directors, the business aspect of filmmaking is an evil
necessity that they'd rather not deal with. Directors
have the vision and creativity to make the project, and
as such, they rarely muddle too far into the dark realms
of legalities and finances because "that's the producer's
contracts. Distribution. Pay scales. Unions and guilds.
Funding. All these and more are things that a producer
must be able to not only understand, but negotiate and
manage. Paul Baumgarten, Donald Farber, and Mark Fleischer
have undertaken the enormous task of breaking down the
financial and legal aspects of film production, and explaining
them in this book.
authors begin early in the pre-production stage, by explaining
the process to obtaining a literary property (play, book,
biography, etc.) and developing a screenplay. Then comes
all of the necessary paperwork and provisions for compensation
(how people get paid and how/when the film is profitable),
distribution, and financing. Next are all of the contracts
and agreements for the director, producer, facilities,
personnel, and equipment. Finally are all of the rights,
clearances, and agreements for music and film exhibition.
The authors go into intricate and sometimes exhausting
detail in covering all of these aspects, and, to a certain
extent, they must. These are complicated topics, and one
must be sure that s/he covers all the bases when undertaking
such a large project. However, this book is one that would
have benefited tremendously from end-of-chapter (or sectional)
summaries or outlines. Because the topics are so complex
and multifaceted, it would be extremely helpful to the
reader to have some additional help in comprehension.
Also, diagrams showing some of the various processes,
how things are connected, etc. would have also been helpful.
I will definitely say that the depth of information in
this book is tremendous. It goes into great detail explaining
the ins and outs of contracts, legal arrangements, finances,
and much more. A college professor teaching a course on
this material could use this book as the only textbook
and it would be more than enough.
As I mentioned earlier, this is one of those "necessary
evils" of filmmaking, and is very difficult to make
engaging. However, I know it is possible; Deke Simon and
Michael Weise's Film
and Video Budgeting 4 did it. And if budgeting
can be made interesting, the same is possible with legalities.
Unfortunately, its overwhelming depth of information and
lack of guides, charts, or summaries make this a rather
While the information in this book is important and necessary,
it is not geared toward the microfilmmaker. I know of
very few ultra-low-budget films that have had to deal
with unions or guilds, have agreements with complex provisions,
or make extremely detailed financial contracts. For most
of us, the information in this book is not something we
will have to mess with until we move out of the realm
of microcinema and into projects with more money, people,
Value vs. Cost
If you are a producer of films that are more involved
and expensive, and want to work on increasingly more involved
films, this book would not be a bad investment. However,
it is excessive and inapplicable for the microfilmmaker.
This book deals with important and necessary topics, but
is badly in need of some clarifying and summarizing guides.
It is difficult to understand without the guidance of
a professor or legal interpreter, and is not engaging
for anyone not involved in one of those two fields. While
it is probably a book that an aspiring mid-to-high-level
producer would find useful, it is not appropriate for