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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: L.A. Weekly Books; 1st edition (April 5, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312288646
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312288648
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (256 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #354,110 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The experience of low-budget filmmaking is so bad it's good. This is the central bit of wisdom writer/producer/director Kaufman (his credits include The Toxic Avenger; Class of Nuke 'Em High; Tromeo and Juliet) gives in this riotous book. Equal parts how-to, memoir and shrewd marketing stunt, it tells young filmmakers to lower their expectations. Taking a reverse-inspirational tack, Kaufman admits indie films probably won't make you rich, famous, happy or very many friends. For emphasis, he begins with an image of him shoveling rat poop from the basement of Troma Studios and closes with a suicide dream sequence. It is to the tremendous credit of Kaufman's profane, self-deprecating, caustic but charismatic sense of humor that the book's opening, closing and everything else in between manages to make the low-budget filmmaking process seem like the most glorious and noble of life pursuits. Seven different contributors regularly interrupt Kaufman with commentary on aspects of the filmmaking process in general and Kaufman in particular. (He's both inspirational and profoundly cheap.) At one point, an argument that's been brewing between coauthor Haaga and Kaufman about whether film or digital video is better dissolves into a five-page, farcical cursing contest. Like the work he pursues, Kaufman's book is at times so bad it's good. 40 b&w photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Troma Studios impresario Kaufman is back with a manual for fledgling filmmakers seeking to slide down something like his slimy path to indie B-movie glory. Of course, the manual format is partly just an excuse for more raconteuring a la All I Need to Know about Filmmaking I Learned from the Toxic Avenger (1998), Kaufman's memoir of crafting cult classics like Class of Nuke 'em High and The Toxic Avenger. Still, Kaufman does vend some pithy guidelines, one of the most succinct of which is "Get your wimmen nekid" because "one way to save money . . . is in the costume department." Not every insight involves salaciously soliciting audience interest; many are just useful, jaded tips for skimping at every juncture and finding somebody else's money to risk on one's celluloid magnum opus. Although the book is probably more valuable as entertainment than as counsel, its instructional content shouldn't be ignored. It isn't easy making low-budget movies, and Kaufman has definitely been there and done that. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Get off your behind, read the book and go make your own damn movie.
Mitch
Whether you're interested in filmmaking, currently working on a film, or just love a really great book, "Make Your Own Damn Movie" is a great buy.
Benjamin R. Schwartz
I had heard of Lloyd Kaufman and Troma, but the only Troma movie I had seen was the Toxic Avenger (GREAT FILM!!)
Kram Niawt

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Melanie Gilbert VINE VOICE on July 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before reading this book, I had never heard of Lloyd Kaufman, Tromaville or the Toxic Avenger. Now I feel like he and all his crazy characters are family. And why not? You've got to love a guy who in the acknowledgments writes, "No thanks to: Viacom, New Corp, Vivendi, AOL Time Warner, Sony and other devil-worshipping international media conglomerates." He is a modern-day Don Quixote.

"Make Your Own Damn Movie," sounds like a call to action but it really isn't. For that reason, I gave this book four stars. Kaufman writes knowledgeably about how independent theaters, studios, and filmmakers are being squeezed out by consolidation - where Viacom owns Blockbuster, Paramount Pictures, Simon & Schuster Publishers, along with TV, cable and other media - basically all the channels of distribution and publicity in the marketplace. This book contains witty, subversive, smart and useful information, but to what purpose if the outlook is so bleak?

Kaufman closes his book with "sometimes lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for." That's hardly the call to action I thought I'd be reading. He clearly sees himself and his work as being a dying breed. This is a horror director who has written a tragedy. Has it come down to that for this innovative, dynamic and vivacious film pioneer?

If you are an aspiring filmmaker, this is an excellent autobiography about a 25-year veteran of independent films. But if you're looking for the nuts and bolts of filmmaking or a rah, rah you can do it tract, you may want to consider other material.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ton on April 20, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Winner of the lifetime achievement award for his body of work and important contribution to the filmindustry at this years's prestigious Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, Lloyd Kaufman is a genius making masterpieces on a budget that would barely be enough to pay for one day's catering on an average Hollywood producton and he does it for thirty years now. In a world where low budget independent filmmaking means manymultimillion dollar productions by subdivisions of Warner and Disney, Lloyd Kaufman survived for three decades (and counting) with his truly independent filmcompany Troma and in doing so directed, produced and/or wrote dozens of brilliant films (plus distributed hundreds more works that would otherwise have been totally neglected) without which the world would be an even less happy place! Heck - his work provided loads of "inspiration" (i.e. rips-off-ism) for the big ones who simply aren't creative enough to come up with their own masterpieces.
Want to know how he does it? Interested in learning from his expertise making true art and surviving in an industry that is almost entirely taken over by those big conglomerates? Need to know how you can make your own film you have been dreaming about for so long, but felt discouraged by the way the world has turned out to be? READ HIS BRILLIANT BOOK "MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE"! If there is one person alive (or dead, but they usually don't say too much to begin with) who can actually tell you how to overwin all possible obstacles you might -and will- encounter realising your plans, it is Lloyd Kaufman. He has lived it, he is still doing it, and every film he makes is better than the previous one, even while the problems are getting bigger.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd Kaufman on February 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
I loved this book.The author must be very wise and handsome;clearly he is talented.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By The Encyclopedia Tromatica on April 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
In terms of quality, the only book that can even come close to this one is "All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger", by The Artist Formerly Known As Samuel Weil, Lloyd Kaufman. The two books by this film director are far different, however; "Make Your Own Damn Movie" is more along the lines of instruction and advice, with some autobiography thrown in, whereas "All I Needed To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger" is more autobiographical, with some bits of instruction and advice.
This book will tell you potentially everything you need to know to make your own damn movie, and I predict that it will change and improve the motion picture industry forever.
The author, Lloyd Kaufman, and the two co-authors, Trent Haaga and Adam Jahnke, know whereof they speak, all three of them having been making entertaining movies for years. In this book, Lloyd reveals how he did it, and how you can do it too.
And he does so with considerable wit and humour. This much is no surprise to anyone who is a fan of his films.
I can't recommend this book enough. This will tell you how to make your own damn movie step-by-step. This is a must have for anyone who is either interested in making their own (damn) movies, or is interested in learning how Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz did it themselves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "gwarman057" on March 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
In my opinion, this is a great follow-up to Lloyd's previous book, All I Needed to Learn About Filmmaking I Learned From The Toxic Avenger.
If you want a boring compendium of filmmaking techniques that reads like the owner's manual for your car, then stop reading this and go somewhere else, because you are not going to get that with this book.
Those looking for a great introduction to the how-to's of filmmaking will not be disappointed. I myself went into reading this book knowing absolutely nothing about how to make a great film that everyone will love, and I came out still not knowing how to make one, but what I did learn was how you can go about turning an artistic vision from an idea into a film, and keep your shirt (but not necessarily your dignity) in the process.
This book covers the basics of everything you need to know about making your own damn movie, specifically fund-raising, budgeting, screenwriting, hiring the crew, pre-production, legal stuff, getting locations, stunts & special effects, editing, sound mixing, marketing, and distribution.
The writing, done mainly by Lloyd with the help of Citizen Toxie producer Adam Jahnke and Citizen Toxie writer Trent Haaga, is hilarious, employing a mix of fact, instruction, advice, anecdotes, and Troma history to give a well-rounded description of the fundamentals of making your very own, independent movie.
Even for those with a casual interest in Troma films or filmmaking in general, this is a great read.
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