Filmmaking Books Worth A Read

When I was working to make my first feature, I read a bunch of filmmaking books. I wanted to find out how to finish my screenplay and how to raise money for my movie. The problem was, much of the information was bogus.

A lot of those “experts” had never even made a movie! One guy even said I should ask my dentist or doctor for money.  Frustrating.

Fortunately, I found few a great filmmaking books. Here are my top 3! I didn’t put these filmmaking books in order, but in full disclosure I did use affiliate links that will redirect you to Amazon. If you don’t like Amazon, get these books somewhere else, but do read them!

  1. How I Made A Hundred Movies In Hollywood And Never Lost A Dime – In this book, Roger Corman explains how he was able to build an amazing motion picture business. Now before you decide that Roger doesn’t make the type of movies you want to make – think again. New technology allows filmmakers to make movies rapidly. So it’s very possible you’ll make your first feature film sooner than you think. But the real money in movies will be your ability to sustain the product pipeline. (In other words, you need to make many movies, not just one.) Roger provides a great model for this type of thinking.
  2. Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices: How to Write, Direct, Shoot, Edit, and Produce a Digital Video Feature for Less Than $3,000 – In this book, Rick Schmidt wrote one of the classics. Despite changes in technology, one thing remains – If you are going to make a feature film, you need to take action! Rick also has workshops where you can collaborate with other filmmakers and come out with a feature film.
  3. Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player – I got this one for a gift. After reading how Robert Rodriquez sold his body to science, made a feature and became famous. If he could make feature films, so can you!

Aside from those books, I’d like to recommend one more. Filmmaking Stuff: How To Make Your Movie In 21 Steps – Ok, this is the book I wrote. But unlike the other stuff I mentioned, you can get this filmmaking book for free.

Independent Film Financing

United States one-dollar bill

Today, I’m going to offer yet another bit of perspective on the whole question of how to raise money for movies.

As you may or may not know, independent film funding can be a little overwhelming. If you’ve ever dabbled in the business side of making a movie, you know what I mean. The first time I heard people talk about writing a business plan or offering a private placement memorandum, I suddenly felt like I was on another planet. And if you’re like most filmmakers, you would much rather focus on actually getting your movie made, instead of cold calling rich and successful people to set up random pitch meetings.

  • So, the first challenge you have in the world of film finance is: How do I find investors for my movie?
  • The second challenge is: How will my feature film provide enough ROI (return on investment) for my investor?

Assuming you’ve followed some of my previous advice on creating relationships with rich and successful people, even if you do make a favorable impression on a few rich folks, your potential film investors may still shy away from making an investment in your project. Why? Because without star talent, a known director, a film distribution outlet and an experienced crew – it’s very tough to answer the important question of ROI.

Your potential investors want to know how you plan on spending their money, how you plan on getting their money back, and when. Can you provide your investors with this information? If not, then you can understand why independent film financing, especially for your first feature, can be a pain in the butt.

However, having worked as an account executive for one of the biggest investment banks in the world, I would like to share some thoughts and end today’s article on a positive note. If you can come up with a plan that at least attempts to answer the question of ROI – then you’re in the ball park. While I can’t say it’s common, there are a few potential investors out there, for which their excess cash sometimes burns a hole in their pocket. These folks will assess the potential for gain and loss, and despite the risk (which you will always disclose and never hide!), they will still choose to do business with you.

I have a friend (who I’ll interview in a few weeks) – but anyway, he made a short film that went viral on the internet. One day he gets a call from a random multimillionaire who says he has always wanted to produce a movie. Suffice it to say, my buddy is now in pre-production on his first independent feature film.

Stranger things have happened. What’s important is that you keep pushing forward!

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If you are wondering how to get money for your movie – Almost every resource will tell you that you need a business plan. Very few resources will tell you how to actually go out, find prospective investors, qualify them, contact them, get a meeting and build a relationship.

Since getting money for movies was such a frustrating experience for me, I spent the last few months creating: The Independent Producer’s Guide To Financing Your Movie. In it, YOU will gain valuable insider experience so you can avoid my past mistakes, find investors and make your movie. To learn more CLICK HERE

Interview with filmmaker Casey Walker

Ever wonder how to raise money for movies, but had trouble finding people willing to participate? For feature filmmaker Casey Walker, solving this problem only took a little creativity. By selling off frames of his movie, one frame at a time, Casey Walker’s innovative approach to financing his current feature project, titled: Free For All…But You! has gotten him international attention and even caught the interest of Kevin Smith.

For 10 dollars (Canadian) anyone can become a producer in his movie. Recently Casey Walker decided to make his film totally “climate neutral” too.

Filmmaking Stuff caught up with Casey for a quick interview:

Filmmaking Stuff: Casey, there are many filmmakers reading this who are looking for funding for their movie. I guess you solved that problem. Tell us how?

Casey Walker: Well, I wouldn’t say that I’ve solved every film maker’s problem when it comes to financing, but I’ve found a way that is working for me. Instead of going to the studios or big money people, I’ve turned to the public for assistance. I created a website, mymilliondollarmovie.com to help finance my first film. For as little as $10 (Canadian) people can purchase a frame of my film and become a producer. There are a ton of benifits, and when we sell the film, you get your money back and decide which environmental charity gets your profits. It’s win win win!

Filmmaking Stuff: So if you buy a frame, you become a producer? What does a producer get in return?

Casey Walker: When you buy frames, you become a producer, get a page on our site that you can post links, photos and video to promote yourself, business or own project. You get to participate in the casting process, are entered into some cool contests, and in the end, your money is not only helping me achieve my dream, but will help keep the planet beautiful

Filmmaking Stuff: Did you have to consult a lawyer to offer this investment opportunity to the masses? Or is your financing structured as more of sponsorship?

Casey Walker: I did spend quite a bit of time with lawyers planning this out. It’s not only sponsorship based, but there is a very important charity element involved. And how many charities can you support where you’re donations get returned, and stand a chance of generating further profits for that cause. And the film is wicked funny so that ‘s a plus too!

Filmmaking Stuff: It’s a great innovation on a novel idea. How is the progress coming so far?

Casey Walker: Like anything new, it has been exciting, and there have been a lot of ups and downs. But we are picking up some great momentum and I’m having a lot of fun starting our casting process.

Filmmaking Stuff: I recently saw that Kevin Smith has become a producer and you have the video to prove it. What prompted you to get him involved? Have you heard from him since?

Casey Walker: One of the producers on the project approached Kevin Smith and things just kind of went from there. He is an insanely busy guy, and I didn’t expect to hear from him right away. But I’m sure I’ll hear from him at some point over the next few months, even if it’s just to berate me a little more. I have a lot of respect for what he has achieved and shaking his hand and getting those words of encouragement certainly have been one of the highlights of this project so far.

Filmmaking Stuff: What’s all this stuff in the press? You’re a green filmmaker?

Casey Walker: Yep, I’ve been in this business for 10 years and I’ve seen a lot of waste. I’ve always been conscious of it, but never in much of a position to do anything about it… until now. I wanted to entertain people without it causing damage to the environment, so I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching ways to ensure we don’t leave a big mark on the planet, just to make a movie.

I’ve partnered up with some really cool groups to ensure that our producers have access to certified environmental organizations. And I’m going to start doing weekly webisodes on little things an indie film maker can do to make their set/film green.

Filmmaking Stuff: Many of our readers have not yet made a feature. What advice do you have to newbie filmmakers who are chomping at the bit to get started?

Casey Walker: My advice would be to support your indie community, learn everything you can. and never give up on your dream. But don’t be stupid. Make sure you have a good project to get behind. Then be organized, keep your overhead low and remember, this is a creative business so apply some of your creativity to what ever problems are standing in the way of you making your film.

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For more information, check out Casey’s website: http://www.mymilliondollarmovie.com