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Producing and Directing the Short Film and Video, Fourth Edition

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Peter W. Rea

"This how-to book provides you with beneficial information, even if you aren't looking to make professional films or videos. The book breaks down the entire process. The authors have created an indispensable tool for any producer, regardless of experience … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: Peter W. Rea
Publisher: Focal Press
1 review about Producing and Directing the Short Film and...

A reliable and readable guide to serious short film production -- thorough and useful, but not aimed at the casual filmmaker

  • May 15, 2010
This clear and comprehensive guide would be an excellent textbook and an indispensable handbook for aspiring filmmakers whose aim is to produce professional-quality short fiction films and videos. It would be perfect for film school, and would likely be useful for a wide range of projects from beginning shorts to thesis projects. It would also be ideal for those who have experience in one or more aspects of professional filmmaking, but have never been the lead creative force behind their own creative project and want to make something to show they know how to produce or direct. For the younger set, who just want a bit of advice on how to make amateur shorts that don't suck, this may be more detailed than is necessary, and an easier read might be something like Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts.

This book is clear and readable, and obviously reflects the experience of the accomplished filmmakers and instructors who wrote the book. It covers everything, from writing the script (whether original or adapted) and raising funds, to assembling the creative team and preparing all things necessary before the actual shoot, to how things should work on set during shooting for maximum clarity and efficacy, to editing and effects and sound-production, and distribution. Now in its fourth edition, the book is comprehensive enough to cover short film production at all levels from high-budget films shot on 35mm film with professional actors and top quality sets and effects, to lower budget productions shot on video on location with non-actors.

One minor frustration with the book is that some of the major examples come from short films that, as far as I can tell, are only available in high quality formats through purchase or special arrangement with their producers and distributors. Several film and video textbooks include dvds with supplementary materials and it would have been ideal to have the short films here on a dvd. Having said that, most of the major examples they mention are available for viewing on the book's website, for which you need to enter a passcode (available in the book itself). For the two films that aren't included, likely due to rights availability, the website does include the scripts. The website also includes a wide range of resources and links for makers of short films, including forms mentioned in the book, such as call sheets, release forms, location contracts and budget sheets.

Summing up: this is a clear and easy-to-follow textbook that covers everything you could possibly need to know to make a short film, apart from what you'd learn in the actual process of making one. It is, however, a textbook, that aims to be comprehensive and is written from a professional perspective, and isn't focused on the kind of quick and dirty ultra low budget indie films that are likely to be made exclusively for online enjoyment. For a pared down, indie-style approach to short filmmaking, try Stand-Out Shorts: Shooting and Sharing Your Films Online, another Focal Press title.

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