The Reel Truth: Everything You Didn't Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film

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Overview

Did you know that most of the biggest indie filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers working today each made the same avoidable mistakes early on in their careers?

The Reel Truth details the pitfalls, snares, and roadblocks that aspiring filmmakers encounter. Reed Martin interviewed more than one hundred luminaries from the independent film world to discuss the near misses that almost derailed their first and second films and identify the close shaves that could have cut their ...

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The Reel Truth: Everything You Didn't Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film

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Overview

Did you know that most of the biggest indie filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers working today each made the same avoidable mistakes early on in their careers?

The Reel Truth details the pitfalls, snares, and roadblocks that aspiring filmmakers encounter. Reed Martin interviewed more than one hundred luminaries from the independent film world to discuss the near misses that almost derailed their first and second films and identify the close shaves that could have cut their careers short. Other books may tell you the best way to make your independent film or online short, but no other book describes so candidly how to spot and avoid such issues and obstacles as equipment problems, shooting-day snafus, postproduction myths, theatrical distribution deal breakers, and dozens of other commonly made missteps, including the top fifty mistakes every filmmaker makes.

From personal experience and his years as a freelance reporter covering independent film for USA Today and Filmmaker magazine, Martin uncovers the truth about the risks and potential rewards that go with chasing celluloid glory. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, looking for financing, about to start shooting, or thinking about investing time and money (or someone else’s money) in an independent film, The Reel Truth is a must-read.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an amazingly well-researched and accurate chronicle of independent filmmaking. I learned so much—things I wish I’d known when I was in the middle of it all myself. It is hard sometimes to make filmmaking advice flow with dramatic interest, but Reed Martin keeps it clear, eloquent, and fresh. I would definitely suggest The Reel Truth to aspiring filmmakers—it would make a great textbook—and I am personally looking forward to the next volume, especially now." —Tom DiCillo, director of Living in Oblivion, Johnny Suede, Delirious, and When You’re Strange

The Reel Truth is definitely a book every filmmaker should read. Reed Martin does a great job of covering everything from first-timer mistakes to new paths in distribution and gets some really great advice from leading producers, distributors, writers—pretty much everyone.” —Brian Newman, CEO, Tribeca Film Institute

“[Martin] interviewed Danny Boyle, Christine Vachon, Doug Liman, Barbara Kopple, Alexander Payne, Darren Aronofsky, and Werner Herzog along with dozens of indie film execs. He says he asked everyone two questions: ‘What’s the worst advice you ever got?’ and ‘What do you wish somebody had told you that would have saved you a lot of trouble?’ . . . Martin peppers The Reel Truth’s tales of woe with inspirational stories about tough-minded auteurs who refuse to give up.’” —Hugh Hart, The  San Francisco Chronicle

 

“The road to making an indie film can seem more like the stations of the cross at times. Reed Martin’s The Reel Truth is the gospel telling of a journey that many martyrs have taken before. Bring it with you for inspiration, and as a reminder that any movie that gets made is a miracle.” —Matt Tyrnauer, director/producer, Valentino: The Last Emperor

 

“Reed Martin’s The Reel Truth is not only a terrific guide for aspiring filmmakers and a modern textbook for film school students everywhere. The advice and anecdotes in the chapters covering production, marketing, distribution, and online exhibition are useful for working filmmakers as well. For anyone hoping to make a successful independent film—especially in today’s hyper-competitive environment—The Reel Truth is required reading.” —Miguel Arteta, director, Youth in Revolt, and The Good Girl

 

“A brilliant how-to manual for tackling and mastering the industry.” —Anthony Bregman, producer of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

 

“This book is indispensable.” —Tom Bernard, Copresident, Sony Pictures Classics

“The path to the premiere and beyond of any feature film is a minefield. With The Reel Truth, Reed Martin has given new filmmakers the battalion of bomb detectors necessary for survival.” —Ted Hope, producer of The Ice Storm

 

“Reed Martin has created a smart, engaging read that is also one of the most comprehensive and cutting-edge looks at the changing face of independent-film production and distribution today. This is the one book I would call essential for anyone who really wants to make a career out of filmmaking.” —Drew McWeeny, aka Moriarty, Ain’t It Cool News

 

“Packed with practical advice and anecdotes from successful indie icons, Reed has written a guidebook essential for any aspiring filmmaker.” —Tom Ortenberg, President of Theatrical Films, The Weinstein Company

“The most up-to-date guide readers could want…No one who embarks on a feature of his or her own after reading The Reel Truth can say he or she has not been warned—and, more important, not been prepared.” —Jim Hemphill, American Cinematographer Magazine

 

“A must-have manual of knowledge and entertainment for beginning and experienced filmmakers...To not have this information is like scuba diving by yourself, skydiving without packing your own parachute...why risk it?” —Chris Eyre, director of Smoke Signals

 

“What's great about The Reel Truth isn't simply its usefulness, but its thoroughness...Martin's invaluable book will help you navigate the treacherous terrain of the modern independent film scene.” —Chris Bolton Powells.com

 

“An invaluable resource for those striking out on their own…From production, post-production, marketing and distribution, the book also covers such areas as dealing with music licensing, investors, script theft and securing legal help. However, it is Martin's personal interviews with leading directors, writers, producers and studio executives that offers “The Reel Truth” an extra layer of validity and insight to make it a true “insider's guide.” —Jorge Carreon, Examiner.com (Los Angeles)

“Making a movie, be it a five-minute short or a two-hour feature, takes more than vision. In his witty and addictively readable book The Reel Truth, author Reed Martin provides 500 pages of how-to advice for would-be De Palmas—everything from financing to casting, scoring to marketing—and backs it up with cautionary anecdotes and tips from famous directors.” —Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald

“Reed Martin interviews some of the brightest minds in independent cinema, including Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and Christopher Nolan (“Memento”), for riveting first-person accounts of their own success stories as well as the moments when their careers could have ended right then and there if they opted to give up …More importantly, Martin offers practical lessons for those still dedicated enough to want to make a film.” ––Christian Toto, Examiner.com (Denver)

Publishers Weekly

Film marketer and business professor Martin has created a step-by-step guide on how to make an indie film and includes stories from and about such industry insiders as producer Christine Vachon and directors Doug Liman and Kimberly Peirce. Martin covers everything from raising money to distribution, while including invaluable details such as the average cost of a soundtrack song (about $15,000, but $500,000 if it's the Rolling Stones) or the price of renting a New York City theater for a one-week run ($10,000-$50,000). Using current examples like the trial and tribulations of Sideways director Alexander Payne or the financing behind Swingers, Martin dispenses practical advice culled from real-life indie hits and misses that is both inspiring and cautionary. For certain technical information (sample budget breakdowns and representation contracts), Martin includes a solid appendix in what is ultimately an informative and very entertaining account of the indie film for would-be independent filmmakers and producers. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780571211036
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 323,408
  • Product dimensions: 8.26 (w) x 5.48 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Reed Martin has taught film finance and marketing at a variety of institutions, including NYU's Stern School of Business and Columbia Business School, and is the former director of marketing at Cary Woods’s Independent Pictures.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 6, 2011

    Fantastic!

    Tremendously helpful if you are an independent and first time filmmaker. I read virtually all books about this subject and found this book by far the best in terms of how Reed Matin's experience and tips translate into the real world of independent film production, finance, distribution, and marketing. Highly recommended!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    INDIE FILM MAKERS PLEASE READ "THE REEL TRUTH!!!!!"

    I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!

    I am a professional film actor and my knowledge of what happens behind the camera is limited. I have always loved the movie business and aspire to do more than be just infront of the camera. Reed Martin truly knows what he is talking about in this book and backs it up with relative and pertinent information, much of it from personal experience.

    When I saw it on the shelf it was literally screaming at me to pick it up! I am glad I did! I actually sat on the floor at Barnes and Nobel, for 20 minutes and I couldn't put the book down! I knew, at that moment, I had found a terrific resource for gaining knowledge of every aspect of making an independent film.

    When I was a kid, my father taught me the importance of learning and gaining knowledge of every aspect of whatever business one is involved in. He explained that one doesn't have to be an expert on everything but, knowing a little bit about every aspect gives you contrast to know if something is or isn't working or if you are getting screwed by someone.

    In "The Reel Truth," Reed Martin gives you that broad scope of knowledge. What he talks about is indespensible, from development to post production to marketing and distribution and beyond. Marketing is one area where I see a lot of independent film makers screw up. There is nothing more frustrating for an actor to work in a film where no one but dear old mom and dad will see it. If you want to do your film justice, then you "HAVE TO" seriously consider "EVERY" aspect of making a film and doing it right.

    If you want to make it big as an indie film maker then you have to play big and think big. Playing small won't serve you! You have to change your thinking! Reed Martin shows you how in "The Reel Truth."

    Please...I am begging you!!! Read This Book!!! It really is that good!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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