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.
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 TribbyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved