Filmmaking For Change 2nd Edition by Jon Fitzgerald (book review).

‘Filmmaking For Change’ has nothing to do with creating films on the cheap ie small change. Well, maybe, when you read some films have been created for as little as $30,000 although costing more in distribution and advertising to ensure its out there and needs to be added to this budget. I should point out these films can appear on TV or in the cinema, so don’t think yourself limited. The emphasis is on documenting social wrongs either in fictional or from real life. Author Jon Fitzgerald points out that this isn’t a new thing, citing DW Griffith did this back in 1915 with ‘Birth Of A Nation’.

I think the biggest surprise but not totally unexpected was discovering that Kickstarters wasn’t the only way to get funding. This book points to IndieGoGo and Seek&Spark and explains the deals each company make and their percentage and what happens when you don’t make it which was something I hadn’t read about until now.

Although this book is geared for the American audience, when it comes to film festivals, of which there are some 5000 of them world-wide, this book offers valuable advice on how to approach them and develop contacts with the important ones. Fitzgerald says he was asked about the work of the Russo Brothers on one occasion and they ended up directing a ‘Captain America’ film. Belonging to the community and sharing goes a long way.

I do agree with his sentiments that the number of films people go to at the cinema is dropping off, although he does neglect to mention that this might have something to do with the price of the ticket. Saying that, he also points out all the other places people can watch films now, including the various Internet platforms as well as the usual disk format. I would tend to think that this tends to point out that people haven’t lost their interest in films, only the manner in which they watch them. Considering the communication circles after watching anything these days, there’s a whole new meaning to word-of-mouth.

The information given by Peter Bisanz about contracts should be read as he points out several things that should be included, including the important reversion of rights after a set period.

I bring books such as this to your attention on a regular basis because we know some of you have an inkling to get into making or are creating films. There is information here beyond being radical that will benefit any of you with a desire to get your name on the big or little screen. Being informed by people in the industry or with long term experience should ensure that this book is in your reading and reference list. Don’t make a mistake by missing out on this one. The fact that it has reached a second edition should speak for itself.

GF Willmetts

October 2017

(pub: Michael Wiese Productions. 243 page illustrated small enlarged paperback. Price: $26395 (US), £20.54 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-61593-277-1)

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