Making Short Films: The Complete Guide from Script to Screen, Second Edition Reviews

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  1. T. Baron says:
    9 of 10 people found the following review helpful:
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    You have to wade through this to get the good info which there isn’t much of, June 21, 2010
    By 
    T. Baron (Dearborn, MI United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

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    This review is from: Making Short Films: The Complete Guide from Script to Screen, Second Edition (Paperback)

    Just a little background so you know where I’m coming from with this review. I’ve recently gotten into digital video production. I’ve completed 13 credits in production and editing at a local college. I’ve been reading as much as I can about the subject. I have 20 years experience in music, so I’m not new to the creative arts. I am also familiar with FCP7 and Vegas Pro. So far, of the books I’ve read on film production, this one is at the bottom of my list.

    I personally would suggest getting area specific books (lighting, camera operation, direction, etc) as opposed to getting this book as it is anything but a complete guide. Basically what this is an academic style overview of the role of the producer, director, editor, and a few other positions in a short film production. There is some useful information in here such as nice condensed bullet point lists about script writing, producing, and directing. Unfortunately these are buried in pages of boring textbook style lectures on each subject where he spends a lot of time tooting his own horn and telling you about who he’s worked with. The book starts with a long overview of the history of short films (going way way back), which, although historically interesting, has nothing to do with guiding you towards physically “making” a short film right here and now.

    Furthermore, I would estimate that 85% of the resources he talks about in here (casting networks, short film organizations, etc) are all British. As an American, this information was not useful to me. So, if you are hoping to get this type of information for use in the USA, there is some in here, but the vast majority is for the UK.

    Reading the cover of this book “The Complete Guide From Script to Screen” I was under the impression that this book would contain information on script writing, camera work, lighting, editing, and composition. The only one of those that it had any information on was script writing.

    The book/author also seems to be a bit dated. One of the chapters talks about using mini-DV as a good option, but that has been eclipsed by HD for some time now. He also talks a lot about MTV playing some huge role in how young film makers are making films now. Really, MTV? MTV is pretty passe at this point. Things like Youtube (which he also talks about a good amount) are much more in the mainstream than MTV. I don’t know anybody that watches MTV any more (and I know a lot of young people). MTV was in the spotlight in the 80’s and 90’s. He just seems a bit out of touch with the times.

    There is some good info in here about marketing and networking as well as how to work well with others. The way he presents the information about the roles of directors, producers, editors, etc is good reading.

    Overall, I would have given it a better rating if I hadn’t been disappointed in this item not being a “Complete Guide From Script to Screen”. In fact, if this was the only book you had, you might tbe able to figure out how to write a script (minus any info about formatting, brainstorming, writing dialogue), but you will have no idea how to use any of your equipment (technically or artistically).

    My suggestions for better reading would be: Barry Braverman’s “Video Shooter”, “Lighting For DV and TV” by John Jackman, “Writing Short Scripts” by William H. Philips, “Setting Up Your Shots” by Jeremy Vineyard, “Film Directing Cinematic Motion” by Steven Katz, “FCP7 Apple Pro Training Series” by Diana Weynand, and “On Film Editing” by Edward Dmytryk. – These would be the complete guide to actually “MAKING” a short (or feature) film.

    I repeat, you will find nothing in here about shooting, composition, lighting, or editing. You’ll find out a little about what the director, producer, director of photography, and editor do, but not much about how to do it.

    This would be better titled “A Brief History of Short Films and an Overview of the Professional Positions Involved in Making Them – and a Little Bit About Script Writing”.

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  2. davo rhinehart "lucius" says:
    3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    essential, November 16, 2008
    By 

    This review is from: Making Short Films: The Complete Guide from Script to Screen, Second Edition (Paperback)

    i can’t believe my luck, stumbling across this title. it really is “the only guide you will ever need” lots of titles claim this, few deliver. an A to Z of every important, unknown, or plain overlooked piece of info you will need to get your film on the screen.should be in every film school or film studies class

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  3. Frank E. Ticich says:
    1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Informative Guide to Short Film Self-Education, April 17, 2011
    By 

    This review is from: Making Short Films: The Complete Guide from Script to Screen, Second Edition (Paperback)

    Mr. Thurlow has designed a book for any aspiring filmmaker. The writing is easy to understand and friendly. I felt as if he was speaking directly to me but not in a pedantic tone. He brings a nurturing and ethical sensisbility in describing script development and dealing with actors and crew. The positive outlook is inspiring and through his own comments and other author citations, the idea of allowing your creative juices to flow in filmmaking and an in other endeavors is inspiring. The idea being that one creative act effects another, if only by giving permission to think outside of convention, can be liberating. Writing, painting, filmmaking, photography, acting…each plays into the other and the relationships are enduring and artistically fruitful. Mr. Thurlow’s description of adapting his short, “Greta May” from a short story is enlightening and includes the added atraction of the actual story being printed along with the script. Using his web site you can also view the film and obtain a complete picture of the entire process.

    All aspects of making a short are covered in short, easy to digest chapters. Tpoics include: script development; roles of the producer, director, and editor; financing & distribution; adding sound; crewing; casting; and finding locations. The press kit is extremely helpful and advice on festivals and personal web sites rounds out the fully independent nature of the book. A particularly helpful bit of advice on script structure is his “Eight-Point Guide to Making Short Films”, which he uses as one criteria for success on “Greta May”. While acknowledging the need to cultivate relationships, independence is always foremost in encouraging a filmmaker to pursue the art with courage and self-sufficiency. This is truly an all-in-one book that will be essential in giving birth to a career as a filmmaker.

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