The Stage Newspaper, Summer 2010
If you’ve ever had the urge to make a film but don’t know how, this is the perfect companion. Part of the popular Guerilla Film Makers Handbook series, this distils everything you need to
know to get started into a guide you can carry around.
The book takes you through the process of making a low-budget movie and is packed with detailed advice, ranging from how to layout a screenplay to choosing a camera, casting, how to handle stunts and how to get your film released. Much of this is in the form of Q&As with experts, which gives you a view from within the industry and makes it easy to read.
The guide also has lists of concise but crucial information – what different equipment is best for, the ten things to spot in a contract, etc – and bullet points on topics such as keeping investors happy, writing dialogue and getting great sound. Case studies offer insight from successful low-budget film makers, such as Paranormal Activity writer and director Oren Peli.
And once you have finished reading, links to www.guerillafilm.com, the Guerilla Film Makers group on Facebook and Chris Jones’ blog lead to more resources, interviews and updates, as well as encouraging you to make connections, giving a sense of community.
Passionately written and entertaining to read, this is a brilliant how-to book that makes you want to start plotting your movie right away.
Microfilm Maker Magazine
Getting involved in low budget filmmaking is an overwhelming prospect for most people. It seems awfully complicated and there's a lot to keep track of. Well the authors of The Guerilla Film Makers Pocketbook (GFMP) are here to help you keep it all straight. With that said, let's break down this barely pocket-size tome.
The layout of this book is essentially a series of interviews with people in the low and Indiewood budgeted film community in both the UK and the USA on a variety of specific topics based on their experience. This helps make it pretty simple to read through and allows you to cherry pick things you know nothing about or things you want to know more about.
Depth of Information
There's a huge amount of information packed into this little book, largely because so many different film and production people were interviewed. They have exerpts on everything from writing your script, to being a PA, to getting production insurance, to setting up your business, to surviving festivals. Finally, they conclude with case studies of Indie films like 10 Dead Men and the internationally famous, Paranormal Activity.
While the case studies are largely with truly no-budget filmmakers, many of the interviews are with folks who are more in the Indiewood community. As such, a decent amount of the advice leveled is intended for budgets between $100K and $1M. With that said, it's still valuable advice and stuff that you can really learn a lot from.
Disclaimer: This is not the book to start with to get you pumped about getting into film in the first place. (Unless you first read through the entire case studies section at the back of the book!) You need to go to other filmmaking books, like The DV Rebel's Guide or Digital Filmmaking, for that.
This is the SECOND book you read after you've read the book that made you enter the craziness of filmmaking! This is the book that helps stabilize your expectations and start you planning so that a lot of your excitement can go toward your actual film, rather than get squelched by reality.
With that in mind, this book works very well. The variety of people who are interviewed helps you select the most important things for you to consider at each step of the way. Additionally, you may discover other books you need to pick up, like the late, great Blake Snyder's writing book, Save the Cat, through the interviews in this book.
This is a book you have to use and reuse, because there's just too much information to keep in your head at any one time. As such, it's adequately called a pocket book. Mine is already dog-eared and beat up from the amount of time I've spent perusing it and dragging it different places. (Due to its handy size, they might want to consider a special flexi-plastic cover that is more resistant to being banged up.)
Value vs. Cost
The amount of information packed into this little book makes it an incredibly sound investment. It will give you insight and ideas for things you might not have thought of before.
No matter how long you spend making low-budget films, you can always learn more. As such, whether you're new to filmmaking or have been doing it for awhile, this book is a must own for your collection. Some of the advice in this book actually changed a few things I was considering for our upcoming Depleted feature franchise.