Book Review: Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign (2nd Edition)

Crowfunding Cover

Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions

Release Date: July 01, 2016

John T. Trigonis offers readers the benefit of his real world successes in the Crowdfunding arena as he walks the reader through the crowdfunding process and relays all sorts of advice along the way. Much of the information here is more generalized due to the nature of Crowdfunding. Each campaign has its own set of unique obstacles and must be handled in its own unique way. However, the book gives the reader the confidence to move forward and explains the basics in a way that will allow them to utilize this information in the way that best benefits their campaign. Those planning such an endeavor might do well to invest in this useful text.

Review by: Devon Powell





Book Review: The Digital Filmmaking Handbook (5th Edition)


Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR

Release Date: July 3, 2014

Once upon a time, digital filmmaking was the bastard stepchild of cinema. It allowed for a dramatic increase in independent films, but few Hollywood films were produced in the digital realm. Today, film is unfortunately nearing extinction. Nearly every Hollywood is shot using digital cinema technology, and it is becoming a popular distribution and projection method. In other words, The Digital Filmmaking Handbook could have easily been titled The Filmmaking Handbook.

When one compares Sonja Schenk and Ben Long’s text to similar texts (such as Single-Camera Video Production), this 5th edition has the obvious advantage. It covers a slightly wider range of topics, and does so in a more comprehensive manner than many other texts. It is certainly an informative guide for the beginning filmmaker, and should be a wonderful refresher for those that simply want to keep up with the advancements in technology. Teachers might also find that the text is a useful classroom tool, and the pages include various tutorials that should be ideal for certain learning environments.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Single-Camera Video Production (Sixth Edition)


Publisher: Focal Press

Release Date: June 28, 2014

Robert B. Musburger and Michael R. Ogden have written an excellent introductory textbook on single camera video production that is both helpful and easy to understand. Their text provides a general guide for future filmmakers and students that will serve as a foundation that they can build upon. The technology is discussed in an extremely in-depth manner, but their text is general enough so that the reader can apply their knowledge to the various cameras, microphones, and other technologies on the market. Each phase of production is covered (Pre-production, Production, and Post-Production) in some detail. Anyone planning a digital production in the near future should find the book helpful, and teachers should find the text to be a valuable introductory guide to the subject.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Planning the Low-Budget Film (Second Edition)


Publisher: Chalk Hill Books

Release Date: August 1, 2013

Robert Latham Brown provides expert advice about how one should schedule and budget their independent film, and he does so in an extremely lucid and enjoyable fashion. While many books merely provide vague instruction about this phase of film-making, Planning the Low-Budget Film goes into it in a very detailed manner that is extremely easy for beginners to understand. Film schools should work it into their curriculum, and anyone planning their first low budget film needs to read it cover to cover. It couldn’t come more highly recommended.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Independent Film Producing


Publisher: Allworth Press

Release Date: October 1, 2013

“It is my hope that this book has contributed to [your] basic understanding by providing a framework for the major issues encountered in producing a low-budget feature film – at the least it should enable you to ask the right questions of attorneys and producers and anyone else you will need…” –Paul Battista (Epilogue)

Paul Battista’s “Independent Film Producing: How to Produce a Low-Budget Feature Film” is very similar to Andrew Stevens’ “Foolproof Filmmaking: Make a Movie That Makes a Profit.” There are differences. Battista tends to concentrate more on the legal issues involved with making a film on a low budget, and less on creating a film project that meets the needs of the current market. There are also fewer anecdotal examples in the book. Battista relays valuable information to the reader, but one wonders if the information is practical for most low budget filmmakers. Future filmmakers should read this one only if they aren’t easily discouraged.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Foolproof Filmmaking


Publisher: April 29, 2014

Release Date: Prospecta Press

“Andrew Stevens has mastered every facet of film-making and there isn’t a better teacher out there. This isn’t film school theory, it’s how to make a film in the real world and make a profit.” -Roger Corman (Forward)

Stevens has an impressive résumé, but Foolproof Filmmaking isn’t likely going to satisfy most readers wishing to learn more about independent film-making. However, it is an excellent text for anyone wishing to learn about pre-selling a film, or how to make a film that can be sold. Unfortunately, it is also a text that will lead to many inferior independent films that do nothing but pander to the lowest common denominator. Filmmakers that are weary from seeing inferior films that they have seen a thousand times before will probably become weary reading this book.

It is also somewhat aggravating that Stevens never actually tells the reader how to get a project in front of a buyer (distributor). He writes about film markets, but most of the information given is available online. It will not get the independent filmmaker in front of a buyer (even if they have made a film that is “market friendly”). This isn’t to say that it isn’t worth reading.

Foolproof Filmmaking is recommended, but not essential.

Review by: Devon Powell

Book Review: Film Craft: Producing


Publisher: Focal Press

Release Date: January 3, 2013

The FilmCraft book series focuses on specific disciplines within the filmmaking profession using interviews from noteworthy professionals in the field. This volume by Geoffrey Macnab and Sharon Swart features interviews with fifteen producers, and profiles of five other producers.

The producers interviewed in this volume are:

Peter Aalbaek Jensen

Tim Bevan

Jan Chapman

Lorenzo di Bonaventura

Ted Hope

Martin Karmitz

Kees Kasander

Jon Kilik

Bill Kong

Jon Landau

Andrew Macdonald

Edward R. Pressman

Lauren Shuler Donner

Jeremy Thomas

Ron Yerxa & Albert Berger

The producers profiled are:

Michael Balcon

David O. Selznick

Dino De Laurentiis

Erich Pommer

Alexander Korda

There may be a number of people that question the choice of producers interviewed in this volume, but it would be nearly impossible to include every relevant producer currently working in this field. The producers chosen come from very diverse backgrounds, making the individual interviews unique and valuable. Any reservations that one has are likely to fade once they start reading the book.

There is a wealth of conflicting information related to the readers. This book differs slightly from other books in the series due to the business end of filmmaking. The “producer” is one of the most misunderstood positions in the film industry. Different producers have a different level of creative control. Some might function differently than others. This makes this volume all the more valuable.

The featured producers talk passionately about their craft, and engage the reader immediately. The text is illustrated with wonderful photos from films that make the book a visual treat. I would even say that FilmCraft: Producing is truly addictive! It will be a treasured addition to the libraries of anyone who loves the cinema, and a wonderful resource of inspiration to future filmmakers.

Review by: Devon Powell