MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE
This will without any doubt for a long time to come be the most important release of this century for anyone who is even remotely interested in the wonderful world of independent films. Of course, primarily, this set is aimed at those amongst us who have ideas about making a film of their own, but were disencouraged by the fact that the entire market is dominated by only a few big conglomerates which only care for the big bucks and not so much about artistic value. Indeed it is impossible to even dream about making something that resembles your own idea if even you have the odd chance of finding some access into that world to begin with. Independent is the word, and much contrary to popular belief a lot of independent films are being made still, the DVD market being a very important factor in all this, because the theatres are owned by aforementioned conglomerates. Troma is (as anyone should know by now) the best, longest livingindependent studio, and the best example of the fact that there is definitely a market for real films, made by real people who love films, for the sheer love of the matter.
Lloyd Kaufman's MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE book already gave a lot of insight in the possibilities (and the troubles that have to be overwon) of making one's own movie, and this 5-DVD box set is an invaluable companion release. Although the box mentions that the running time is appr. 12 hours it is in reality something about 18 hours in total, and it offers an immense collection of examples, insights through on-set recordings of quite a few different independent films, tips from renowned filmmakers who made it (Sam Raimi, Trey Parker, Mat Stone, George A. Romero Games Gunn, Eli Roth, Jenna Fischer, to name but a few) and hig- and lowlights from Mr. Kaufman's own 30-plus years of experience in making independent films. What you get is very important advice from those who know how it works from the inside. This is not the regular linear boring list of rules, this is quite the opposite: how to survive in the guerilla way of filmmaking where nothing is linear. And the set gains a lot of quality and importance from just that construction, because instead of dry lessons that most of the time can't be related to reality we get to see how others did it and actually made it, and where others failed and how you could avoid the same mistakes.
The book was quite unputdownable, this set of dvd's is very much unputoffable. Once you start exploring the set there is no way you can simply turn it off without thinking "let's check just one more item" every time. A few items have been released earlier as extra's on deluxe versions of dvd releases of certain films before, but many might have missed out on those, and even if that is not the case having everything here in one easy-to-handle collection is superb. The inclusion of an early Kaufman film (Battle of love's return, decribed by another reviewer as terrible) is extremely important, because the audio-commentary provides a workshop deconstruction of this film, making it clear where things can go wrong. An added bonus is the fact that this important film is finally available on DVD here.
But even if you don't have any plans to make your own film, the set is highly entertaining for those interested in the long and unique history of the only surviving REALLY independent filmstudio there is, and for anyone interested in what goes on behind these sometimes forgotten beauties created outside of the Hollywood system. It shows the love for film of so many people and the troubles they have to and are willing to go through to make their dream come true. An infinite number of discs of this content couldn't be enough to satisfy my hunger. As it is this generous set is absolutely the best, most entertaining and most informative Filmschool available anywhere.