Authors Geoffrey Macnab & Sharon Swart provide readers with a true insight in to what being a producer means, and seek out to break all the stereotypes about producers as a whole. Producers, as the book sets out to explain, aren’t all Hollywood fat cats who seek to remind you about budget. Sometimes they can be collaborators with directors. Sometimes they can be even more passionate about a movie than the actual director working on the film. And sometimes they can inject ideas in to a film to help make it much more entertaining and or approachable to audiences.
Producers are working men and women just like the director and the screenwriter, and “Film Craft: Producing” is a book solely for cinephiles and movie buffs who want to learn more about the industry that carries with it an unfortunate stigma among movie fans who often blame poor quality of a movie on a producer. True, producers can be just suits who come on a set to remind directors about budget and time restraints, but they can be friends to the artist and “Producing” offers accounts from many noted producers, all of whom have brought something unique and specific to the table in terms of cinematic contributions and molding pop culture juggernauts alike.
Long before the internet, long before the age of the world wide web, fan films were a rarity. Often times they were made by very serious filmmakers who wanted to pay tribute to their favorite pop culture facet, and more often than not the fan films were typically underground elements or screened only locally. These days with the world wide web at your finger tips, anyone can make their own fan film for a low budget, and become the hit of the moment. Not to mention, they can land themselves a sweet directing gig at a Hollywood studio, if someone eventually watches it and spreads the word. Sometimes, fandom just catches on and becomes an infectious bit of lifestyle to admire and acknowledge.
There are plenty of wonderful fan films with the motive only to entertain, and “Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation” is one of them. Filmed by three school mates (Chris Strompolos, Eric Zala, and Jayson Lamb) over the course of seven years, the fanatics of Steven Spielberg’s seminal “Raiders of the Lost Ark” took the initiative in constructing and directing their own full length version of his film with their own props and set pieces. The film was for many years a rare piece of filmmaking until it was screened years later and became a critical hit. This is mostly due to its ambition and ability to pay tribute to Spielberg’s film while also giving it the indie flair that many modern indie films lack. It has no real polish to it, but it’s still a damn fine remake from three guys who just loved the movie, and sought out to give it their own stamp.
For aspiring animators and or fans of “Rise of the Guardians,” this hardcover look at the development of “Rise of the Guardians” from a series of eight young adult books that were compressed and transformed in to a marketable fantasy animated film will be thrilled to learn all the facets and elements of the film that were finely tuned and included to give the movie that extra dimension.
Though the film is primarily built around the belief in deities, the film implements a lot of international aspects that reflect belief including the Middle Eastern influence on the Tooth Fairy’s costume, as well as the Bunny’s giant egg sentinels, all of which were influenced by Eastern mythology. There’s also a detailed glimpse in to the creation of the realms for the guardians, including the small trinkets and interesting details added to certain background and environments, including North’s toy shop, and the detailing of his Yeti workers, all of whom were a fine addition to the story.
It should serve as no surprise that since its initial release, “Sell Your Own Dan Movie!” has sold big with aspiring filmmakers across the country, and it should also serve as no surprise that “Sell Your Own Damn Movie!” is probably the best how to guide for indie filmmakers on how to get their completed films out there and consumed for mass audiences. Whether you love Troma to death or hate Lloyd Kaufman like date rape, there’s no denying that the man has amassed decades of experience in indie filmmaking and has built an encyclopedic knowledge on the do’s and don’t’s on selling your film and how to get certain audiences aware of your creative work.
Co-author Lloyd Kaufman has a lot of wonderful and genius advice for indie flmmakers on how to sell their movies and get them in to festivals, and he does so with a ingenuity and humor that’s admirable. True, the book is mainly a how to guide, but it’s also laugh out loud funny. The chapters are filled with addendums that will make you giggle more times than you can count, and often times co-author Sara Antill adds her own addendums to Kaufman’s own anecdotes or false information that will spark some real gut busters from the reader. The list of ways you can raise money for festival entry fees is probably the funniest part of the book. While Kaufman and Antill definitely have their fun and lighten the mood with their dry wit and sharp humor, the book doesn’t hold back with its facts and truths. Getting your film seen is tough, getting it out there is even worse. Odds are you won’t get a distribution deal, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try as hard as you can.
“Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure” often tends to read more like a memoir of a man who worked with the legendary late great director and writer, and less like an instructional book. Author Dan O’Bannon is able to build a book that’s outside the norm of your typical screenwriting book. Author O’Bannon stresses the importance of writing a book that stands out from the shelves of screenwriting books, and while demonstrating how he sought to break the formula of screenwriting in his days of making movies, he tries to break the formula of screenwriting books in general.
Much of “Dan O’Bannon’s Guide to Screenplay Structure” is based around Dan O’Bannon’s writing experience with screenplays, and co-author Matt Lohr’s experience working with Dan O’Bannon and how he changed his life. In the process, author Dan O’Bannon hopes to change the aspiring screenwriter’s life by assisting them in breaking free from formulas and clichés and attempting to re-mold stories no matter how old hat they may be. O’Bannon took what were traditionally cheesy and clunky premises and with his own sense of style and unique storytelling, reshaped them in to classics and hit films.
Author Dan O’Bannon hopes to instill this upon the reader by exploring all angles of creative writing and what you can hope to learn from him by his anecdotes and thoughts on storytelling in general.
Comparisons to “The Zombie Survival Guide” are only inevitable. Max Brooks’ “The Zombie Survival Guide” is perhaps the most detailed examination of what to do and how to act during the conventional zombie apocalypse. Not just that, it poses as a good hand book for tips on what to do during a natural disaster. Such as filling containers with water until help arrives, and guarding your own domicile until help arrives. If it ever arrives. Mostly though it’s about how to survive during the zombie apocalypse of the Romero variety. “The Zombie Combat Manual” completely sets itself apart by being primarily about zombie combat and nothing more. Anything about where to hide, how to hide, where to retreat and how to store food is left for the Brooks novel.
“The Zombie Combat Manual” is strictly for the violence buff who wants to know how to battle the walking dead and look like a bad ass doing so. There are explorations in to various weapons, how they hold up in combat, and how to implement them. The newest treat for the book that the Brooks hand guide didn’t address pretty much in detail is the stench of the walking dead. In “The Zombie Combat Manual,” writer Roger Ma addresses that one of the best weapons in a zombie’s defense is the smell. Often times people can forget how badly they smell and become disoriented, allowing the zombies to gain the upper hand. It’s a new Easter egg in the zombie battle tactics that I enjoyed reading about.
Dame Darcy is a renowned underground entertainer, artist and practicing witch, and for all of her potential readers, she’s released “Handbook for Hot Witches” for the 12 and older age bracket. Released through “Henry Holt and Company,” author and illustrator Dame Darcy provides her young female readers with an illustrated guide to almost everything they could want to know about witchcraft, wicca, and mysticism.
Though not featuring the necessary ingredients, “Handbook for Hot Witches” is a flawless guide book and handy tool for the perspective practicing witch and coven, providing life affirming and enriching spells and recipes for the young reader who wants to spread good will and love with their craft. Author Darcy covers most of the more curious topics of the witchcraft world.
Take it from someone who has spent many hours in his early days on the internet perusing and haunting message boards, chat rooms, and movie websites: the definition of underrated and overrated is a hot topic and can cause hours of hot debating, analytical discussion, and very high tempers. Often times it results in insults and name calling and nothing is ever resolved. To a movie buff what’s underrated and overrated is often akin to discussing politics and religion. You just don’t broach the subject.
And if someone does, no one will admit they’re right or wrong, and no one is willing to bend to the other’s thoughts and arguments. No matter how valid their arguments may be about the movie in discussion. And in the end everyone decides they’d rather be apart than risk getting in to a slap fight. Insisting a film like “A Nightmare on Elm Street” is overrated often translates to “I touch myself while looking at pictures of your daughter” to some fans. They just gaze in disgust and prepare to chase you with a shotgun.
With author Paul Cornelius’ “25 Underrated Horror Films,” he’s walking a fine line between amusement and controversy.