When I first came across this book, the title took me by surprise.
“Shut Up and Shoot” implies to me a challenge involving both motivation and competence. As a seasoned media maker, I was intrigued and more than a little skeptical of the bravado I perceived, but I had barely begun to read this book when I decided that Mr. Artis has more than sufficient skill in his craft. And he definitely delivers in terms of imparting that competence to his audience each step of the way.
Take a few minutes to read my review and check out the full text for yourself!
This 296 page manual is a step by step formula for successful documentary making. Although it takes years to master the individual elements of the craft, this book is an effective guide to every major concept you would be exposed to in a classroom setting (without the hefty price tag)! I overwhelmingly recommend this text to any aspiring broadcast journalist, documentary maker or film maker.
After spending over a decade in the industry working in film, news, documentary, sports and media advertising, I can assure you that Mr. Artis is right-on in both his instruction and illustration of these guiding principles. The book is a very easy, straightforward read with plenty of graphics to demonstrate proper and improper techniques. Particularly those of you who have to shoot on-location will benefit from the concepts in this book. If you are a more visual learner (as many media types are) Mr. Artis offers his instruction in DVD format. His series is titled Down & Dirty DV. Included with the book is a DVD containing excerpts of the full length programs.
Depth of Information
As I’ve already said, the book is 296 pages long. So it almost goes without saying it is more or less exhaustive. An element that I found refreshing though, is that although the book is comprehensive, it lacks redundancy. Mr. Artis doesn’t patronize his readers, no matter what their level of experience is. The material is presented in a thorough, understandable manner but is not oversimplified. It is also extremely user friendly in its layout. The chapter topics are laid out in a chronological order and each one can stand alone as its own tutorial. Artis also does the reader the service of providing a substantial glossary to explain industry jargon and provides many examples of forms and documents discussed in the text. You’ll also find the equipment comparison lists (with specs) and many charts provided to be very valuable. The information contained in them would take days if not weeks to compile on your own.
This is a great manual to keep on hand during shoots, while preparing for them and to figure out what you could have done better after your project is complete.
Anthony Artis is with his audience every step of the way, from conceptualization through post production. He also includes helpful tales from seasoned film makers, which range from anecdotal to practical. The moral of the story Artis presents is that documentary makers can do quite a lot to enhance their production with some know-how, even in the absence of high-end gear. He certainly delivers on providing the nuts and bolts of how to get it done right!
This book is relevant to a broad audience, from the beginner to the more experienced documentary maker and everywhere in between. I recommend making Shut Up and Shoot a staple of your production library. The guiding principles of documentary making remain steadfast over time. This book will be helpful to you for many, many years to come.
Value vs. Cost
I genuinely consider this an invaluable resource for documentary makers; particularly ones who are just beginning their journey. Putting a price tag on the knowledge of a seasoned veteran is a hard thing to do. So let’s just say that, yeah, it’s worth $35 without a doubt.
Overall Comment This book is a 10! After probing it extensively for faults and shortcomings (which is a big part of being a reviewer), I just can’t find any. Reader, take comfort in knowing that Shut Up and Shoot does not disappoint. Well done, Mr. Artis. Well done.