An often plodding but highly informative manual for fledgling filmmakers.
Producer, director and screenwriter of Two Weeks (2006), Stockman adds “author” to his growing list of credits with this debut instruction manual. His simple-to-follow guide takes readers step-by-step through the film- and video-making process, complete with personal anecdotes (“A screenwriter friend of mine told me that he chooses a project by deciding whether or not he’d pay to see it in a theater”) as well as helpful tips to avoid often-overlooked elements of filmmaking (“Given the choice between shooting the picture right and getting good sound, directors always choose picture... [but] great sound pulls viewers in”). The author punctuates the chapters with incisive and complementary exercises granting readers more opportunity to reinforce each lesson, which run the gamut from lighting and scene composition to post-production editing and promotion. The narrative reads like a VCR manual at times—and the author tends to overexplain certain concepts—but the Stockman’ss attention to detail is impressive.
Whether they’re aiming to shoot the next summer blockbuster or more entertaining home videos of their grandchildren’s ballet recitals, readers will go forth in good confidence that they have been rigorously instructed.