Lanier and Clay Nichols teach filmmaking at a high school
in Austin, Texas. Because they were never able to find
a good textbook that effectively taught filmmaking while
holding the ever-wandering attention of teens, they decided
to write their own book. The result was Filmmaking
for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts. By breaking down
the complex process of creating and completing a short,
the authors show that it is possible for anyone to make
is not your typical, mind-numbing textbook on how to make
a movie; it simplifies the process of filmmaking by shortening
the length of the project: just 5-6 minutes. Filmmaking
for Teens gives you an idea of what to plan for when
making a film by going over all of the essentials. As you
read the book, you start to understand that this is pretty
much the same process that all big-budget Hollywood films
go through just on a much smaller scale.
writing is humorous in a satirical, tongue-in-cheek way
(you know the way high schoolers are), while at the
same time not getting too ridiculous. It explains the technical
side of moviemaking in language that both techie geeks and
novices can understand and appreciate.
its (relatively) small size, this book packs a LOT of information
in. Starting with brainstorming (or, as they call it, "brainshowering"),
they walk the reader through writing, planning, filming,
and finally editing the film. The authors give several guidelines
and pointers for obtaining equipment, finding locations,
organizing a cast and crew, and getting attention for the
cool thing is they also emphasize creativity, professionalism,
and responsibility with their teen audience. While they
give suggestions, they rarely promote "shortcuts";
instead, they encourage the reader to learn to do things
properly, with the understanding that the process will become
easier with each project.
There is no danger of this book losing your attention. It's
technical and challenging enough to keep your brain cells
engaged and operating, but the humor that is woven in with
it makes this book both interesting and enjoyable.
This book is definitely one to keep as a reference for when
you do your projects or to recommend to a friend. The summaries
at the end of each chapter can be used on almost any film
project, no matter the size. There is also valuable information
included about publicity, generating funding for future
films, and entering student film festivals. For any young
(or even old!) aspiring filmmaker, this book will be your
Is it worth $18.95? Heck yes. That and a whole lot more.
The amount of time, money, and headache this will help prevent
is immeasurable. I wish that I had had this book two years
ago when I was the producer on my first indie film; it would've
made things a lot easier. (Okay, well, somewhat easier at
least.) For anyone, teenager, parent, grandparent, whoever,
interested in learning more about making films, this book
is an absolute must.
The thing that I really enjoy the most about this book is
that, although it is written for teens, it isn't limited
to them; anyone with an interest in film can make a short
project after reading this book.
book takes the reader through the entire process of making
a short film, planning for a shooting schedule of 3 days
(usually found during those semi-holiday extended weekends).
Three days is a reasonable amount of time that even most
adults would be able to spare. Think about it: if teens-who
have little to no money, might or might not have a car (let
alone one that works!), and are juggling school, homework,
a job, and extracurricular activities-can make a 5-6 minute
film, who says that an adult can't?