Author: Shane Stanley

Publisher:  Independently published (January 31, 2018)

ISBN: 9781976986468

If you peruse the shelves of the library or your physical and online book stores, you will probably find dozens of books about independent film making. The challenge is to find one that will render a down-to-earth workable guide that at its core will provide a good overview as to what goes into producing an independent film. You want a book that just doesn't talk about film making but rather one where the author provides his own personal life lessons and instincts. Moreover, you want to learn from someone who has “been there and done that” and hence credibility becomes crucial in your choice.

Shane Stanley, author of What you don't learn in Film School: A Complete Guide To (Independent) Film Making is someone that certainly would be the perfect fit as your trustworthy guide. He is a two-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and is best known for executive producing Gridiron Gang, the number one box office hit from SONY pictures. His resumé spans three decades as an editor, cameraman, writer, and producer.

In the opening chapters he rightfully emphasizes that independent film making is a business and you have to approach it in the same way you would any other business. Consequently, it is essential to become aware of its organizational and legal aspects and the pitfalls to avoid. In addition, you must surround yourself with people that know more than you concerning four consistent elements (five if you count location) that can ruin a film: cinematography, acting, production sound, editing and location. All of these factors must be taken into consideration when creating your business plan that will appeal to prospective investors. What is more, you must know and understand what every job entails in the budgeting of your film.

Other elements to consider are the identification of your audience, your content and the actors you hope to attach to your movie. Without doubt, prospective investors will look at these before committing himself or herself to finance your project as they are not so much interested in what you are selling but rather how you are selling it. Will you give them the biggest bang for their buck?

Above all, as mentioned, “relationships are the skeleton key to opening the right doors and closing deals. Without relationships (and a good reputation) you won't get much...” Stanley provides some sage advice when it comes to pitching your film to investors particularly, as he mentions, you are basically selling the magic and sizzle of Hollywood and most importantly, you are selling yourself along with the upside(or fallacy) of what the investment will return.

It is quite an eye-opener to explore along with Stanley the multitude of components that go into the film making process in the pre and post production stages covering topics as insurance, the importance of a good cinematographer, the Sag/Aftra bonds as well as their other matters, relationship with actors, some interesting comments concerning the Sundance Film Festival, the importance of a team approach, marketing and distribution, budgeting, the food you serve to your crew, filing of various documents in pre-production, rules concerning drugs, hiring and firing a crew, equipment and possible theft, health issues that can arise, film permits, the importance of preparedness, copyright issues, soundtrack problems, importance of editing in post-production, sales agents, deliverables and a host of other matters that continuously arise during the film production. It should be borne in mind, and as Stanley mentions, “the guide is written for the masses, not the one out of 10, 000 indie filmmakers every year who seem to make it big.” Basically, he is writing for those who will continue to make movies either full or part-time, but never will catch lightning in a bottle.

Insights abound in this superb guide book that comprises page after page of blue-chip treasures conveying priceless nuggets, wise advice, and practical tips and tricks that may save thousands of dollars in producing an independent film as well as a truckload of grief. Stanley effectively engages his readers' curiosity and forces them to pose questions concerning the process of their own independent film making and if in fact they are on the best path to its production. And as stated in the book, making movies of quality and on the cheap isn't easy. It requires an in-depth knowledge of the craft of film making, the ability to think lightening fast on your feet and at the same time having unlimited patience as well as a really thick skin. With a light writing tone, Stanley delivers to his audience the basic factors that cover the multitude of phases of the process of independent film making from concept to delivery-something that is rarely taught in film school.

Follow Here To Read Norm's Interview With Shane Stanley.