The Complete Guide to Writing, Producing and Directing a Low-Budget Short Film
by Gini Graham Scott
Reviewed by Ruben R. Rosario
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As having the privilege to having gone to film school, I know what it takes to make a short film. I’ve had the opportunity to shoot on 16mm film and shoot on digital formats and know the ups and downs of what it takes to try and attempt at telling a story in this format. Having all of this knowledge at my disposal, I can honestly say that Gini Graham Scott’s The Complete Guide to Writing, Producing and Directing a Low-Budget Short Film is one of the best books written for aspiring filmmakers and an absolute resource for anyone that wants to learn filmmaking, from the bottom up. Scott gives a ton of valuable information within three hundred pages that most people will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for in going to a prestigious film school.
One of the great things about Scott’s book are the real world applications for low budget filmmaking. Everything from corporate videos, tutorials and even low-budget commercials can be used with these same principles. Sure, everyone wants to be Ridley Scott or Wes Anderson, but it’s gonna take time to get there and if you use these same foundations to do that, one day, your hard work is going to pay off. The book is broken down into the four major portions, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production and Promoting Your Film.
In the first portion, Pre-Production, Scott covers a ton of info that is most vital to a production and insuring that everything goes smoothly. From doing rewrites, script breakdowns, planning the budget and getting the cast and crew together, Scott manages to really get to the core of what makes things run on a set and how putting this much effort in the beginning will make things run smoothly. For the Production portion, Scott goes over basic problems that might occur and simply reinforces things like permits, rehearsing with the actors and coordinating rides for the cast and crew. The Post-Production segment goes into getting the right editor for the project, getting proper titles and accreditation for the cast and crew, as well as the possibility of having to go back and shoot some more footage, if you don’t have everything you need. The final segment, Promoting your Film, Scott does a fantastic job at citing many resources and various things to do to get your film out into the world and offers some wonderful tips on how to get to the fruits of you and your crew’s labors.
In this day and age, its very easy for one to attempt to make a film in this digital age. Many people think that they can just pick up a camera and go make a film, but sometimes come to realize that it’s not that easy. Scott’s book reinforces how important all of the aspects of filmmaking are and how one can obtain the skill sets and knowledge, without having to go to film school for it. I think that everyone that is interested in wanting to make films, whether they be feature length or in the short form, can learn a thing or two from this guide, I know I sure did. Highly Recommended!
Ruben R. Rosario is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He’s an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.
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