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Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director [Paperback]

Lloyd Kaufman , Adam Jahnke , Trent Haaga , Trey Parker , James Gunn
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 5 2003

Lloyd Kaufman, the writer/producer/director of such cult-classic films as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High, and Tromeo and Juliet, offers a guide to movie-making unlike any other available anywhere. In 25 years, Kaufman, along with partner Michael Herz, has built Troma Studios up from a company struggling to find its voice in a field crowded with competitors to its current--and legendary--status as a lone survivor, a bastion of true cinematic independence, and the world's greatest collection of camp on film.

As entertaining and funny as it is informative and insightful, Make Your Own Damn Movie! places Kaufman's radically low-budget, independent-studio style of filmaking directly in the reader's hands. Thus we learn how to: develop and write a knock-out screenplay; raise funding; find locations and cast actors; hire a crew; obtain equipment, permits, and music rights (all for little or no money); make incredible special effects for $0.79 each; charm, schmooze, and network while on the film-festival circuit; and, finally, make a bad actor act so bad it's actually good.

From scriptwriting and directing to financing and marketing, this book is brimming with utterly off-the-wall, decidedly maverick, yet consistently proven advice on how to fully develop one's idea for an independent film.


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Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director + Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player + The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: 2013 Edition
Price For All Three: CDN$ 48.62

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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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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells it like it is! Aug. 27 2013
Format:Paperback
This book is most definitely a must-read for any aspiring filmmaker, period.

If you're looking for great advice that doesn't sugar coat the realities of the movie industry, then look no further. In this book, you'll find a well written tome of fantastically valuable insight into what actually goes into making your movie.

Just do yourself a favour and pick this one up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it like it is! Aug. 30 2011
By D
Format:Paperback
This is why I love Lloyd - he gives you advice based on how things REALLY are, not how Hollywood tries to sugarcoat itself. This guy has been around almost 40 years surviving where many others have either failed or sold out. These books are wonderful, funny, and actually informative. Go Troma!!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great book that doesn't sugar coat the industry June 11 2010
Format:Paperback
Make Your Own Damn Movie is a great book for aspiring independant film makers.Where anyone with a camcorder can make a movie these days, this book shows you how to stand out from the rest.It covers do's and don'ts of independant film making, and it is funny in parts as well.I've seen a lot of film making books that could pass as substitutes for sleeping pills.I have met Lloyd at a comic con and he is down to earth as his book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining AND Informative Oct. 26 2006
Format:Paperback
Lloyd Kaufman's "Make Your Own Damn Movie!" is a hilarious look at the in's and out's as well as the do's and don'ts of the independent film industry. A must for any up-and-coming filmmaker or just a casual movie fan. You get over 30 years of cinematic know-how in an easy to read, highly entertaining package. Lloyd is a true artist and should get the recognition he deserves. THIS BOOK IS HILARIOUS!!!!! BUY IT NOW!!!!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Write your own damn book Sept. 1 2004
Format:Paperback
Lloyd Kaufman's second book, "Make Your Own Damn Movie", is the story behind the story delving into the secrets of a renegade guerilla filmmaker.
You follow?
If you didn't know, Lloyd Kaufman is one of the few genuine auteur filmmakers left in the world. He (along with fellow filmmaker Michael Herz) built Troma Studios, the oldest and, most likely, the longest-running truly independent film studio in history. He's also the creator of The Toxic Avenger. If the three decades of cinematic wizardry he has doesn't inspire you to seek out his knowledge then go back to flipping burgers.
Kaufman knows his stuff. He knows filmmaking. He knows how to tell a story regardless of the medium.
Listen to what he has to say. Listen and learn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Perversely Inspiring June 10 2004
Format:Paperback
Is this book funny? Sure, often hysterically. But it's much more -- Lloyd Kaufmann, perhaps the nastiest sweet man on the planet, reveals invaluble truths, secrets and techniques to indie filmmakers. Between the profane, self-immolating anecdotes, Kaufmann provides the skinny on surviving in the trenches of low/no budget moviemaking. Very few filmmaking books are by real filmmakers, and Kaufmann is a quirky, much underrated auteur with a style and vision that rivals John Waters (that the Troma guru's films are funny, entertaining and smart is often lost on critics and even viewers, caught up in his punk theatrics). Even if you have a real budget of several hundred thousand dollars or even a mil, Kaufmann has much to teach you, and -- between the laughs -- sobering truths to share. As an indie director myself, I wish I'd had this book to guide me on my first effort; and I still find it useful and perversely inspiring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining as it is Informative June 8 2004
Format:Paperback
A good lesson if you are going to make a movie. Has great outlines of what to do, what not to do, and points you in the general direction of things you may be able to use for your first project.
Gives a great behind the scenes look at troma movies as well.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ***** CITIZEN KAUFFMAN TUTORS THE DISTURBED May 31 2004
Format:Paperback
This jam-packed (or maybe fudge-packed) independent filmmaker's primer is as funny as it is revealing. A wildly entertaining read, the book (and Lloyd's previous treaure, All I Learned About Filmmaking...) inspires the aspiring Ed Wood. Lloyd details the trashy glamour and labour of love that's been his crusade for 30 years. And the stories behind notorious gems (or germs) like Tromeo and Juliet, Class of Nuke 'em High and the Toxic Avenger are as unique as the films they expose.
If you're out there, Lloyd: "Thanks for mentoring the next generation of film freaks, Lloyd. You're one of a kind, and you've made the world a better place for freaks like us."
Joe Black
Joe Black's Midnight Spookshow
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