Claudia Hunter Johnson (2000, Focal Press, www.focalpress.com, 273 pages, $25)
If you have a short screenplay on the back burner, Crafting Short Screenplays that Connect might encourage you to dust it off and hone it into something better.
The first half of the book focuses on how to connect with an audience. The book urges writers not to get discouraged if the ideas or words aren’t flowing. It later makes examples of Hollywood films like Pulp Fiction to give readers a grasp of proper character development. The rest of the book is comprised of five excellent "Screenplays That Make It Look Easy," along with a brief introduction of each.
Crafting Short Screenplays that Connect would make a good addition to any screenwriter’s library. While this book assumes the reader is familiar with feature-film style scriptwriting, screen language and shot descriptions, it is a very accessible book for aspiring screenwriters. Rating: 4
Video Compression with Cleaner 5
Digital Media Training Series (2000, Magnet Media, www.magnetmediafilms.com, four tapes, $195)
If you need help producing video for streaming with Terran Interactive’s Cleaner 5, you’ll get answers in Video Compression with Cleaner 5. This set of tapes provides a generous amount of background information and plenty of good examples. The four tapes also illustrate the results you get from using different types of compression on video.
Tape 1 starts with the basics of video compression, and also discusses Cleaner 5’s interface. The Settings Wizard and Project Window are discussed on Tape 2. Tape 3 and 4 contain setting tutorials on QuickTime, RealVideo and Windows Media.
The tapes illustrate the Mac version of Cleaner 5 with Apple hardware and Mac screen shots. This is a good thing, since the Windows and Mac versions of Cleaner 5 are similar. Instructor Evan Schechtman makes a point to mention both the Macintosh and Windows keyboard shortcuts.
Best for beginning and intermediate Cleaner 5 users, Video Compression with Cleaner 5 could be the help you need to get your video on the Web. Rating: 4
Scott Smith (2000, Peachpit Press, www.peachpit.com, 139 pages, $40)
Put your Apple iMovie software to work with Making iMovies. This generously illustrated book provides a complete overview of producing a video with iMovie. A DVD-ROM with video clips is included, which you can use to assist learning the program as you read.
New to the art of editing? The book has a good, concise overview of the storytelling process. Also for the beginner (as well as veteran analog shooters just entering the digital world), there are a few aesthetic suggestions (composition, lighting, etc.) for acquiring good source material that will compress well.
After a straightforward, thorough look at editing video with iMovie, there is a section on exporting to tape and the Web.
Best-suited for beginning editors, Making iMovies would make a great companion for your Mac.