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Product Picture
   Book Review
   Shaking the Money Tree
   Author: Morrie Warshawski
   Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions
   Pages: 192 pgs.
   Topic: Film Funding

   MSRP: $26.95

   Expected Release: Available Now
   Review Date: May 1, 2010
   Reviewed By: Craig McDaniel

Final Score:
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Award of SuperiorityShaking the Money Tree, this book says plant your dreams and make them grow. An inspirational book for documentary filmmakers who are looking for traditional and alternative funding for their next project.

This book focuses on the funding of non commercial films. It emphasizes a filmmaker’s need to personalize the approach taken to secure a donor, how networking is essential, tips on applying for grants, the beneficial impact the internet has on fundraising and all the little things that you couldn’t have known without being told.

Author, Morrie Warshawski, is currently a consultant to independent filmmakers on their career goals as well as fundraising plans. His book is in its 3rd edition, inspiring filmmakers to reach their goals and succeed in finding cash in the money maze of film funding.

This book has easily laid out chapters which hold sub categories within. Bullet points are used for readers to reference descriptive lists and notes made by the author. This book also has an appendix that holds two examples of grant proposals and a list of reference websites that can help you in your search for funding.

Easy to grasp, Warshawski wrote this book with the intention to approach a filmmaker from the questions he knew would be asked about funding. The first chapter focuses on the filmmaker’s career goals, and while the reader may find this daunting at first, in Warshawski experience, approaching this subject is a must to establishing your main objectives for finding money. The reader must hold out through this chapter. As a “blocked” fundraiser you may come upon the realization that this chapter is true and therefore understand how you are being held back.

Depth of Information
Shaking the Money Tree is packed with need to know information, especially for seeking money for a non-profit film. It has answered questions that other books have failed to truly present. It discusses the research involved in selecting foundations to approach, why you need a fiscal sponsor and how your personal approach is key to securing a donation. It breaks down grant proposals and suggests other alternative funding options.

In its 3rd edition, Warhawski re-approaches basic funding avenues while including today’s advantages of using the internet. Most of the internet stuff seems to be a no brainer but there are good suggestions here and it encourages you to think outside of the box.

Also, Warshawski has sections that give filmmakers a chance to talk about how they had funded their own films. I always find this sort of information useful because I always want to ask, “Just tell me how you did it.”

Interest Level
Obviously written by someone who wants to share their knowledge of the industry, the book does not let you down. It’s a very fluid read. Although educational, it held my attention naturally because of my interest in the main topic. I think anyone who hungers for this kind of comprehension will begin to find some ground in their own ideals towards retrieving funding for their projects.

Shaking the Money Tree makes a good reference tool. Keep a highlighter handy on the first read. The book has explanations and definitions that are easy to look back up from the bullet points. The web addresses in the appendix will really help you out, as well, especially if you are just starting out on your money seeking journey.

I have already gone back and referenced this book and found myself rereading several pages. I think simply because it’s easy to get caught back up in it that I had forgotten information from the first read. It’s definitely a book you would have to read more than once to retain the mass amount of information stuffed into this small book.

Value vs. Cost
I had hoped that this book’s cost was a little less. I bought it anyway and found it had valuable information. This book was well worth the cost, especially if you are going to reread it a few times and create your own notes in it.

Overall Comment
This is a great book to read for a documentary filmmaker. Ideally for non-profit films, Warshawski dedicates about a page to for-profit films. Overall, a good read that was very informative. I suggest any filmmakers to check it out if they would like to be well rounded in their field.

Depth of Information            
Interest Level            
            Value vs. Cost            
       Overall Score
Craig McDaniel has worked in the entertainment industry for almost a decade. Serving in art department, project management, graphic design, screenwriting and directing etc. His work has carried him to the cities of Orlando, Los Angeles and Atlanta. Craig’s resume includes projects with CBS, MTV, VH1, SyFy, Turner Broadcasting, Victoria’s Secret, Coca-Cola and many more. Currently he is forming a new production company with his girlfriend Kelly Thomas which will offer quality and affordable promotional material for various businesses in the southeast. Also in the loop for Neggwerkz (a production company that was co-founded with Cinematographer Nathan Eckelbarger) is a full length feature to shoot in 2011.

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