- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (Aug. 20 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060084677
- ISBN-13: 978-0060084677
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.9 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #244,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
How to Shoot a Feature Film for Under $10,000: And Not Go To Jail Paperback – Aug 20 2002
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About the Author
Bret Stern started making feature films the day after college. He and some fanatical friends waited for the campus to empty out over Christmas break, and after taking the stuff in the school's equipment room, Bret and his crew spent seven days cranking out a feature film -- the only setbacks were the foreign students who raided the set for reading materials and the fake blood with chicken giblets that backed up the dorm's drainage system. After that there was only one alternative left -- to keep making movies. A brief stint as a location scout and then as Slaveboy at a New York commercial production company followed. Before getting fired Bret moved up from Slaveboy to Whipping Boy and then shot some commercials as Director of Photography. Once the hammer dropped, Bret had to decide which path to pursue, and although commercial work pays better, who could resist the opportunity to sleep in a cot in a bar for a week and take showers with a garden hose in the basement? What followed were the feature films Perfect Lies and Dark Tides (where Bret got to sleep on a real bed but he had to share it with his Assistant Director). After much abuse, he felt back into his role as DP, shooting and directing many commercials. Days after he had enough money for the down payment on a house (and faster than his wife could say "Hutch and China set"), Bret was at work on Road to Park City, which opened the 2000 Slamdance Film Festival and played in over fifteen others. What's next for Bret? After acquiring the grandfather clock for the house, it was time for the next feature -- a sci-fi extravaganza with a budget of $10,000, minus one cent.
Top customer reviews
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If you only have money for one or the other, however, go with this one! There's some really great information in here. If you judge this book by its cover, then you'll probably make the mistake of thinking that it's for those kids next door who want to make a prequel to Clerks. It might work for them, but it also loads of valuable stuff that will make you sound a lot more experienced most people you know who think that they know what making movies is all about. Check out Bret's credentials on imdb.com, too.
The only hazard I found was the author's gender bias; female readers be prepared to have "your girlfriend" referred to often, and to skim over advice about not using direct lighting on girls' faces, etc.
Yet also be prepared for a treat in the how-to publishing world: an author who has genuine knowledge to share, who doesn't refrain from enumerating the specifics (or so I think...), and who doesn't seem like the type who would need to be writing for money.
Bret offers advice on how to get people to work for free by offering film credits. But why not just do it all yourself aka. 1 man band Robert Rodriguez?
Also the rear blurb reads "Rent a camera for 2 weeks and pay for only 2 days..." but inside all you'll find is a way of scamming your rental house by renting for a week but picking it up the friday before (hoping they wont be open and wont charge you for the weekend) and then wanting to drop it off on the following Friday hoping to be told to bring it in monday. And then timing it so Monday is a holiday and you get it until Tuesday!! Thats 11 days and you'll sill have to pay for 5 if it works!!
So although a fun book to read a lot of it needs to be taken with a pinch of salt!! Do yourself a favour and read Robert Rodriguez's "Rebel Without a Crew" before you read any other film making book. If you still need advice and inspiration then get this book too!
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