Shooting Better Movies:The Student Filmmaking Guide By Paul Dudbridge
“You have to know the rules in order to break them.”This oft-repeated cliché might be considered irksome if not for the fact that most everyone actually agrees with the sentiment. For first time filmmakers who understandably feel overwhelmed with all of the important choices and technical know-how that goes into creating even the simplest of short films, Paul Dudbridge’s digestible Shooting Better Movies: The Student Filmmakers’ Guide is a great resource to learning these “rules.”
Dudbridge compiles an easy to reference guide for the student filmmaker. This means a balance of technical information (there is a breakdown of the elements that make up a screenplay as well as detailed information on camera settings: F-stop, ISO, ND Filters) as well as anecdotal wisdom he gleamed after various on-set disasters he vowed never to repeat. This approach ensures his tips are never too removed or academic, but rather he hopes this guide will assist an aspiring artist in gaining the on-set confidence that will allow their vision and instincts to take control in the creation of something great.
With reasonable thoroughness considering its shorter length, the technical chapters on camera settings, and on lighting are made much more understandable through his use of helpful diagrams and personal anecdotes. Individual chapters on topics like screenwriting, cinematography, lighting and directing actors are not quite thorough enough to comprise the standalone guide for someone who wants to be a screenwriter, a DP or a gaffer etc. Rather, the strength of this book is that it exists for the indie moviemaker who (whether they like it or not) is going to be wearing most of the hats during production. Shooting Better Movies is for the writer-director-producer-DP who is also teaching their friend doing them a favor how to correctly hold a boom mic.
Most successful filmmakers go through this exciting period at an early stage in their career, and Dudbridge’s guide seeks to keep this time exciting by reducing stress for newcomers. He stresses the importance of preparation and knowing as much as you can going into the shoot, so that you will feel at ease to make the more creative decisions on-set. He gets all of the nitty gritty technical mumbo jumbo out of the way, so in a pinch, when you as a director are a little fuzzy on the exact math of the “crossing the line” rule, it will be Shooting Better Movies that you grab off your shelf.
About the Author
Paul Dudbridge is a British director, producer, cinematographer, and educator, making feature films, television, commercials and music videos. His work as a cinematographer includes the action thriller By Any Name, based on the best-selling book by Katherine John. As a producer and director, he helmed the science-fiction series Horizon, which went on to win a number of awards at international film festivals, as well as earning Paul a Best Drama Director nomination at the British Royal Television Society (WoE) awards in 2016. When not filming, Paul guest lectures at various universities and colleges around the country. Most recently, he ran the "Writing and Directing" module for the Masters course at the University of Bristol, taught Cinematography at Falmouth Film School, and Advanced Cinematography workshops for BECTU, the UK's media and entertainment trade union.
How to use this book
Chapter 1: 1-15 Scriptwriting
Chapter 2: 16-26 Producing
Chapter 3: 27-86 Camera and lighting
Chapter 4: 87-100 Sound
Chapter 5: 101-134 Directing, Part 1 - The Camera
Chapter 6: 135-143 Directing, Part 2 - The Actors
Chapter 7: 144-152 Editing
Chapter 8: 153-156 Three Secrets of Filmmaking
Chapter 9: 157-160 Common Traits of Student Films
Chapter 10: 161-162 Final Thoughts
Sources About the Author Pages: 165ISBN 9781615932719
Libby Blood grew up in her family owned, hand built, movie theater giving birth to a life long passion for storytelling. Because of this she started making films at a young age. She has made countless films, documentaries, spot feature news stories, PSAs, promos, commercials, music videos, and short films. In the past 8 years, her work has been in over 25 film festivals around the world including the prestigious Festival de Cannes with her short film, LUCY. Blood has been honored with more than 65 awards including Orange County Film Festival’s and Newport Beach's ‘Filmmaker of the Year’. Libby is the Senior Editor for SVN Student Filmmaking online magazine as well as one of the five members of Cypress College's Advisory Board for the entire media program. Blood also does cinematography for upcoming Sony reality television productions and all commercials for TSL Electronics, and Anjali MD Skincare. She is a cinematographer and edits for Nick Cannon's Celebrity High TV, Mouthy TV, and handfuls of independent productions. She has edited for MTV, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), John Deere, Long Story Short Media, Glamour Magazine, and Sony producers.