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Book Review: The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000 by Glenn Berggoetz

The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000 by Glenn Berggoetz is a short but insightful guide to digital filmmaking. It doesn’t talk about how to light a scene, operate a camera, or many of the other things that one would need to know in order to shoot a movie. However, there are already several dozen books on the market that do cover those subjects.

In this book, Mr. Berggoetz covers a lot of the material that is frequently missing in those other guides, such as finding a distributor and things that your script will need to have to make it work on an extremely low budget. As such it is not the only book that an aspiring filmmaker should read, but is definitely one of them.

There are, however, two issues that I would take issue with him over. As someone who has made five short films, two television pilots, and a feature length documentary film, I simply don’t agree with these points.

First, his $2,000 budget for a film assumes that one already has a decent video camera, lights, and all of the other gear that a filmmaker needs. If that’s not true for the reader then either your budget needs to change or you need to make your movie with a cell phone.

Second, he argues early in the book that indie filmmakers shouldn’t get married or have kids so that they have the $2,000 needed for their budget. I don’t buy that. There are lots of married men with children who spend for more than $2,000 on boats, hunting and fishing gear, expensive electronics, and so. As such, it isn’t necessarily true that someone needs to avoid getting married or having kids in order to have the $2,000 needed to make a film on an indie budget.

With that said, I would say that The Independent Filmmaker’s Guide: Make Your Feature Film for $2,000 by Glenn Berggoetz is one of those books that every aspiring filmmaker should read.

About Frank Nemecek

Freelance writing, indie filmmaker, and all around pain in the...