If you are a low/no budget filmmaker and are only going to read one book on filmmaking this year, then it must be this one. The Guerilla Filmmaker’s Pocketbook is the perfect companion to keep with you on location, regardless of your job on the set. The authors Chris Jones (GONE FISHING), Andrew Zinnes (Production Manager for OPERATION REP), and Genevieve Jolliffe (URBAN GHOST STORY) have put together a complete guide that covers everything from script development through production and into the post-production and marketing phases of making movies.
One of the reasons why I praise this book so highly is that it speaks to every filmmaker regardless of budget constraints. It puts the story first and gives hints and tips for almost every crew position in the industry and gives rational advice that even a no-budget filmmaker can take to the bank. Even if you’ve made a film before, or are just a struggling gaffer, “The Guerilla Filmmaker’s Pocketbook” can give information on how to work better and more efficiently with everyone else in your cast and crew.
Some of the chapters I’d like to highlight are Writing A Feature Film with Blake Snyder (pg. 32), where he shares his love of “beat sheets” and explains how even a movie like THE ISLAND couldn’t answer even the most simple question “What is it?”, and thus was a domestic box office flop. Another chapter to take note of is P.A. with Judy Goldberg (pg. 72). Never in any of the books on filmmaking have I read anything from the Production Assistant’s perspective. While this position is low on the totem pole of movie production, the movie suffers if they’re not treated properly, or not given the proper information (and food) they require to do their jobs. Kudos to Chris Jones and Co. for taking notice of this often under-appreciated role. Marketing with Sheri Candler (pg. 208), is also another must-read part of this book, and it’s a subject where I personally see a lot of filmmakers get flustered. Sheri breaks it down and gets right to the point on when you should get started marketing your film (IMMEDIATELY!), and how to handle things like interviews, Q & A’s, and maximizing your exposure with the press. Lastly, there are several case study interviews towards the back of the book. In my opinion the one that you should definitely make sure you check out is the interview with Jamin and Kiowa Winans about their movie INK (pg. 264). It shows Jamin’s creative process, how he and Kiowa worked together and how they even parlayed a two week booking in a theater in Colorado into eight weeks, and then continued that momentum into nationwide on-demand screenings of their film.
This is one of the most complete compendiums of information currently available on the market. It is certainly a daunting book to read from start to finish in just a few sittings, but it is really very handy if you are just looking for a tidbit of info on a particular subject. It’s basically an entire encyclopedia on filmmaking jammed into 320 pages. Get this book immediately and I guarantee that your next project will be better for having done so.