watched that video will want to watch that film...."
The only reason this book didn't get the full five stars from me is because there were several sections where the layout became haphazard, in the sense that you'd need to jump around a bit to find pertinent information, and also because much of it is geared toward the UK market while this is actively being marketed to the US filmmaking audience.
Overall, for those willing to read between the lines, take the initiative, and do further research as necessary, this is an entire film development course in a book. No, really, it is. If you aren't an autodidact, however, there's a good chance you'll be overwhelmed. It contains information that ranges from anecdotal stories to hard facts and figures, plus plenty of pull-outs, definitions, action plans, and advice for the budding film maker. But even with the quibbles, this is still a worthwhile investment.