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Chris Patmore
144 Pages
Publisher: Barron's Educational Series (September 2005)
ISBN: 0764131915
Price: S$31.40 (Available in Borders)





So you want to be a filmmaker?

But perhaps you don’t have the time or the money to take up a movie making courses? Or perhaps you are in the Robert Rodriguez’s camp who scorn at the idea of paying thousands to learn movie making in a classroom environment? Whatever the case is, if you are a novice with little idea about the process of filmmaking and have a strong interest in making a movie (or ideally short film for starters), Chris Patmore’s Movie Making Course book is a good place to start that journey.

Movie Making Course covers a wide spectrum of the movie making process without overwhelming the readers with details or words, an excellent way of introducing newbies to the world of filmmaking, especially to those who don’t have the time to crawl through thick textbooks of similar genre.

This book is break into three main sections covering the pre production, the shoot and the postproduction. It’s also cover on the equipments, the type of projects that could be undertaken and how to get your film seen, but in this review, let’s focus on what the three main sections have to offer.

In each of the three main sections, each section is divided systematically into specific task that could be performing during movie making process. In the pre production, it touches on the formation of the story and the pre production essential such as budget, crew, casting, location and etc.

One of the interesting bits of the pre production aspect in this book would be on how to test an actor’s skills and ability to get into character. For a beginner who is casting actors for his or her film, this segment gave 4 methods to test what the actor is capable of. This methods help in making the most of an audition and present a certain sense of professionalism even though it’s might be the first time for the person in charge.

In the shoot, this book covers the different types of lighting, the basic of shooting a film, how to composite a shoot and how to move the camera. It also covers the important points of sound and directing. One rather unexpected task that was presented here would be the catering aspect.

For those who never been involved in an actual shoot might find it surprising that catering for the crew is an important factor in a film production that shouldn’t be taken lightly or forgotten. It might seem unimportant but a hungry or staving crew will most likely be unable to produce a fine piece of work as their mind are focus somewhere else.

This book even present the “How not to feed the crew”, a sample menu for location with no power supply and even an easy to make pasta recipe to give readers a start in dealing this aspect of film production.

Last but not least, the postproduction. Since the most affordable tools for post production work on the market nowadays is in digital format, this section of the book focus on the digital aspect of post production work for editing, music and titles / credits.

It also touches on special effects, as it’s no longer an exclusive element of filmmaking to major film production team. Nowadays special effects could be achieved on a standard desktop computer and this book throws in a few suggestions on the affordable software to spice up the film by adding computer-generated images or removing certain images.

There are plenty more in this book but you simply have to pick it up to learn the tricks of the trade.


“This book has been designed to be as concise as possible because one of the greatest enemies of the novice filmmaker is procrastination. “I’ll make my film when I’ve read this book or that book”; “I can’t do it until I have enough money for a crew and equipment”. The excuses go on and on. This short book is filled with the information you need to start making a movie with almost no money, so you can forget about them.”


The Choice Xcerpt says it all.

It’s targeted at all the wannabes with adequate content to keep one’s interest for filmmaking going. Besides serving as a jumping board, some of the content featured in this book will served as a good and fast reference for those who had gain some experience. It’s does not cover movie making topics extensively but interested parties should have a jolly good time going through this book and still gain some knowledge on the craft of movie making.


If this book wets your appetite for more and you can’t wait to get more information, there are links to relevant websites in selected topics. A selected few websites on the filming technology and resources are listed at the back of Further Reading.

Further Reading also cover on which selected books you could get your hands on to learn in depth on the aspect on story telling, practical aspect on film making and getting inspiration to make that film that one might be forever thinking of doing.

Last but not least, the Glossary section. The Glossary section covers all the important terms that this book is concern with brief explanation on the specialized terms. It will be particularly helpful for novice to differentiate Foley to Dolly or what does ADR or NLE stands for.

Review by Richard Lim Jr



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This book review is made possible with the kind sponsor of BORDERS


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