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   Training Review
   Filmmaking for Teens:
   Pulling Off Your Shorts
   Author: Troy Lanier & Clay Nichols
   Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions
   Format: Instructional Book (179 Pages)
   Topic: Introduction to Short Filmmaking

   MSRP: $18.95
   For Special Price: Click Here

   Informational Website: Official Site
   Read Sample:
Click Here

   Release Dates: April 25, 2005

   Review Date: October 15, 2005
   Reviewed By: Kari Ann Morgan
Final Score:

Troy 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 movies.

This 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.

The 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.

Depth of Information
For 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 finished product.

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.

Interest Level
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 "film bible".

Value vs. Cost
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.

Overall Comment
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.

The 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?

Depth of Information            
Interest Level             
           Value vs. Cost            
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