When The DV Rebel’s Guide first came out in 2007, I was just making the transition from producing websites to producing content. Poking around a few production forums to find my way, I was pointed at this book. Now, I return the favor by sharing it with you.
Before I dive into why this book is important, a warning.
Should you pick it up, you’ll look at the technology referenced in it and say “No one uses this stuff any more!” And, you would be mostly right. While some of the gear referenced is timeless, most of it is antiquated.
But, this is not a gear book.
Rather, it’s an ideas book; a principles book; a punk rock guide to making movies. It is the one book every mobile creator should read before they pick up their phones and shoot their first frame.
Stu Maschwitz is a veteran of ILM’s Rebel Mac Unit, the team, founded by John Knoll, that helped George Lucas make the transition from film to digital. After leaving ILM, he cofounded the ground breaking VFX house, the Orphanage and went on to help make Red Giant, maker of essential visual effects tools for filmmakers of at every level. Earlier this year, Red Giant merged with Maxon, makers of Cinema4D. Today, Maschwitz is the Chief Creative Officer at the Maxon. Pretty good for a DV rebel.
Oh, and among his many credits, Maschwitz worked on four Star Wars films.
Do I have your attention?
What makes this book so special? It fits in your back pocket, but gives a first time film maker a really solid understanding of all of the jobs that need to be done to take a film from idea to finished project. It does so in a way that is easy to understand and, perhaps more importantly, helps the reader understand that it is possible.
So very, very possible.
To be clear, Maschwitz does not offer a step-by-step process for getting a film made. In truth, no one can. Like all art, films can be slippery beasts prone the throw the rider if they are not sensitive and disciplined in equal measure. Unlike most art, filmmaking is generally a collaborative art form. Even if you are a one person DIY crew, you still have actors and sets to manage. Yes, even in the age of the solopreneur stars of of short intimate pieces on TikTok and Instagram.
So, instead of a full proof, step-by-step recipe for an action film, Maschwitz offers a workflow for making a film, specifically a low budget action film, that can be adapted and molded to how you work while giving you a good shot at creating something of value.
By the way, don’t let the focus on action films steer you away from adding this book to your library. Despite an emphasis on visual effects and action sequences, Maschwitz’s workflow applies to just about any film genre imaginable. And, lest you think your rom-com won’t require any visual effects, let me assure you it probably will. Effects artists touch every film these days, even if it is to remove a Starbucks cup from a period piece.
So there you have it. Don’t think twice. Grab your copy of The DV Rebel’s Guide today. Print copies are hard to come by these days, but it is available to download to your Kindle right now.
I promise you won’t regret it.