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Reel Truth

by Reed Martin
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publishing date: 28/04/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780571211036
  • ISBN: 0571211038

Synopsis

Did you know that most of the biggest indie filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers working today each made the same avoidable mistakes early on in their careers?

The Reel Truth details the pitfalls, snares, and roadblocks that aspiring filmmakers encounter. Reed Martin interviewed more than one hundred luminaries from the independent film world to discuss the near misses that almost derailed their first and second films and identify the close shaves that could have cut their careers short. Other books may tell you the best way to make your independent film or online short, but no other book describes so candidly how to spot and avoid such issues and obstacles as equipment problems, shooting-day snafus, postproduction myths, theatrical distribution deal breakers, and dozens of other commonly made missteps, including the top fifty mistakes every filmmaker makes.

From personal experience and his years as a freelance reporter covering independent film for USA Today and Filmmaker magazine, Martin uncovers the truth about the risks and potential rewards that go with chasing celluloid glory. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, looking for financing, about to start shooting, or thinking about investing time and money (or someone else’s money) in an independent film, The Reel Truth is a must-read.

Reed Martin has taught film finance and marketing at a variety of institutions, including NYU's Stern School of Business and Columbia Business School, and is the former director of marketing at Cary Woods’s Independent Pictures.

The Reel Truth details the pitfalls, snares, and roadblocks that aspiring filmmakers encounter. Reed Martin interviewed more than one hundred luminaries from the independent film world to discuss the near misses that almost derailed their first and second films and identify the close shaves that could have cut their careers short. Other books may tell you the best way to make your independent film or online short, but no other book describes so candidly how to spot and avoid such issues and obstacles as equipment problems, shooting-day snafus, postproduction myths, theatrical distribution deal breakers, and dozens of other commonly made missteps, including the top fifty mistakes every filmmaker makes.

From personal experience and his years as a freelance reporter covering independent film for USA Today and Filmmaker magazine, Martin uncovers the truth about the risks and potential rewards that go with chasing celluloid glory. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, looking for financing, about to start shooting, or thinking about investing time and money (or someone else’s money) in an independent film, The Reel Truth is an essential guide.

?The path to the premiere and beyond of any feature film is a minefield. With The Reel Truth, Reed Martin has given new filmmakers the battalion of bomb detectors necessary for survival.”?Ted Hope, producer of The Ice Storm

?Reed Martin’s The Reel Truth is not only a terrific guide for aspiring filmmakers and a modern textbook for film school students everywhere. The advice and anecdotes in the chapters covering production, marketing, distribution, and online exhibition are useful for working filmmakers as well. For anyone hoping to make a successful independent film?especially in today’s hyper-competitive environment?The Reel Truth is required reading.” ?Miguel Arteta, director, Youth in Revolt, and The Good Girl

?A brilliant how-to manual for tackling and mastering the industry.”?Anthony Bregman, producer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

?This book is indispensable.”?Tom Bernard, Co-President, Sony Pictures Classics

?The path to the premiere and beyond of any feature film is a minefield. With The Reel Truth, Reed Martin has given new filmmakers the battalion of bomb detectors necessary for survival.”?Ted Hope, producer of The Ice Storm

?Reed Martin has created a smart, engaging read that is also one of the most comprehensive and cutting-edge looks at the changing face of independent-film production and distribution today. This is the one book I would call essential for anyone who really wants to make a career out of filmmaking.”?Drew McWeeny, aka Moriarty, Ain’t It Cool News

"Reed has written a guidebook essential for any aspiring filmmaker."?Tom Ortenberg, President of Theatrical Films, The Weinstein Company

?The most up-to-date guide readers could want . . . No one who embarks on a feature of his or her own after reading The Reel Truth can say he or she has not been warned?and, more important, not been prepared.”?Jim Hemphill, American Cinematographer Magazine

?A must-have manual of knowledge and entertainment for beginning and experienced filmmakers . . . To not have this information is like scuba diving by yourself, skydiving without packing your own parachute . . . why risk it?”?Chris Eyre, director of Smoke Signals

"Martin, an entertainment reporter and former marketing executive, is well aware of the complexities and contradictions inherent in the minefield of independent filmmaking, and his book provides the most-up-to-date guide readers could want. With its combination of detailed legal, aesthetic and technical advice, supplemented by quotes from indie film luminaries (including Alexander Payne, Danny Boyle and many others), The Reel Truth is similar in both scope and quality to Gregory Goodell's excellent Independent Feature Film Production. Yet even readers who already own Goodell's book will find plenty of new material in Martin's tome, which addresses financing and production in a world of distribution options both shrinking (the theatrical market) and expanding (the Internet and various sell-through services on Amazon, Movielink, etc.). They will also find perhaps the most brutally realistic of the many independent filmmaking manuals on the market?using dozens of examples of actual films and their abilities (or lack thereof) to recoup their investment, Martin provides sound, pragmatic advice for the many thousands of low-budget filmmakers who debut film will most likely not be the next Open Water or Blair Witch Project . . . He provides an abundance of useful tips for independent filmmakers, particularly when it comes to deciding where to be cheap and where to spend money. As Martin and his interviewees point out, there are a lot of areas where pinching pennies just does not make sense, and those areas are not always the things beginning filmmakers consider. The Reel Truth's greatest value lies in its attention to the less sexy aspects of movie production, things like security, parking, gas and insurance. Yet Martin also offers many nifty aesthetic tricks one can use to improve a film without spending extra cash, and his technical tips are remarkably specific; he addresses many issues most independent filmmakers learn about the hard way (like how to avoid time-code breaks when shooting on DV or hi-def), and he helpfully navigates the differences between various DV, HDV and hi-def cameras and formats. This specificity is the book's greatest strength, and the thing that distinguishes it from many others like it; Martin never speaks in generalities; instead, he offers precise monetary figures and technical specifications applicable to whatever topic he is discussing. The upshot of this is a forceful reaffirmation of the author's 'best of times, worst of times' thesis: his book is alternately sobering and inspiring as it forces the reader to acknowledge the cold, hard realities of independent filmmaking. It is safe to say that no one who embarks on a feature of his or her own after reading The Reel Truth can say he or she has not been warned?and, more important, not been prepared."?Jim Hemphill, American Cinematographer

"Martin covers everything from raising money to distribution, while including invaluable details such as the average cost of a soundtrack song (about $15,000, but $500,000 if it's the Rolling Stones) or the price of renting a New York City theater for a one-week run ($10,000?$50,000). Using current examples like the trial and tribulations of Sideways director Alexander Payne or the financing behind Swingers, Martin dispenses practical advice culled from real-life indie hits and misses that is both inspiring and cautionary. For certain technical information (sample budget breakdowns and representation contracts), Martin includes a solid appendix in what is ultimately an informative and very entertaining account of the indie film for would-be independent filmmakers and producers."?Publishers Weekly


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  • Well Written & Engaging
    From Amazon

    THE REEL TRUTH is a real good read. I love books about the business and any of them that can give you real insight into the process and the battles is invaluable for anyone who wants to get into filmmaking - whether you are an actor, writer, director, editor, etc. Knowledge is Power and that is never more true than in show business. Martin has pulled together a terrific book - full of interviews with fascinating filmmakers (Herzog, Payne, etc.)that share war stories that'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. It's well written, engaging and funny. You will really feel like you paid a ton of money to attend a seminar on the ins and outs of Indie Films - but what you've really done is purchased this informative and wonderful book.

  • A superbly insightful book about the entire film universe.
    From Amazon

    These days it seems nearly everyone and his brother/sister has written a book about filmmaking, film production, screenwriting, selling your script, some combination thereof or all of the above. As a fledgling filmmaker, I have read dozens of those in the last several years, and I can declare with genuine conviction that Reed Martin's book, The Reel Truth, is one of the best books about filmamking that I have ever encountered from any era, period. It's a knock-out and it puts to shame a great many of it's competitors. Actually, it lays waste to most of them. As the subtitle suggests, his book fills in the holes in one's film knowledge that many don't realize even exist. That added element, and that approach, makes it a must for any serious student of the art and craft of cinema. It's a bold, fresh take on all things film-related. His general knowledge is immense, and combined with his expertise in the nuts and bolts of filmmaking, he brings the reader right into the center of the "film universe", as it were. It's a fairly hefty tome at 516 pages, including the appendices, and it is densely packed with a copious amount of information, yet it reads with ease, due to Reed Martin's excellent prose. His writing is conversational, and it flows so well he is able to infuse a lot of detail without mucking up the central ideas involved. In every area of film there is a vast amount to be learned and understood in order to be able to perform at a competent level. The Reel Truth provides the reader with just about every possible tool they would need to either get started and do it right, or to make up for things unlearned and do it better. Every tool except one: talent. Add a bit of that on your own and you're well on your way. FIVE STARS! A great gift for the cinephile in your life!

  • Great Advice, Great Read.
    From Amazon

    Martin's overview of the challenges filmmakers face in the current climate of independent productions offers essential advice for anyone practicing the craft today, but it's also a compelling read for all moviegoers interested in the story behind how cinema winds up (or doesn't wind up) on the big screen. It's a dangerous world out there, filled with endless contracts and festivals and policies that are tough to follow and often more trouble then they're worth. This book, with its up-to-date details, provides clear-headed insight into these necessary evils and puts it all into context with a logical flow.

  • A Must Read for Indie Filmmakers Everywhere!
    From Amazon

    This has been one of the very best books I have read to date on the subject of making an independent film. Reed Martin covers an amazing amount of content from the early development stages to distribution and marketing. Whether you are just curious about becoming a filmmaker and want to know what is involved with making a feature length independent film, or you have made short and/or and feature films but haven't yet really landed a viable career as a filmmaker, this is a must read! Martin writes in a helpful and easy to understand manner that is both fun to read and highly educational. On top of this, Martin has done his research! The Reel Truth is filled with up-do-date information about marketing independent films and the pitfalls to avoid. Depending on how you approach filmmaking, this book will either be a much needed reality check, or a very helpful hand in steering you in the right direction as you embark on making your first few films! Thank you Reed Martin for the hard work that clearly went into writing this excellent book.

  • The Reel Truth For Real Producers
    From Amazon

    This highly readable and very sobering account of the current state of indie film making is a must-read for those seriously interested in producing or financing independent films. It's very likely that a first-time director will find the author's hard-won truths about Hollywood a bit depressing. However, the book can serve as a vital myth-busting primer for every phase of a film's production, especially the current state of acquisition and distribution. I highly recommend The Reel Truth and suggest that the if one applies the author's real world experience, they will find themselves fully armed for the battles ahead.

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