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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.

Frequently Bought Together

Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director + Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player + The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: 2013 Edition
Price For All Three: CDN$ 47.90

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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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5.0 out of 5 stars It's All About The Art May 26 2004
My own media career started when I got my own five minute spot on the local UPN broadcast morning news/feature show. They handed me a Hi-8 camera and told me to "Vary your shots. And don't use the zoom." Then sent me out into the world to make television. Three years, and two cameras, later FOX bought the station, and I was back on my day job, but with a 3 chip camera.
I knew I still wanted to communicate all this great stuff in my head, without being trapped by the "FOX model". I had read an other book written by a guy who made one documentary and was passing himself of as an expert on movie making and distributing on the cheap. I was unimpressed.
A coworker introduced me to TROMA and I bought (full price) Make Your Own Damn Movie. Kaufman has been doing this as a life mission. According to him, his work has been marginalized, rejected, scorned, ridiculed, ignored and sent to the back of the bus (or video store). He has for some reason kept on doing it. And he has attracted legions of fans and cult followers. Seemingly driven by some unholy need based on what, one hopes, was nothing more sinister than maybe an unhappy childhood. Or maybe he just never fit in a straight job. Reading this book makes clear that he has a passion to create art. Art without definition, without a model, without a ton of bland, sell your soul, Hollyweird money.
M.Y.O.D.M. lets you know that it can be done. Kaufman doesn't hold back. He dosn't tell us that it is easy. He goes into detail, sometime graphic, about the amount hard work it takes to realize your art.
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YOUR MOTIVATION: 1) You have enrolled in film school, and you want to have your reel started before your first class, 2) You are IN film school and feel like only the brown-nosers will get their films made, 3) You graduated from film school and realize that Philosophy majors are more employable than you are, 4) You can't even name a film school, you realize these days blockbuster movies are rubbish, and you want to do something about it.
If you were a potter, you would throw pots. A poet would scribe verse, a songwriter scores tunes. Movie makers make movies, and motivated movie makers read "Make Your Own Damn Movie!" If you haven't thrown a pot, written a poem, or jotted down a tune before attending college, you have no business declaring the major. The same goes with movie making, now especially that consumer equipment and Internet collaboration can allow neophyte movie makers to produce on a teenager's allowance. You won't make commercial movies on that budget, you might not even make a good movie, but you will learn something from every movie you make until you finally "get it right".
Lloyd Kaufman has been getting it right for over thirty years in the independent film business; right being defined by Troma Studio culties and admirers. If the selected audience enjoys the movie, it is a good movie. It might even be a great movie. Movie critics only know what appeals to the public or the artists, not necessarily what appeals to you.
So Lloyd's advice to go out there and make your own damn movie can meet no real opposition, only criticism. The real movie maker chews each morsel of criticism ten times and spits out script. Movie makers doing it as long as Lloyd have also spit out books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Arizona Daily Star review April 14 2004
Sunday , April 20, 2003
Edition: FINAL, Section: ACCENT, Page: E11
MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE! by Lloyd Kaufman with Adam Jahnke and Trent Haaga (St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95).
Lloyd Kaufman is the schlock movie director known for unleashing such cinematic disasterpieces as "The Toxic Avenger" and "Tromeo & Juliet" on unsuspecting audiences.
Known for making cheesy, low-budget but fun-to-watch movies on the cheap, he dishes out 30 years worth of filmmaking knowledge in his latest book, a follow-up to "All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger."
Kaufman's new book is strictly for movie nerds, aspiring moviemakers and fans of the writer's films. The writing is often as witty and vulgar as the movies themselves, and Kaufman jams the book full of movie-making knowledge, such as advice on how to use a hamburger-filled melon to substitute for an exploding head.
"Make Your Own Damn Movie!" is hindered most by its choppy structure. Nary a page goes by without at least two or three footnotes. These notes are funny, and are necessary reading to fully appreciate the book, but the device grows annoying within the first few pages.
The notes could have just as easily been included in parentheticals or sidebars. As it stands, what could have been a quick, breezy read is a choppy endurance test.
Phil Villarreal
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Lloyd Kaufman. He created a truly independant film studio that has held it's own ground in the film industry for thirty years. If you want to make your own movies on a shoestring budget, then this book should be your bible. His first book was more of a history of Troma, and didn't concentrate on the step by step details of filmmaking. This book, however, is the perfect guide from start to finish of any film you are about to make. Lloyd's anecdote's and personal humor are also a welcomed commodity. The book is funny, informative, and useful.
Even if you don't plan on making your own movies, Troma fans and regular fans of independant/cult classic films will enjoy this read. It is not only filled with steps to making a movie, but stories from Lloyd's extensive wisdom and experience in the filmmaking field.
I can't recommend this book enough. If you read "Everything I Need To Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenger," definitely pick up this book. I personally enjoyed his second book more. Which is hard to believe, considering how great his first book is.
Also, I would like to thank Lloyd for coming to our university in Milwaukee and giving a very informative lecture about filmmaking. He told me to write this review (good or bad), and I am more than pleased to do so for Lloyd. He's done so much for film fans and makers already, it's the least I can do.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tells it like it is!
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... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Spencer Lavigne
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it like it is!
This is why I love Lloyd - he gives you advice based on how things REALLY are, not how Hollywood tries to sugarcoat itself. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2011 by D
4.0 out of 5 stars A great book that doesn't sugar coat the industry
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... Read more
Published on June 11 2010 by Cameron Gore
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining AND Informative
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. Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2006 by Shakes DaKlown
5.0 out of 5 stars Write your own damn book
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? Read more
Published on Sept. 1 2004 by David A. Lloyd
5.0 out of 5 stars Perversely Inspiring
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... Read more
Published on June 10 2004 by Max A. Collins
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining as it is Informative
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... Read more
Published on June 8 2004 by "thekookyboy"
This jam-packed (or maybe fudge-packed) independent filmmaker's primer is as funny as it is revealing. Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by Joseph Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars I am
I am making my own movie and I learned an invaluable about of things from Lloyd's book. I think everyone needs to piuck this up beaucause he brings such a fresh and different... Read more
Published on May 31 2004 by Brian Simms
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading this book will get you laid.
I went and picked up the book at the store and the chick checking me out thaught i was some hoyty toity film buff and 3 hours later.. boom! got laid. Read more
Published on May 26 2004 by Mike McIlhone
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