Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts

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  1. Jeremy T. Hanke "Jeremy Hanke" says:
    14 of 14 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Review of “Filmmaking for Teens” that appeared in Microfilmmaker.com, November 17, 2005
    By 
    Jeremy T. Hanke “Jeremy Hanke” (Lexington, KY) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols teach filmmaking at a high school in Austin, Texas. Because they were never able to find a good textbook that effectively taught filmmaking while holding the ever-wandering attention of teens, they decided to write their own book. The result was Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts. By breaking down the complex process of creating and completing a short, the authors show that it is possible for anyone to make movies.

    Comprehension
    This is not your typical, mind-numbing textbook on how to make a movie; it simplifies the process of filmmaking by shortening the length of the project: just 5-6 minutes. Filmmaking for Teens gives you an idea of what to plan for when making a film by going over all of the essentials. As you read the book, you start to understand that this is pretty much the same process that all big-budget Hollywood films go through… just on a much smaller scale.

    The writing is humorous in a satirical, tongue-in-cheek way (you know… the way high schoolers are), while at the same time not getting too ridiculous. It explains the technical side of moviemaking in language that both techie geeks and novices can understand and appreciate.

    Depth of Information
    For its (relatively) small size, this book packs a LOT of information in. Starting with brainstorming (or, as they call it, “brainshowering”), they walk the reader through writing, planning, filming, and finally editing the film. The authors give several guidelines and pointers for obtaining equipment, finding locations, organizing a cast and crew, and getting attention for the finished product.

    The cool thing is they also emphasize creativity, professionalism, and responsibility with their teen audience. While they give suggestions, they rarely promote “shortcuts”; instead, they encourage the reader to learn to do things properly, with the understanding that the process will become easier with each project.

    Interest Level
    There is no danger of this book losing your attention. It’s technical and challenging enough to keep your brain cells engaged and operating, but the humor that is woven in with it makes this book both interesting and enjoyable.

    Reusability
    This book is definitely one to keep as a reference for when you do your projects or to recommend to a friend. The summaries at the end of each chapter can be used on almost any film project, no matter the size. There is also valuable information included about publicity, generating funding for future films, and entering student film festivals. For any young (or even old!) aspiring filmmaker, this book will be your “film bible”.

    Value vs. Cost
    Although the retail price of the book is $18.95, you can buy it from the Michael Weise website for less than $15. Is it worth it? Heck yes. That and a whole lot more. The amount of time, money, and headache this will help prevent is immeasurable. I wish that I had had this book two years ago when I was the producer on my first indie film; it would’ve made things a lot easier. (Okay, well, somewhat easier at least.) For anyone, teenager, parent, grandparent, whoever, interested in learning more about making films, this book is an absolute must.

    Overall Comment
    The thing that I really enjoy the most about this book is that, although it is written for teens, it isn’t limited to them; anyone with an interest in film can make a short project after reading this book.

    The book takes the reader through the entire process of making a short film, planning for a shooting schedule of 3 days (usually found during those semi-holiday extended weekends). Three days is a reasonable amount of time that even most adults would be able to spare. Think about it: if teens-who have little to no money, might or might not have a car (let alone one that works!), and are juggling school, homework, a job, and extracurricular activities-can make a 5-6 minute film, who says that an adult can’t?

    Understandability – 9.5
    Depth of Information – 9.0
    Interest Level – 9.0
    Reusability – 10.0
    Value vs. Cost – 10.0
    Total Score – 9.5

    Reviewed by Kari Ann Morgan
    Microfilmmaker.com

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  2. Celeste Thoms "Moviemaker330" says:
    10 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Inspiring! Great for Any Age, October 3, 2005
    By 
    Celeste Thoms “Moviemaker330” (Rochester,NY) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    I read a article in MovieMaker Magazine about teen filmmakers and it mentioned this book. I checked out some websites and looked at some movies made by teens and it was great.
    I’m a 22 year old filmmaker and I wanted to read this book. I may not be a teen, but it does not matter. This book explains things other books don’t. You pretty much have to learn this stuff on your own. Like it talked a lot about getting good pictures and sound from your camera. Just great stuff.
    Why didn’t they write this book 7 years ago. I would have been making movies over and over again when I was 15 years old. They make the process so open. I read film books for adults and I couldn’t understand that stuff at the time, so I waited until college.
    This book is great for all ages.

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  3. e-rock "e-rock" says:
    6 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Practical Insights into film production from a veteran., July 27, 2006
    By 
    e-rock “e-rock” (Burbank, CA USA) –

    The big difference between Becker’s book and a lot of those other “Make a Digital Feature with your spare change” books is that he tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Making a movie, even a short or a mediocre one is VERY hard work. Your movie may suck. If you don’t spend time and effort on the story, it most likely will. How will you sell/market it? There are movies with stars that can’t find distribution so your independant movie with no stars better be damn good. I work in computer animation, and digital is not the solution to all problems like some of these books profess (although it can be a big help in many aspects). Film still looks better and is easier to light. Becker approaches filmmaking with a straightforward no-bs atitude. He has a chip on his shoulder when it comes to Hollywood and the state of recent movies, which according to him have been in a slump since the late ’70s. Even if you disagree with him his rants are entertaining and well informed. He just wants to see better movies like all of us. If you want a touchy feely book that says you are special, all your ideas are wonderful and you will inevitably succeed, look elsewhere. If you want a realistic perspective and useful info on the entire film production process, buy his book. It doesn’t have the whole puzzle but it has a lot of the pieces.

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  4. J. Luke "J.Luke" says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Great advise a must read for film makers, September 28, 2010
    By 
    J. Luke “J.Luke” (UT) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: The Complete Guide to Low-Budget Feature Filmmaking (Paperback)

    Josh Beck has a down to earth realistic style to his writing. He doesn’t fill you with crap, about how easy it is to make a movie. This is the Third book I’ve read on film making. His writing style is of the true artist. He’s honest and tells you straight up, what it actually takes to make a movie. I’ve read A Rebel with out a crew first. Which was a fun read, but it didn’t say how to make a movie. Josh, gives real advise and his bit on how to deal with actors is great. He has a direct approach to making movies and follows some very strict guidelines about budgeting. Which makes sense if you’re paying for your own movie. He covers vast amounts of information in his book. He covers editing, cost of film, production, post production and much more. He even was nice enough to explain what the job titles are and who does what and why. But he get angry if you even mention the kelvin scale. Telling us to go look it up. A paragraph could have covered that. But he’s right look it up. It’s complicated. Or take my approach purchase a reader and plug the numbers in. Saves you time and hassle. Or check it out on wikipedia.

    “The kelvin is often used in the measure of the color temperature of light sources. Color temperature is based upon the principle that a black body radiator emits light whose color depends on the temperature of the radiator. Black bodies with temperatures below about 4000 K appear reddish whereas those above about 7500 K appear bluish. Color temperature is important in the fields of image projection and photography where a color temperature of approximately 5600 K is required to match “daylight” film emulsions. In astronomy, the stellar classification of stars and their place on the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram are based, in part, upon their surface temperature, known as effective temperature. The photosphere of the Sun, for instance, has an effective temperature of 5778 K.”- wikipedia

    He uses his own movies as examples and a few others. Make sure to rent his movies so you understand what he is talking about. But even if you don’t watch his movies it’s still easy to understand what he is talking about when it comes to transitions and editing techniques. Though, this book may discourage a few people from going into the movie business; since the cost of film is outrageous. About 100 grand for a 90 min movie. The book felt a little dated since he didn’t cover anything about new technology such as how most studios use final cut pro and convert their film to digital. But I do believe he is correct in stating that shooting on film is higher quality than any digital camera you might posses. He explains the types of film for camera and the cost and the trouble of not using the best film available. Overall, its a good book to purchase if you want a real taste of what it takes to make a movie. I have never made a movie but would like to someday. So reading and thinking like Josh is the first step.

    The quality of the paper and the book overall is poor. The paper is a gray and the ink was light. So if you have bad eyes it could be troublesome. The design on the book is clutter. The sketches in the book are fine, they get the message across, but could have been improved. At times the book can be a touch reminiscent on areas of people he didn’t like or fired. But no names were mentioned and since this was his personal experience its only normals to have a few examples of people you hired don’t perform. Though, I felt that how to fire someone wasn’t necessary.

    If you don’t know anything about film or movies this is a must read. It will make you appreciate the art of film making and the hard work it takes to produce a quality movie. Thanks Josh for the book. I’ll look forward to seeing your next movie.

    Please forgive the writing errors. I’m not a professional writer.

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  5. Tim Roessler, book lover says:
    3 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Road Tested. Smart, Invaluable, June 29, 2006
    By 
    Tim Roessler, book lover (Boulder, CO USA) –

    This book is packed with solid, tested, real-world advice about filmmaking. Ignore it, and you’ll waste time, money, and energy piddling around. Ask me, because I made a short film before I read it. Had I spent more time with Becker’s book, I would’ve had a better time getting the film together, and perhaps a better film. The book’s like having an ideal big brother take you aside and give you the low down. Out of the several books I’ve read, this offered the most practical and solid advice – not surprising, since Becker’s actually directed four independent films, along with some TV shows. Profit from his experience. I can’t emphasize enough how much more valuable this book has been to me than nearly every other `how to’ guide out there.

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