Practical advice and tips about advanced aspects of film-making that every aspiring professional should know.
Read Before Filming Book No. 1: The Art of the Documentary Interview
How to conduct effective film and radio interviews. A low-cost field guide.
Hints and tips from experienced pros in easy steps.
Author: Martin Belderson
eBook: $5.99 / £5.99 (inc.VAT)
What makes these books special?
Using dozens of interviews with veteran documentary-makers, crews and editors from the film, radio and TV industry, the books delivers entertaining anecdotes, cautionary disaster stories, and improbable tales of victory over adversity. These are previously unpublished stories from the movie-making frontline, told by the unsung heroes who really make the films. The books are a celebration of film crew ingenuity, humour and good common sense in the face of adversity.
Packed with good advice, each chapter ends with checklists of what to do (and what not to do).
Who are the books for?
Media, film and video production students, recent graduates, those people brave enough to enter the industry without going to film school, and everyone drawn to film-making by the ever increasing convergence of digital technology.
Why you should read them?
The apprentice system in the industry has broken down. A lot of film-making lore once passed on in the pub after a shoot or during quiet times in the cutting room will soon be lost. Yet all this accumulated hard-won wisdom is as important as technical knowledge of, say, how a HD camera works or mastering the latest edit software.
Fore-warned is fore-armed has always been a vital maxim to follow in this complex, sometimes badly managed industry. Veteran producers and crews understand all too well the possibility that, on any given day, on any given shoot, what can go wrong will go wrong.
There was a time when, working within large broadcasters like the BBC and the major US networks or film studios, novices could make mistakes without damaging their careers. Many great film-makers did exactly that. Nowadays, any mishap can have serious consequences. In these books I want to pass on tips so the reader might avoid, at the very least, being embarrassed on set or on location.
My name is Martin Belderson. I’ve made more than thirty network TV documentaries as a director, producer and series producer. I have filmed in three oceans, four seas, and on six continents. Occasionally I win awards.
I never went to film school, Instead, I started my career in a community film group before becoming a freelance grip on feature films, then documentary researcher and finally producer-director at the BBC. Because of that background, I want to use my experience, know-how and contacts to help out those who, like me, start out on the bottommost rung of the industry ladder.
13 x 40-60pp handbooks.
Approx. 20-40,000 words each.
1. The Art of the Documentary Interview
This is where inexperienced producers, directors, camera ops, sound recordists and researchers come to the fore, but not in a good way. Don’t be one of them.
2. Casting Calls
The tricky etiquette of casting actors for film, TV and radio. How to work with casting directors, agents and the talent.
3. Tales From The Camera Frontline
Don’t believe the hype. Shooting on DSLRs, let alone RED cameras, is as challenging as early non-digital broadcast video or 35mm film. From when to shoot hand-held to the choices of underwater housings, aerial mounts for helicopter shots or RC copters.
4. Never Mind the Bedbugs, Who Forgot the Camera?
Film travel catastrophe tales for the unwary. Camera, sound and assorted location disasters and how they were overcome. Salutary tales and tips of health and safety, carnets, inoculations, excess baggage, scheduling a shoot, visas, insurance and more.
5. Undercover Filming
Here, what can go wrong, always goes wrong.
6. Wet Work
Underwater, at high altitude, or underground it is never easy to get your footage. Adventure sports demand special skills in the face of extreme danger.
7. Never Work With Animals
Why animal wranglers always have an odd number of fingers. For some reason, wild animals never take direction. Hmm, puzzling…
8. When the Sun Stops Shining
Never, ever, rely upon the weather forecast. Tips on researching and planning: from finding stories to shoot logistics.
9. Is My Hair Still On Fire?
When things go wrong for stuntmen and stuntwomen, they really go wrong. Mixing film crews with homicidal maniacs bearing guns (and that’s just the police) is rarely a happy time.
10. Filming ‘Lord of the Rings’ on a regional opt-out budget
Overconfidence and underestimation are a prominent feature of producer and TV executive incompetence.
11. Meet Mike Rumble
The importance of sound in film is widely underappreciated. Pity the sound recordist, you know not what she or he faces.
12. We can fix it in the edit
A phrase guaranteed to let the red mist descend over the eyes of every film editor.
13. Managing Upwards
The sometimes black art of managing The Suits: TV and film executives.