Sunday, January 11, 2009

Making Movies By John Russo

I'm currently reading this book by John Russo - it's an inside guide to independent film making.

It's a pretty good book so far (I'm 3/4 of the way done) - it's a good overview of both the technical and the business aspects of independent film making. What I find interesting about the book are the stories of how people like Oliver Stone, Sam Raimi, and George Romero got started. It also has some pretty good tips from specialists such as make up artists and special effects pros.

I've learned a lot so far - both the technical and the business side of film making. Think the technical side will be challenging for me - I haven't been behind the camera since my school days. Back then, I filmed "live" meaning I had no editing equipment and if we made a mistake, we'd have to start all over again and rewind the VHS tape in the old camcorder. (Yeah, that's really old school). Though, the technical aspect is interesting to learn - I never thought of the different shots and point of views to film a scene until I read this book. And, all the equipment involved - sound, microphones, lighting, editing, etc. Plus, all the people involved and their different jobs and roles. It's all very new to me.

As for the business aspect of film making, I can understand it since I have a business background. I read about the different business entities involved, raising money from investors, working with budgets, distributors and the different ways to structure a deal. This isn't so hard for me to learn - the business stuff comes naturally to me. I did learn that most of the deals he's seen have been structured using Limited Partnerships with the General Partner being a corporate entity, it makes sense to me. Russo highly suggests having a good entertainment attorney on your team as the laws can vary from state to state, and each deal has to be structured accordingly to the interests of the parties involved.

Though the book was written in 1989, some things still haven't changed. It's interesting to see how people had so little to work with technology wise back then. Now, we have so much to work with and technology is changing everyday. One thing, I may look into is learning about CGI in the future. Though, I probably will consult with a specialist - this type of work is left best to the pros ;)

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