- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Cengage Learning PTR; 2 edition (March 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1598631896
- ISBN-13: 978-1598631890
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 69 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #829,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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$30 Film School 2nd Edition
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The definitive book on micro-filmmaking with all of the passion and attention to detail that it deserves. -- Microfilmmaker Magazine, April 15, 2006
About the Author
Michael W. Dean is a true multimedia artist. He is the director of the films D.I.Y. OR DIE: How to Survive as an Independent Artist and HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow. He toured the United States and Europe in 2002 and 2003 with D.I.Y. or DIE and recently debuted HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow at the Deauville (France) American Film Festival. A prolific author, Dean's previous books include $30 Music School and $30 Writing School, as well as the critically acclaimed novels Starving in the Company of Beautiful Women and The Simple Pleasures of a Complex Girl. He also co-wrote the book Digital Music DIY Now!, and he contributes to MAKE Magazine. Dean has been interviewed on NPR, BBC radio, and PBS, and was featured on NBC, VH1, and in Variety Magazine. He lectures at colleges, museums, and youth centers throughout America and Europe. Dean has always been interested in art -- before embarking on writing/filmmaking, he was the lead singer of Bomb (Warner Brothers). They released four albums.
Top customer reviews
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at least get this book first, read it, and make some projects.
Save literally 10s of thousands of dollars.
More is covered in this book than I learned in 2 years of my associates degree in Madison WI.
There is a lot of good information and fairly useful information when it comes to shooting, writing or producing your film. A lot of the information is biased towards non-profit funding and trying to establish your project as a non-profit which is difficult to do and wont fit most projects. Likewise a lot of advice is directed towards a documentary project. I can definately see where the information is useful on other styles of projects as well.
Aside from a few minor technical errors in reference to computer storage capacity vs. dvd capacity this book is very intuitive and gets right to the point. It's also written in such a way that you dont need to read the whole book cover to cover - you can read the chapters that you feel you need to learn about and skimming over some of the chapters that you are really confident about didn't make me feel like I was missing something. For example, I come from a video editing background and the video editing chapters didn't show me anything new so I skipped past them. I have since gone back and read them to make sure nothing was missed but nothing really was.
An excellent book and a definate must buy for anyone interested in learning to put movies together.
The overriding theme that springs from the pages of this book is that anything is possible, even when you have nothing. Whatever the result you're trying to achieve, if you compromise enough and if you're ingenious enough, you can achieve it. It's jumbled. It's disorganized, but that's okay, because filmmaking at the guerilla level is disorganized too.
I did have to deduct a star because the author does tend to go in occasional segues about his sexual conquests, or the circumstances he has found himself in. If these bother you, this may not be the book you're looking for; that said, they do give an insight into the author who recently made the hit documentary "HUBERT SELBY JR: It/ll Be Better Tomorrow" - which is interesting in itself.
Over-Priced, Bloated, and Terribly Written.
The author openly admits to not being much of a writer and makes his best effort to write a useful and informative book, though he fails miserably at it. I have seen his "documentary" twice now and have an equal opinion of his ability to write/direct/produce video. This book is full of his own idiosyncrasies that, in no way, share any useful information with the reader. This book should be re-titled "How to survive making a movie with the author; Chronicles of his terrible video documentary: 'D.I.Y. or Die'".
Throughout the book, he displays poor judgment and even worse writing:
"don't put stickers or tape on your camera, because the sticky stuff on the back can end up gumming up the mechanisms that make it work."
The next logical question to the author would be: "Where the hell were you putting those stickers?"
The Fundraising section is not worth the pages it's printed on. Obviously, the publishing company was aiming for a page count and they were going to GET IT.
He is overly dramatic, to put it lightly, about people who are late to anything. He even goes as far as to provide to you an excerpt from a letter to someone who cancelled a meeting/appointment on him. It is absurd, obtuse, and I won't even bother quoting it here (it's also very lengthy).
Another example of campy advice is when he suggests that you should seek out people who "practice martial arts" as a way to "guard the equipment with their lives while you're busy paying attention to other crap."
Seriously? This sounds like something out of a Jared Hess movie (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre).
In another stroke of writing genius the author suggests that, in reference to location producing, you "Direct your own traffic. Reserve your own parking spaces. Big movie productions screw up traffic all the time...Wearing overalls might help."
Is he just looking for a lawsuit from some unsuspecting reader who goes and gets themselves arrested? Oh wait, after a full paragraph of law breaking suggestions, he throws in the caveat "Of course, I would never condone or recommend that you do anything illegal".
My question is simple: How did this book ever make it to print? Is there seriously no other person who has the knowledge to write a book like this?
This is his example of how to "make the best with what you have, in an interesting way":
"For example, I paid 150 bucks to have 1,500 D.I.Y. stickers printed. When I got them, I realized I had misspelled "independent" as "independant" artist.
Stickerguy.com was really cool and reprinted them correctly for half price, even though it was my fault. I was really distraught about whether to throw the wrong-printed ones away. I thought about sending them to a friend in Germany, but someone pointed out that the German public school system is so good that kids there would have probably noticed it quicker than an American.
I'm sending them to a man in Greece who's gonna give them out there. When he sent me an e-mail that said, "I your film want show Greece soon send plase can you?" I knew I had my answer. Doubt anyone there will notice."
...I don't need to comment.
The Computers, Editing Images, Editing Audio, and Your Own DVD chapters are dated and utterly useless. Do not follow a single word in these chapters. There is scant advice throughout them and if you are at all interested in these topics, get an actual book on the subjects. They are FAR too in-depth to be covered in this book, and the author's inability to write certainly exacerbates the issue.
The book is intentionally fluffed up with useless scene shots, example documents, and other fodder that provides no meaningful information to the reader, yet take up several pages (see pages 148-149) "slating without a clapper"; a page and a half snapshots of a person clapping their hands to simulate a wooden clapper.
This book may seem comprehensive, but it is not, in any way, encompassing of the topics set fourth in the Table of Contents. The author's 'stream-of-consciousness' writing style is uninformative and irritating. It is full of his personal quirks, misgivings, and mannerisms. I could continue to cite dozens of examples, further supporting my overall dislike of the book, but I'd prefer to just recommend that any potential reader consider buying separate, individual books for each of the major facets of the film making industry: writing, producing, directing, etc.
So if you're completely new to film making, and have no clue where to start, read this book. As a broke college student, I like the fact that the book actually bothers to talk about consumer cameras and no budget lighting. Some other film books I have read, that claim things like any budget or any camera, tend to only cover prosumer cameras in any detail. The $30 Film School is truly the any budget film school.
Now if you are like me, and you spend all of your time thinking about making movies instead of actually making movies, you NEED to read this book. The one thing that I took away from this book, much more than the basic technical knowledge, most of which I have already learned online, was the mentality of just getting out there and doing it. It's time for me to get up and go make my own movie.