I’ve just finished watching one of the best single resources for a filmmaker I’ve ever come across: http://www.gonefishingseminar.com
If you’ve been following my Twitter over the last few days, you’ll have seen my stream of tweets as I watched it - I only stopped because I was afraid I was giving away half the seminar!
It’s based on the experience of Chris Jones, author of the highly-regarded “Guerilla Filmmaker’s Handbook”, as he tried and very, very nearly succeeded in making a film which would win the short film Oscar. (He got to the shortlist!)
If you’re interested in being a great filmmaker - not just “OK” or “entertaining for a minute on YouTube”, but awesome - and particularly if you’re interested in being a professional, I’d say this is a must-watch. It’s seriously altered my thoughts about my next project and my approach to my career as a whole. Chris covers the entire production process, including showing us his first draft screenplay and taking us right through the entire production, warts and all. The honesty level is spectacular. He talks about casting world-class actors (you WILL recognise at least one of the actors he got), getting a crew of hardcore professionals for no money (his cameraman essentially turned down CSI for his unpaid short), and how a filmmaking career works (which I’ve never seen anywhere else).
He also offers the most honest and professional guide to getting into, attending, winning and surviving film festivals I’ve ever seen. Machinima people generally don’t do nearly enough festival stuff - we should all do more.
Some of the material is very film-focussed, which is less useful for Machinima, but that’s about half an hour of the seven or eight hours of material.
The course is Â£70 ($100ish). That’s quite a bit, I know. I was pretty dubious about paying that much, and didn’t for ages. But it’s probably the best investment in filmmaking I’ve made this year - better than buying Moviestorm packs (sorry, guys!), better than buying a new camera.
If you’re a new filmmaker, you might get more out of something like the Guerilla Filmmaker’s Handbook. But if you’re experienced, you’ve made a few films, and you’re starting to hit a wall or feel like you don’t know how you’re going to get to greatness, I really recommend it.