The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age

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  1. Nathan Andersen "film lover, philosophy profe... says
    21 of 21 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    An excellent overview of the business of filmmaking, December 23, 2004
    By 

    This review is from: The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (Paperback)

    For those who love films but don’t really know what’s involved in their getting made, this is an excellent guide. Of course, it’s even more indispensible for those who hope one day to make a film but aren’t currently involved in the business. I emphasize “business” here because this isn’t really a guide to the art of making films; you could imagine a similar book called “The Entrepeneur’s Handbook: A comprehensive guide to establishing your own business in the age of the internet” and it would cover the same types of topics. For a guide to the art of filmmaking/directing, my favorite book is “Film Directing Fundamentals” by Nicholas Proferes. But for the practical and day to day and big picture of the business of filmmaking, “The Filmmaker’s Handbook” is Indispensible: an excellent and thorough introduction and guide to the processes, the people, the arrangements, the contracts, the details that go into making films, especially independent films.

    I required this book as one of the textbooks for my film history course on “American Independent Film” because it seemed to me there was no better way to indicate to students how much is involved in getting films made. It’s a very helpful piece of the course and gives students a perspective that they wouldn’t get from my own emphasis on film theory and criticism.

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  2. Franz von Habsburg says
    24 of 26 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    For the beginner and the proffesional, this book has it all!, April 30, 1999
    By A Customer
    This review is from: The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (Paperback)

    As an aspiring young filmmaker, the first thing I was told to do was go out and get a copy of the Filmmaker’s Handbook. Imagine my surprise when I found out that the book had been updated in March of 1999, and that now it included all kinds of information about the digital age. I have learned so much from this book. The book goes over the entire film process, and does it in a straight-forward manner. It is a great start for beginners, yet it includes a rich amount of information for the professional. Anyone who has ever thought about a career in film really needs to get a copy of this book. Written in a manner that neither patronizes nor confuses the reader, the Filmmaker’s Handbook is the best book I have skimmed or read on film, and believe me, I’ve looked at a lot.

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  3. Cathode Ray Shadow says
    9 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Essential Reading, May 2, 2004
    By A Customer

    This book gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to telling students/readers what works and what doesn’t, what is necessary and what isn’t, when it comes to searching for funds for your project. A lot of the information appeared to be common sense, but then I realized it was the writer who made it appear so simple. I read another book where you had to be an accountant or attorney to make heads or tales of the information. This book spells everything out in plain English and makes you fully comprehend what you’re reading with creative examples and comparisons. This book is essential reading for anyone seriously interested in taking the next step as a filmmaker.

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  4. David Park says
    10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Great Book For Indie Filmmakers!, May 22, 2004
    By 

    This book is well-written and straight to the point. If you’re an independent filmmaker living in the U.S.A. and have a project that you need to get FUNDED, well, you’re going to need a plan of action and a well-written business plan, whether your investors are friends and family or unknown doctors and lawyers.

    This book takes you through the process, shows you what you need to compile, and gives great resource information for doing just that. There is also an excellent SAMPLE BUSINESS PLAN that you can use as a nice blueprint for your own personalized plan.

    Mr. Campisi has been in the movie business a long time and has raised funds for quite a few business ventures (inside and outside the biz), so his knowledge and information is invaluable. This book cuts right to the chase and will get you motivated and on the road to securing funds for your project. It’s a long and uncertain road, but this book, along with a few others, is a great way to get your business plan underway so you can get down to the business of making a movie!

    Well worth the money.

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  5. Anonymous says
    7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    It’s all in the plan…, June 18, 2007
    By 
    David Park (Austin, TX) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This book has two sections: the first outlines the requirements of a business plan, and the second is a sample business plan, with the intention that you copy it and fill in the blanks.

    The first section is very helpful in giving you an overview of what is expected in a business plan, and why. Most crucially, it gets you thinking about your investor and what they are looking for from the deal. Many projects that reach the business-plan stage fail because they to not acknowledge the business element of filmmaking, but focus on the artistic merits of the project. In reading the first section, you’ll gain a good understanding of the steps to present your project to an investor. A slight weakness of this is the presumption that you’ll have an army of entertainment lawyers to complete the funding process. This is advisable, but not always the case.

    The second section, however, is where the book falls short. Reading through the business plan, it is laborious in its repetition – while there is a need to restate some facts or intentions, this plan goes overboard. It is also quite poorly structured: for example, half the plan is an overview of the filmmaking process that assumes your investor knows nothing about film. This information should be in an appendix – an investor should not have to wade through 20 pages of this before reaching the numbers and projections they’re really interested in.

    In summary, this is a good guide to the realities of presenting your project to investors, but it doesn’t deliver as well on that promise as it could. Still a worthwhile read and a useful addition to any low- to mid-level filmmaker’s bookshelf.

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