Shaking the Money Tree
Morrie Warshawski, 2003, Michael Wiese Productions
Morrie Warshawski's book Shaking the Money Tree quickly became the number one must read for independent filmmakers looking to fund a project on something other than credit cards when it was first published 11 years ago. In its second edition, this concise yet thorough paperback continues to show those without a rich uncle how to approach individuals, foundations, government agencies and corporations for grants and donations.
This is not a lofty pep-rally of a book implying that everyone and every project can raise money. Warshawski tells it straight, using his 25 years of industry experience not only to explain what works in which situation and what he would avoid but he also lays out step by step strategies accompanied with real world examples such as sample budgets and sample grant applications. The "Elements of a Full Grant Proposal" alone is worth the cost of this book.
Raising money can be a full time job and Warshawski shows you the work you'll need to do on various fundraising paths. But if you are passionate about your project and you are ready to do the work, Shaking the Money Tree is the place to start your fundraising efforts. 5
Video Over IP:
A Practical Guide to
Technology and Applications
Wes Simpson, 2006, Focal Press
A very timely book as the iPod Video and iTunes threatens to do to video and film what the original iPod and iTunes did to music. Portable video players are all the rage, many cell phones shoot video; downloading music videos and even feature films off the Internet is becoming more popular and independent media makers are finding the Web a valuable way to get their works seen. But producing for and distributing on the Internet is not intuitive.
Wes Simpson has 25 years of experience in the telecommunications business with the last 14 focused on video transport. Video Over IP is constructed in a way that end users, video professionals, computer and telecom professionals, service providers and investors can all learn at least the basics of this vast industry. Trying to reach such a wide audience and dividing the book up into sections that can be completely understood on their own makes it a bit laborious to read from cover to cover. The illustrations are easy to understand and the text is thorough, if a little dry.
If you are new to video over IP or want to learn more on the fundamentals, this book could be a great help; just give yourself time to chug through it. 3
The Art of the Documentary
Megan Cunningham, 2005, New Riders Publishing (imprint of Peachpit)
We love the New Riders books and Megan Cunningham's The Art of the Documentary is no exception. The coffee-table book is well laid out, full of color photos of filmmakers, stills from the documentaries, publicity photos, candid behind-the-scenes shots and more. The copy is formatted with plenty of white space, with bold pull-quotes to hook casual page flippers, and boldface questions followed by their usually short but informative eight sentence or so replies, making the book easy to digest and fun to read.
The book is broken into Directing, Cinematography and Editing with filmmakers such as Ken Burns (Directed PBS favorites Jazz and The Civil War), Kristen Johnson, (cameraperson on Fahrenheit 9/11) and Larry Silk (edited Wild Man Blues). Four women and seven men answer Cunningham's questions regarding just about everything you would want to know about making successful documentaries including choosing subjects, finding funding, framing shots, achieving structure, developing collaborations, artistic approaches, finding distribution, and conquering obstacles.
If you dig docs, you'll want this book. 5</p.
Morgan Paar is Videomaker's Technical Editor.</p.
4 Very Good
2 Not so Good