Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director

Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director

4.4 15
by Lloyd Kaufman, Adam Jahnke, Trent Haaga, Trey Parker, James Gunn

See All Formats & Editions

Lloyd Kaufman, the writer/producer/director of such cult-classic films as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High, and Tromeo and Juliet, offers a guide to movie-making unlike any other available anywhere. In 25 years, Kaufman, along with partner Michael Herz, has built Troma Studios up from a company struggling to find its voice in a field


Lloyd Kaufman, the writer/producer/director of such cult-classic films as The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High, and Tromeo and Juliet, offers a guide to movie-making unlike any other available anywhere. In 25 years, Kaufman, along with partner Michael Herz, has built Troma Studios up from a company struggling to find its voice in a field crowded with competitors to its current--and legendary--status as a lone survivor, a bastion of true cinematic independence, and the world's greatest collection of camp on film.

As entertaining and funny as it is informative and insightful, Make Your Own Damn Movie! places Kaufman's radically low-budget, independent-studio style of filmaking directly in the reader's hands. Thus we learn how to: develop and write a knock-out screenplay; raise funding; find locations and cast actors; hire a crew; obtain equipment, permits, and music rights (all for little or no money); make incredible special effects for $0.79 each; charm, schmooze, and network while on the film-festival circuit; and, finally, make a bad actor act so bad it's actually good.
From scriptwriting and directing to financing and marketing, this book is brimming with utterly off-the-wall, decidedly maverick, yet consistently proven advice on how to fully develop one's idea for an independent film.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The experience of low-budget filmmaking is so bad it's good. This is the central bit of wisdom writer/producer/director Kaufman (his credits include The Toxic Avenger; Class of Nuke 'Em High; Tromeo and Juliet) gives in this riotous book. Equal parts how-to, memoir and shrewd marketing stunt, it tells young filmmakers to lower their expectations. Taking a reverse-inspirational tack, Kaufman admits indie films probably won't make you rich, famous, happy or very many friends. For emphasis, he begins with an image of him shoveling rat poop from the basement of Troma Studios and closes with a suicide dream sequence. It is to the tremendous credit of Kaufman's profane, self-deprecating, caustic but charismatic sense of humor that the book's opening, closing and everything else in between manages to make the low-budget filmmaking process seem like the most glorious and noble of life pursuits. Seven different contributors regularly interrupt Kaufman with commentary on aspects of the filmmaking process in general and Kaufman in particular. (He's both inspirational and profoundly cheap.) At one point, an argument that's been brewing between coauthor Haaga and Kaufman about whether film or digital video is better dissolves into a five-page, farcical cursing contest. Like the work he pursues, Kaufman's book is at times so bad it's good. 40 b&w photos. (Apr. 7) Forecast: Kaufman's films have a rabid cult following, and his fans will undoubtedly seek this out. Ads in LA Weekly, the Village Voice and other alternative papers will increase awareness among indie film enthusiasts. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“If you want to make a movie because you want to become rich, go put a thousand dollars down on thirteen black . . . Your odds are way better . . . If, however, you want to make a movie because you want people to laugh, or cry, or puke--then read [this book].” —Trey Parker, from the Foreword

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

Read an Excerpt

Make Your Own Damn Movie!

Secrets of a Renegade Director

By Lloyd Kaufman, Adam Jahnke, Trent Haaga

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2003 Lloyd Kaufman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7613-8


Let's Make Some Art!

I was surrounded on every side by vermin, roaches, and rat shit. And I wasn't even meeting with executives at Blockbuster.

This was the basement of the Troma Building in New York City. For years, Troma has occupied this four-story building in the part of Manhattan formerly known as Hell's Kitchen. From this mighty temple, we had steered the mighty ship of Troma through such films as Tromeo & Juliet, Terror Firmer, and Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV. The Troma Building occupied a proud, majestic place on the New York skyline. But now, disease and decay had entered the works. Rats threatened the very foundation of the Troma Building.

The Troma Building's basement is Troma's memory center, its archive, its remembrance of things past. In other words, it's where a lot of shit has been dumped and forgotten about over the years. And now, it had been invaded by rodents. No one knew quite where the rats had come from. The Troma Building had remained relatively pest-free for the better part of two decades. It seemed like no small coincidence that the arrival of the rats perfectly coincided with the opening of a brand new McDonald's directly next door to the office. Thanks to that devil-worshipping, burger-shilling corporate clown, Troma was lousy with humongous, voracious rodents that knew no fear. And now, everything in our basement was contaminated by rat shit and had either been partially eaten by the rats or was in imminent danger of being so.

Now ordinarily, ridding the basement of rats the size of baby coyotes would be a job for anybody but me. After all, I am president and cofounder of the fucking company. You don't see Harvey Weinstein in the flooded basement of Miramax trying to salvage old promotional T-shirts and baseball caps from Playing for Keeps. But, after years of doling out the most backbreaking, humiliating, odious tasks imaginable, I had finally stumbled across a job so disgusting and wretched that nobody would accept it. Even our interns (who are, by their very nature, subjected to more humiliation than our regular employees simply by virtue of the fact that they are unpaid) refused to take it on.

The choice was simple. Either we seal the basement forever like some old, abandoned mine that's been tapped out or rendered unsafe and just write off thirty years of Troma history (an option that was seriously pursued by a small handful of Troma employees who were always looking for an excuse to blow something up) or I had to go down there and deal with the rats myself. The history of Troma was in that basement. A shit-stained, fucked-up history it may be, but it was a history that Michael Herz and I had built. I couldn't ask anyone to defend that history but me.

Armed with a shovel (which I cleverly figured would serve double duty as both shit scooper and rat bludgeon), I swung wide the steel doors that led to the cellar. I switched on the single 40-watt bulb that provided what milky light the basement offered. I could see four or five rats stop what they were doing, look me in the eyes, then lazily make their way deeper into the basement. Presumably these were mere sentries, going off to let the others know that some asshole was about to interrupt them.

I continued into the darkest recesses of the basement. I walked the rickety pallets to the far door, the door that led into the real heart of darkness. Rat Central. A filthy, damp, pitch black storage area that contained those weird items that tread the fine line between garbage and artifact. Too precious to throw away, but far too useless to ever hope of using again. All around me, I could see the physical reminders of my thirty years with Troma. There was a box containing production schedules and the shooting script from The Battle of Love's Return (1971). I thumbed through the papers, trying to decipher the notes I'd written to myself almost thirty years earlier. It just seemed like gibberish now and I wondered if I'd ever been able to read them. That would explain a lot about that movie. Stacked nearby were molding stacks of posters from Troma's War (1988). There were all kinds of posters from dozens of different movies but it seemed as if you couldn't turn around without seeing a War poster. There were decomposing boxes full of Squeeze Play T-shirts (circa 1980), the computer monitor with the smashed, bloody severed head of Capulet from Tromeo & Juliet (1996), and the costume for Tromie, the Nuclear Squirrel from Class of Nuke 'Em High parts 2 and 3 were precariously balanced like gargoyles atop unmarked boxes. I turned and nearly tripped over a pair of metal film cans, coming ominously close to landing face-first in a mound of petrified rat shit. I examined the can and was not in the least bit surprised to discover that I had almost fallen over the work print of Big Gus, What's the Fuss (1973). My worst movie, arguably the most heinous atrocity ever committed to celluloid, continued to find novel ways to injure and humiliate me. It was the only thing I'd found down here that I thought deserved to be locked away and left to collect dust and feces in this dank basement.

As I cast my eyes over the collected Tromabilia, all of a sudden I knew with the certainty usually reserved for either the very pious or the very insane that spread out before me was what my thirty plus years in movies boiled down to. All the hours spent on set, all the disappointment when something didn't go according to plan, all the elation when something turned out better than hoped, all the money-men I'd had to fellate ... and what had it got me? An extremely limber throat and tongue and a basement full of neglected crap that was slowly being transformed into a public toilet for every sewer rat in Manhattan.

I bent over with my shovel in one hand and an open garbage bag in the other. As I attacked the rat-crap with my shovel, the ancient turds exploded into thick, heavy clouds of dust. The dust immediately coated my ears, eyes, nose, and throat. I kept shoveling and, squinting through the putrid dust, saw a huge rat lazily walk past and, I swear to god, salute me with a Bronx cheer, just like the mouse in Tom & Jerry cartoons. Tom & Jerry had been a huge influence on the Troma style of violence. The debt I owed to this thing's animated counterpart didn't prevent me from taking a swing at it with my shovel. The rat seemed unconcerned by this attack and, after staring at me for a few uncomfortable seconds, disappeared between some boxes.

As I returned to my shoveling, I wondered, when all is said and done, why the fuck was I even bothering to make movies? It's certainly no way to make money. Harvey Weinstein and I started in the business at around the same time. Now people flocked to him like flies to shit, while I was actually down in the shit. It was getting to be virtually impossible to even get our movies seen. The vast majority of movie theaters in the U.S. are now once again owned and operated by the major studios, who seem intent on forcing the same Tom Cruise blockbuster onto every screen and driving the theaters into bankruptcy (both moral and financial). Smaller mom-and-pop video stores were being pushed out of business by Blockbuster and one or two other giant chains that impose an economic blacklist on Troma and other independent studios. And every day seemed to bring news of another independent studio going out of business. The "lucky" ones merely lost their independence and were absorbed into a gigantic, devil-worshipping international megaconglomerate. More often than not it seemed the only way to make money at this was to sell out your ideals and give up your independence. But it's not always about money. The late, lamented, legendary Sam Arkoff, cofounder of American International Pictures, once told me that the biggest mistake of his life was selling AIP to Filmways (which was later bought by Orion which later went through a spectacular bankruptcy that has fucked up the distribution of hundreds, if not thousands, of movies).

If it's not money, I thought to myself as a rat the approximate size and color of a kielbasa ran across my feet, leaving a trail of fragrant droppings, maybe I'm doing it for the respect and admiration of others. Yeah, sure. I couldn't even command enough respect to get my own goddamn employees to do the scut work around the office. Maybe I'd vomited green Bromo Seltzer on camera once too often to be a truly effective leader.

Scraping the shit off my feet, I saw another large, immobile rat on the floor next to me. The rats knew they had control, so it wasn't at all unusual that it wasn't moving. But this one looked far too comfortable. It was either completely at home or dead. "Lucky fucker," I muttered and enviously kicked it to make sure it was dead. As my foot hit fur, the rat burst open. Hundreds of spiders erupted from their corpsenest, swarming every which way. Confronted with a plague of rat-born spiders, I did what any pillar of manly American fortitude would do. I squealed like a prison bitch and slammed my shovel down again and again, hitting the floor, my feet, the dead rat, the walls, and, I'm fairly sure, at least a couple of spiders.

Exhausted, I leaned against the wall. A particularly brave rat, unphased by my spectacular display of martial arts, peered at me from atop a box of SGT. KABUKIMAN FOR PRESIDENT pins from 1992. I recognized the contemptuous look in its eyes from dozens of surly production assistants over the years. Whatever my reasons may have been for starting to make movies, the cold reality was that this is what it boiled down to. There was no glamour when I made movies. There was nothing but hard work to be assigned and, more often than not, returned to my lap. This was the world of filmmaking that I knew. No limousines. No craft services. No imported bottled water to wash the starlet's hair. Just a neverending basement full of shitty, moldy rot that had to be cleaned out. Why the fuck was I doing all this?


Thirty-six hours later in the magnificent town of Sitges on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and I have my answer. Every October, the city hosts the Sitges Film Festival, one of the most comprehensive and prestigious horror, science fiction, and fantasy film festivals in the world. I've been fortunate enough to have movies I've directed invited here several times. In 1996, Sitges showed Tromeo & Juliet and in 1999, we brought Terror Firmer here. This year, they were hosting the world premiere of Citizen Toxie. Not only had the festival flown me over for the occasion, they'd also brought along Heidi Sjursen, who plays Toxie's blind wife Sarah in the movie, and Gabe Friedman, the movie's editor. Now it's one thing for a film festival to fly in the director or the star of a movie. But if you think it's commonplace for a festival to fly in a movie's editor, guess again. Editors are notoriously pale, shaky guys who rarely see the light of day. The inhuman amount of hours they spend locked away watching the same footage over and over again causes them to have social graces that are rudimentary at best and a bizarre, unpleasant omnisexuality that makes it very difficult for them to see other people in the flesh without becoming visibly and embarrassingly aroused.

Citizen Toxie was playing in an amazing 3,000-seat cinema that ranks among the best I've ever seen. I took the stage to introduce the film and immediately remembered why the fuck I bothered making movies. Here was an auditorium full of enthusiastic men and Gynos who were genuinely excited to see a movie. Even more astonishingly, they were excited to see a Troma movie. Here were people applauding and chanting "Troma! Troma! Troma!" Here were fans dressed as Toxie, Kabukiman, and the Tromettes. Not because anyone asked them to, but because they wanted to. One group of fans had started their own website, Villacabras.com, and arrived at Sitges with their own Toxified bottles of champagne called Tromanpagne. Another Spanish fan club, Fester, had made their own Troma T-shirts using images and lines from the script of Terror Firmer. I was gratified and amazed at all the effort the fans had put into showing us their appreciation. Heidi and Gabe were completely overwhelmed. They had no idea Troma had such a far reach.

I was inspired not only by my renewed connection with the audience but by the other films screening at the festival. Finally, audiences were given the opportunity to see amazing, brilliant movies they'd never have a chance to see through ordinary channels. At Sitges, it was possible to go on a three-day movie binge, watching ten films a day with each one better than the last. Movies like Geoffrey Wright's uncut version of Cherry Falls, Santiago Segura's Torrente, Shinya Tsukamoto's Tokyo Fist, and Alex de la Iglesia's Common Wealth. Seeing these masterpieces in such incredible surroundings with audiences who appreciated them was as invigorating as seeing the movies in my youth that first inspired me to be a filmmaker.

Guerilla marketing at the Cannes Film Festival whilst "campaign for shaved armpits" reaches climax (From left to right). Terry Firmer (super Tromette), Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Heidi Sjursten (star of Citizen Toxie), Troma volunteer, Toxie, and Troma head of production Doug Sakmann. Unfortunately this picture was taken two weeks after the Cannes Film Festival in Newark, New Jersey.

Finally, I'd found the reason I continued to make movies despite the many, many reasons I could come up with for trading in the whole goddamn thing and trying to do something vaguely productive with my remaining years like becoming an air-conditioner repairman. Days earlier I'd been risking the plague in ankle-deep rat shit, now, here I was, surrounded by people who appreciated what I'd been doing, enjoying free drinks and pot. And I knew that as long as there were people with a passion for watching movies, I would retain my passion for making them.

Tromettes publicize Troma movies at the Cannes Film Festival. Troma-tic tip to aspiring filmmakers: Tell the Tromettes you are gay and challenge them to "in" you!!! (Tartan Burgess)

Over the past three decades, I've directed, produced, written, shot, and/or distributed hundreds of movies and, believe it or not, not all of them received standing ovations, glowing reviews, and orgasmic audiences at prestigious film festivals. In fact, more than a couple died painful, humiliating, protracted deaths. Some of them deserved it. Some of them, I think, deserved better. None of them, good or bad, were easy to make. If you're looking for a book that will help put you in touch with your inner genius and make only good movies while avoiding the bad, keep on a-lookin' (and if you find one drop me a line at lloyd@troma. com. I can use all the help I can get). What this book will help you do is avoid having two days worth of abandoned footage because, for whatever reason, everything fell apart on you at the last minute.

To make your own damn movie, you have to be equal parts dictator and diplomat. You must be both the visionary storyteller addressing the audience at the film festival and the dickhead shoveling rat shit out of the basement because nobody else would and everything would be lost if it didn't get done. You must be both extravagant artist and penny-pinching asshole. It isn't easy, it isn't always fun, and if you're looking to get rich quick by making the next Blair Witch Project then you'd might just as well stop right now. The odds are stacked heavily against you ever making a dime directly off your masterpiece.

So, knowing full well that the road you're about to embark on is long and painful, will probably require you to be publicly humiliated on more than one occasion, and will require your total obsessive attention for more than a year, is it worth doing? Absolutely. Writers know the satisfaction of completing a story. Musicians know the satisfaction of completing a song. But filmmakers know that they've brought people together and created something bigger than any of them could have done individually. They have orchestrated an experience that no one involved will ever forget. They have created something that will have a life long after they're gone. They have made some art under circumstances that would send most people into therapy for the next five years. In the end, it isn't about money ('cause it probably isn't out there) or fame ('cause some of the people who do end up knowing your name or face will hate your fucking guts) or free dope and booze at film festivals ('cause ... well, maybe it is about the free dope and booze a little bit). It's about capturing a vision and sharing it with those willing to watch. Sooner or later, your vision will connect with someone and when that happens, it makes all the rodent fecal matter you've gone through worthwhile. Even the time you had to take a diarrhetic shit in a paper bag.


Excerpted from Make Your Own Damn Movie! by Lloyd Kaufman, Adam Jahnke, Trent Haaga. Copyright © 2003 Lloyd Kaufman. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lloyd Kaufman has written, produced, and/or directed more than 25 films, including The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and Terror Firmer. He is president of Troma Entertainment. Make Your Own Damn Movie! is his second book.

Lloyd Kaufman has written, produced, and/or directed more than 25 films, including The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, and Terror Firmer. He is president of Troma Entertainment. This is his second book.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is better than sex. Well, maybe not but it's pretty close, at least on those lonely night that most TROMA fans are used to by now. Lloyd Kaufman, president of TROMA tells his time tested methods for every step of movie production. I recently got to see the man at work and he definately knows his way around a movie set. There is alot of usefull advice such as if your casting call requires people to get naked, make sure you have a assistant of the opposite sex with you as a witness. I don't care how low budget you are, if your making a movie people are that much more likely to sue you. Every step of the way from pre to post to selling you soul, i mean, promoting your film is covered in MAKE YOU OWN DAMN MOVIE By Lloyd Kaufman. It has inspired me to pursue a career in production and turn my life in a new direction. Even if you don't wish to MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE and are just a fan don't think there is nothing here for you. All of the advice is backed by examples from past TROMA movies so there is an amazing anmount of TROMATOIDS from your favorite TROMA productions. A laugh and a half and more info than you could remember from just one reading, MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE is a must have which can be read over and over again. Then do what I did and track Lloyd down online, find out where he's at and get him to sign your copy. GET IT GET IT GET IT NOW!!!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really cant say enough about how much this book has inspired me, to start on my own damn movie 'Timber Tantrum'. I got this book because my friend and I were writing a script and thought, 'hmmm....I wonder if we could make this? Then I started reading a lot of indie film books that filled with tons of info but read like stereo instructions, plus none of them had any examples of what it is really is like to make an indie film. With the way 'Make Your Own Damn Movie' is presented you get a wealth of knowledge wrapped up in a humorous series of stories and anecdotes. I have recommended this book to all of my friends, even the ones who have no intentions of making movies, because it is a really good book. I think Lloyd does a great job of not trying to fool the reader because, the man has gone through some serious hell, getting these film made, and he really explains how to do the things micro-budget filmmakers need to know, like: 'How to hire a cast and crew for little or NO MONEY' 'How to get your Wimmen nekkid' and most importantly 'How to film on location without pissing off the locals.' Are you ready here is what you have to do. 1.) Buy this book. 2.) Write a script. 3.) MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So firken stupiped dont waste your time
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well, what else can I say that hasn't been said about Troma movies? They're the kinds of movies you watch when you need experiences with independent filmmaking and they're also the types of movies you watch when you want to see what you can do with little money. Featuring forewards and introductions by Trey Parker and James Gunn, with occasional opinion pieces by Trent Haaga and Adam Jahnke, this book is a must-read for anybody who wants to get started in the filmmaking business and anybody who wants to know what it's like to work in low budget movies. Pre-production, post-production, distribution, etc., etc. It's all covered here. Just read the words of Troma President Lloyd Kaufman, da man himself. Here's a man who has killed rats in his basement looking for past memories of all the insanity Troma has left behind in their extensive B-movie history. Lloyd tells it like it is. When finished reading the book, I think you will agree, anybody can make a movie. You can make movies to entertain. The most fun of all is keeping people entertained. It doesn't matter if you don't have the money to make it look perfect, all that matters is that you're pursuing your goal of showing your vision. To all you young filmmakers out there, keep pursuing your goals. It doesn't matter if you don't make a lot of money. What matters is that you enjoy what you're doing, and that is making art. And as Lloyd says, 'Make your own damn movie!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book so much. It's a must read. Whether you're interested in film, currently working on a film, or just love a really great book. Lloyd Kaufman has written a masterpiece of insight into filmmaking and all of the pieces and people involved with the film world. Look for another great book that's suposed to be out soon from Mr. Kaufman. Read 'Make Your Own Damn Movie', it's one of my all time favorites!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great! It is as hilarious as it is informative. I think it's a great boost to the beginning film maker to be told to just get out there and do what he or she loves to do... Make Your Own Damn Movie. LLoyd Kaufman uses his signature style of lewd, crude and very, very funny to make film making attainable to the low or no budget group. The book is actually very well written, and it's hard to put down. Now to complete the Lloyd Kaufman trilogy of writing....will a publisher please, please, please pick up the Toxic Avenger novelization?? I'm waiting anxiously to buy it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Make Your Own Damn Movie' tells you the blood and guts and more guts (with more blood and assorted body parts) of independent movie making. While going through each process of assembling a film it doesn't candy coat the time, trouble, expense, headaches, anxiety and possible asthma attacks making one's own movie a reality WILL be. If one truly wants to make one's dream come true, without selling one's soul to the Hollywood corporate system, this is the book that tells one how to do it. Lloyd Kaufman has been a leader in independent film making for thirty years. He knows how to get it done and shares it with you along with some personal quirks you just may not want to know about Lloyd or anyone else. But I digress. You want to make your own movie under your own control? Buy and read this book. You don't want to make a movie? Buy it anyway. It's so funny you'll wet yourself.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There are very few things Lloyd won't do. Sometimes it's a bad thing, but most of the time it's a bad thing. But sometimes it's pretty da-mn awesome. And all of the time, it's hilarious. Many books are hard to understand, and go through a lot of needless stuff. I am ADD, and can't read through all of that mess. Especially if it's boring. See where I am going here? Lloyd rocks. Troma rocks. Their movies...something. This book (or Lloyd's other book, both which you should buy today!) not only shows you the ropes on filmaking, dumbed down (for ADD people like me) so anyone can understand it; Lloyd also inspires you (not to mention entertaining you, which is how I was able to get through it). Troma not only stands up for and cares about independent art and the people who create it, they have been fighting for this type of independence for over 30 years. Thank you Lloyd. Thank you Troma. Thank you for reading my ADD letter about- hey, something shiny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book.The author is very talented and I am sure that he is very attractive.I hope to meet him soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought it not possible, but the legendary Lloyd Kaufman has done it again with his new book, 'Make your own damn movie!' Legendary Independent Filmmaker Lloyd Kaufman has a heart as vast as his knowledge of the business that has become known as the Indie Film Industry!
Guest More than 1 year ago
From the title on, Lloyd Kaufman¿s Make Your Own Damn Movie is a literary dare, a challenge not only to aspiring filmmakers, but to the general reader¿s conception of what is possible in the entertainment industry. Of course, Kaufman doesn¿t claim that this struggle is easy. Indeed, he opens his new book with an explicit description of having to fight off an army of rats in the basement of his company¿s headquarters, financially unable to pay anyone else to do the job. After thirty years as a proudly defiant filmmaker, studio head, and author, one price of his iconoclasm is that he still has to do much of the dirty work himself. This is far from being his only disadvantage, and while he ultimately gives the impression of joy in doing exactly what he wants to be doing, he doesn¿t shy away from expressing his darkest moments of doubt. Although he provides a great deal of encouragement towards personal filmmaking, even an insistence on the necessity of such work, he also graphically illustrates the turmoil involved. Kaufman¿s first-hand account of these difficulties is unmatched. The rats are only the beginning. Kaufman suggests that those rats are a likely by-product of a McDonald¿s moving in next to the Troma building, and his battle against the ensuing infestation provides a fitting metaphor for Troma¿s uneasy relationship with corporate America, particularly the mainstream media, which Kaufman details in hilarious tirades against bureaucratic elites. This elevates this book over the average ¿how to¿ moviemaking manual. Like the best punk musicians, Kaufman isn¿t concerned with being polite. Also like punk, Kaufman isn¿t terribly concerned with being orderly. Beyond thoroughly covering all the bases of getting a film made, his gleeful digressions provide a splendid impression of Kaufman¿s eclectic mind. Readers of Kaufman¿s first book, All I Need to Know About Filmmaking I Learned From the Toxic Avenge, will recall Kaufman¿s remarkable ability to merge the most diverse cultural elements into a single train of thought. Fans of All I Learned¿s inclusion of perspectives other than Lloyd¿s will be pleased to know that Make Your Own Damn Movie also gives ample voice to various guests, even accommodating an extended debate between Lloyd and a younger collaborator on film vs. digital video. This not only expands the insights of the book, it offers a glimpse at the friendly animosity that appears to fuel Troma productions. Both of Kaufman¿s books provide an exhilarating read, for those who hope to follow in his footsteps and others who are simply interested in how he made it this far. I found Make Your Own Damn Movie to be more beneficial as a tutorial, but in either case, I was deeply moved and inspired as a filmmaker and as a person by Kaufman¿s honesty and perseverance. It certainly helps that even in writing of his greatest hardships, Kaufman can find the joke, and is generous enough to share it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has got to be one of the most informative and ejoyable books I've ever read. Lloyd Kaufman, Adam Jahnke, Trent Haaga, and others, did an awesome job mixing informative, low-budget movie-making tactics with loads of humour. I really enjoyed the footnotes. Lloyd Kaufman brings his years of experience as a writer/producer/director. Trent Haaga, on the other hand, brings his experience as a writer and first-time Assistant Director, as well as being an actor. Somehow, all the different views mesh together and produce one hell of a book. This should be required reading for all film schools. It doesn't hold back on letting you see the true pain and effort they put into making their films. I personally couldn't put it down. Thanks Troma.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Winner of the lifetime achievement award for his body of work and important contribution to the filmindustry at this years's prestigious Amsterdam Fantastic Film Festival, Lloyd Kaufman is a genius making masterpieces on a budget that would barely be enough to pay for one day's catering on an average Hollywood producton and he does it for thirty years now. In a world where low budget independent filmmaking means manymultimillion dollar productions by subdivisions of Warner and Disney, Lloyd Kaufman survived for three decades (and counting) with his truly independent filmcompany Troma and in doing so directed, produced and/or wrote dozens of brilliant films (plus distributed hundreds more works that would otherwise have been totally neglected) without which the world would be an even less happy place! Heck - his work provided loads of 'inspiration' (i.e. rips-off-ism) for the big ones who simply aren't creative enough to come up with their own masterpieces. Want to know how he does it? Interested in learning from his expertise making true art and surviving in an industry that is almost entirely taken over by those big conglomerates? Need to know how you can make your own film you have been dreaming about for so long, but felt discouraged by the way the world has turned out to be? READ HIS BRILLIANT BOOK 'MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN MOVIE'! If there is one person alive (or dead, but they usually don't say too much to begin with) who can actually tell you how to overwin all possible obstacles you might -and will- encounter realising your plans, it is Lloyd Kaufman. He has lived it, he is still doing it, and every film he makes is better than the previous one, even while the problems are getting bigger. Kaufman does not only tell you HOW you can go about making your own damn movie, reading this book his enthousiasm about the art of filmmaking may even get you encouraged to do so even if you didn't have any such plans at all. Apart from that, there are loads of anecdotes from his thirty-plus years in the business and he is one of the most entertaining, witty and funny writers I have ever encountered. Footnotes, additional info and insight in how rewarding working with Lloyd can be (and how good his pay is) are provided by some of those other Troma-people he collaborated, like co-writer/assistant-director on Kaufman's latest masterpiece CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV, Trent Haaga and others. For those who want to learn about the business, for those who want to know about Troma and the filmindustry from the inside, and for those who want to have a damn good time reading, this book is an absolute MUST. I found it to be unputdownable and like his previous book 'ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FILMMAKING I LEARNED FROM THE TOXIC AVENGER' I am sure I will read it many more times. So don't rent it, don't borrow it, but support independent cinema and buy this one. It's a damn good value for your bucks (probably as much as buying the action- and extra's packed brilliant double DVD-set of the unrated Director's cut of CITIZEN TOXIE)!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
what can i say? lloyd kaufman is one of the funniest and most informative writers on independent filmmaking today. this book is a hilarious collection of stories and advice on movie making from a true independent. i highly recommend this book, along with his first one 'everything i need to know about filmmaking i learned from the toxic avenger.' excellent stuff!