The Last Word in Holiday Gifts for Filmmakers
Since the holidays are upon us, I thought putting together a list of books ideal for gift giving to the filmmakers on your list would be in keeping with the spirit of the season. These suggestions are a mix of traditional classics and new pages hot off the press and are bound to delight those interested in movie making…some of them may even end up in your shopping cart as the little something extra you treat yourself to.
Filmmakers and Financing, Fifth Edition: Business Plans for Independents by Louise Levison – Perhaps best known for the business plan she created for the independent cult classic “The Blair Witch Project”, Levison and her book continue to teach filmmakers the importance of the business plan and how to create it. The accompanying CD is a blueprint showing novices the ropes with sample paperwork and spreadsheets, while her words provide a guide for putting all of the pieces together.
The Insider’s Guide To Independent Film Distribution by Stacey Parks – One of my personal favorites in the area of distribution is Stacey and I must admit I’m a member of the online community for her Film Specific website. Her knowledge comes from years in the business working as a sales agent, producer and consultant to many indie producers and filmmakers. This book is jam packed with details related to the area of film distribution including marketing, budgets, business plans and descriptions of the different types of distribution deals available to filmmakers.
Bankroll: A New Approach to Financing Feature Films by Tom Molloy – Known as a writer, producer and actor, Tom has raised funds in order to make his own films and is now passing along his words of wisdom and sharing what has worked for him. His advice comes from the trenches of his own experiences and offers a realistic perspective and refreshing approach to indie financing. Great read for aspiring producers since it serves as a roadmap for those seeking practical and specific how to information.
Think Outside the Box Office: The Ultimate Guide to Film Distribution and Marketing in the Digital Era by Jon Reiss – Currently available through pre-order only, this book is scheduled to make its debut this month. Jon covers the new landscape of independent film marketing and distribution, offering practical advice and specific techniques for negotiating this brave new frontier. Glowingly endorsed by independent film producer, Ted Hope and Scott Macauley, Editor or Filmmaker Magazine, the book promises to become essential reading for anyone looking for answers in this unchartered area.
The Independent Filmmaker’s Law and Business Guide: Financing, Shooting and Distributing Independent and Digital Films by Jon M. Garon – It never hurts to get legal advice from one of the best entertainment attorneys in the business and this is a great guide for filmmakers learning how to prepare for making a film and setting up and structuring a business entity that will allow them to do so. Particularly helpful for no and low budget filmmakers, this legal book is all inclusive in its coverage. Exploring a number of financing and business models, it’s a great resource exploring the pros and cons of various available options.
The Independent FIlmmaker’s Survival Guide: A Business and Legal Sourcebook by J. Gunnar Erickson, Mark Halloran and Harris Tulchin – Although it first debuted in 2002, this book continues to provide an insightful overview of deal making, the development process and ins and outs of independent film financing. The Survival Guide features sample contracts and paperwork and explains in great detail the business aspects of show business and the process of independent film production.
Save the Cat® Strikes Back: More Trouble for Screenwriters to Get Into…and Out Of by Blake Snyder – The last book in the late, great and much beloved Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat trilogy is filled with advice about loglines, genres and the famous “Beat Sheet” for screenwriters. If the person you’re shopping for doesn’t have the first two books in the series, you could also show your generosity by bundling them all together for the “Cat Trick” or hat trick as they say in hockey.
The Film Director Prepares: A Practical Guide for Directing for Film and TV by Myrl A. Schreibman – Beneficial to aspiring and experienced directors alike, this guide provides a step by step look into the process and philosophy of directing. Chock full of practical information and interesting perspectives, Schreibman offers valuable insights into the role of the director and how it relates to budgets, scripts, producers, actors and other elements connected to film production and development. The book is also interactive, containing a CD-Rom with 3d storyboarding software allowing readers to manipulate images and experiment with concepts.
The Art of Film Funding: Alternative Financing Concepts by Carole Lee Dean – Carole is the founder of From the Heart Productions and the Roy W. Dean Grant Foundation, which has helped many filmmakers with financial resources for their projects. In her book she provides valuable information about alternative funding concepts and practical advice on how filmmakers can best utilize this knowledge. Within the pages is lots of detailed data regarding grants, funders, databases and organizations, along with assistance on how to write funding proposals and who to submit them to.
Chris Gore’s Ultimate Film Festival Survival Guide Fourth Edition: The Essential Companion for Filmmakers and Festival Goers by Chris Gore – The newly revised and updated 4th edition of this book provides full listings for over 1,000 film festivals including contact information. Gore offers a detailed analysis of the “Big 10″ festivals along with specific information about marketing, distributing and funding including a guide revealing what to do once your film is accepted. This is a wonderful read for filmmakers trying to sell their projects at these events providing tips for getting in and instructions on what to do once they get there.
This is just a small sampling of the many wonderful written resources available to filmmakers. If you have a favorite that isn’t mentioned on the list, please email and let us know about it. When it comes to sharing this type of information, it’s definitely the more the merrier!