Filmmaking: Tips, Sources & Tools — July 19, 2011 at 6:55 pm

Filmmaking on the run: what books and film schools can’t teach you

I’ve decided to write this little article, based on my own experiences as a filmmaker. I can hardly call myself one, since I only made one short documentary film (have to admit, technically, pretty poorly made), nonetheless I’ve gone through some theory, I’ve read a lot of articles, scripts, and have been watching a lot of low-budget movies.

So, I suppose, if you really want to shoot something, there are thousands, if not more, books on various subtopics of low-budget filmmaking.

If there’s a film school in your area, but you cannot afford any, a book is a good alternative. On the other hand, before buying a book, you have to decide which one you need: a director’s guide, acting related material, special effects guy, books on scriptwriting and so on.

The point is, as I’ve learned, these books (well, at least those 5-6 books that I’ve personally bought, and read) do not really fit 100% into a particular man’s vision on how to make a film. Big question is: where do you live? Let me explain: the majority of these filmmaking related books are being printed and published, oriented at american society so to speak.

This means, there should be a filmmaking school around the corner, there is with free equipment at this school available if you got some sort of a membership, and Steven Seagal is your neigbour. Well, you get the point.

Now, imagine you live somewhere, where cinema is not that developed, yet you still have that desperate wish to learn the craft of filmmaking. You love movies, you make marks, and you even have some scripts written, hidden in a closet. Yet, there is no one to ask about how things are done, the moviemaking sphere is undeveloped, and the only source for you is either internet, or these filmmaking books.

Okay, so you picked a book, and you start reading it. If this book was published in either Canada or U.S., then prepare to stumble upon some advices, articles or methods that simply “would not work” in your city.

The point of this article, is that I’ve learned a lot in these books, as well as reading related articles online. On the other hand, living in a country that is quite far away from the United States, I quickly saw the things that I am simply not able to implement even on a micro-budget level here.

At some point, this is an advantage, and disadvantage as well. There are things here that you can get for free, just by asking. And, there are other things, that you won’t even be able to purchase, yet they are available in the U.S. So, if you do decide to learn something from a “filmmaking book”, just be prepared, that it will not teach you all the tricks, it’s not a magic wand afterall.

The best advice here would be – grab what you can use from all the sources you can find. And, if you’re stubborn enough, something will eventually happen.

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  1. Amazing details! I have been previously trying to find something such as this for a long time now. Thanks!

  2. Great article,thanks for putting this information together. Check out my blog for some further tips and reading on the film making process.

  3. So, buy books? What a worthless article, just repetitive info that people with common sense already know. We all know knowledge is in books.

  4. It seems like, you didn’t get what the article is about. First, it’s just my own experiences, nothing else. Second – like I said in the article, it depends on where you live, and what you have available for your film. I’ve encountered these problems in the past, so as worthless as the article might be to you, it just might make some sense to other people. Thanks for commenting.

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