The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook (UK 3rd Edition)

Since it’s first edition in the mid 90’s, The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook has become THE DEFINITIVE handbook used and referred to by both emerging filmmakers and experienced filmmakers alike.

It’s format is simple Q and A – the authors ask an expert in every field of film making process, from conception through to completion (and beyond), the ten questions any bright new film maker would ask if they had half an hour to chat over a coffee. And as the authors are three times feature filmmakers and veterans of the business, their questions are incisive, illuminating and to the point.

The guerrilla film makers handbook.

There’s no film historian or lecture style discussion that could be irrelevant or distracting, just what a new filmmaker needs to know, how to do it, how long it will take, how much it will cost, the variables, and what pitfalls they should avoid.

Augmenting the experts are the filmmakers case studies, where filmmakers explain just how they got their films made, what really happened (opposed to what the press said), and what they learned from their own journeys.

The book now contains over 150 expert interviews, runs for 768 pages and is near a million words of vital information. It’s lavishly illustrated from start to end, with diagrams, flow charts and photos. Industry expert interviews are contrasted by The Guerilla Film Makers Box Out Hot Tips, where the authors distil what it all means to the new film maker, and add their own money and time saving techniques. And of course HD and digital film making is now covered.

GuerrillaFilm Handbook.

The authors also tell their story of how they made three low-budget feature films, worked with Oscar-nominated actors and Harrison Ford’s brother, received a royal audience at the Palace, became a target for Turkish terrorists and ended up in a police cell – yet lived to tell the tale!

The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook pulls no punches and is THE definitive guide – buy it and save yourself thousands of pounds.

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Reviews

The cover of Total Film's Superman Returns featuring a GuerillaFilm.

Total Film
The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook is well deserving of its standing atop the world of filmmaking dos and don’ts… the latest edition is highly evolved: less ‘Guerrilla’ and more ‘Complete’.

The Wolverine and X-Men featured on the cover of Empire magazine.

Empire
Possessed by a desire to make commercial movies, twentysomething filmmakers Chris Jones and Genevieve Joliffe dropped out of film school to take their chances in the perilous world of low-budget features…

Spider-Man featured on the cover of a GuerillaFilm review.

Film Review
Described on the back cover by Film Review as ‘the indispensable guide for first-time filmmakers,’ the third edition of this weighty tome (and it does weigh a ton) is the best yet.

The cover of GuerillaFilm magazine featuring a man with his hand on his face.

Film Review
It was just coincidence that landed Chris Jones and Genevieve Jolliffe in the cells. The pair of young British film-makers just happened to have shot their second feature yards from the home of Fred West…

So what's in the book?

The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook is broken up into several sections.

Anatomy of a Movie – A step-by-step guide to all aspects of production, from copyright law to casting agents, direction to distribution, cash sources to stunts. We ask the questions to which, YOU, the Producer, need to know the answers. It starts in with Training where we look at the avenues open to people who want a formal education (as well as informal training), followed by Concept where we look at the various types and reasons for making a film, and the possible outcome.

A book is open on a white background.

Then there is Screenplay where we look at the different ways you can approach getting a screenplay, and working in that business. Finance follows, where the money is and how to manage the business. Next is Pre Production, followed by Production and then Post Production. Sales and Distribution are next, completed by the What Next section, where we look at how best to manage your project and career. Remember, it’s not just about THIS film, it’s about a lifetimes worth of films.

Case Studies – The authors tell the story of how they made three low-budget feature films, worked with Oscar-nominated actors and Harrison Ford’s brother, received a royal audience at the Palace, became a target for Turkish terrorists and ended up in a police cell – yet lived to tell the tale. More recently they tell of their exploits in Hollywood following their latest movie success Urban Ghost Story.

Plus there are detailed studies of many other new film makers, from micro-budget to mega-budget, revealing how they did it. Including Edgar Wright (Shaun Of The Dead), Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers), Julian Richards (The Last Horror Movie), Alan Niblo (Football Factory), Jake West (Evil Aliens), the guys who made Saw, the team behind Open Water, and many more…(see contents below).

Producers Toolkit – The legal documentation required to produce your own low-budget feature films, plus loads of forms such as call sheets, movement orders, sound report sheets etc., and a complete budget breakdown. The legal contracts were compiled by media solicitor Helen Tulley whilst the forms were compiled and honed down during the production of several low budget feature films. Plus guides to international sales, distribution and company formation etc.

A collection of GuerillaFilm movie dvds on a white background.

Software Guide – Accompanying the book is a CD Rom with a powerful screenplay formatter that will free you to concentrate on the creative stuff whilst it deals with all the boring formatting stuff. Works with MS Word for Windows (we are working on a Mac one) and can import scripts written in pretty much any other program. There’s also all the legal contracts, typed up for you, plus all the forms for you to fill in.

The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook pulls no punches. Heavily illustrated and written in lay terms with no bullshit, it is THE definitive guide – buy it and save yourself thousands of pounds.

Review

Film Review – UK Guerilla Film Makers Handbook

The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook *****

Described on the back cover by Film Review as ‘the indispensable guide for first-time filmmakers,’ the third edition of this weighty tome (and it does weigh a ton) is the best yet. Fully revised and updated, the book benefits enormously from the fact that it’s been authored by two actual filmmakers, whose wealth of experience produces some valuable tips. This is further augmented by interviews with150 industry experts, among them writers, directors, gaffers, sound recordists, composers and producers (including such respected names as Nik Powell). With advice on lighting, editing and even product placement, the book will be as essential as film in a camera for first timers.

Johnny Depp on the cover of a GuerillaFilm review.

Empire – UK Guerilla Film Makers Handbook

Possessed by a desire to make commercial movies, twentysomething filmmakers Chris Jones and Genevieve Joliffe dropped out of film school to take their chances in the perilous world of low-budget features. Two movies later and the couple have pooled their mistakes, knowledge and experiences into this nifty guide to the pleasures and perils of shoestring cinema.

Pitching itself squarely at committed wannabe helmers rather than the general reader, the book is divided into three distinct sections. The first is a series of Q&A interviews with key industry pros that details each stage of the filmmaking process from financing to distribution via production: while occasionally the techno talk and legalese is a tad dry, the info it provides, be it negotiating the quagmire of copyright law or what to do if your lead actor dies, is comprehensive and invaluable.

More entertaining by far is the chapter concerning the adventures of Jones and Joliffe making movies, which fleshes out not only the messy reality of “going indie” – perpetual blagging, constant rejection, virtual bankruptcy – but also the dedicated minutes required to get a project finished and sold. Moreover, anecdotes such as working with Harrison Ford’s younger brother Terence, the duo’s wrongful arrest for fraudulent behaviour, or shooting White Angel, a serial killer drama, unwittingly in Fred West’s locale make diverting if somewhat cautionary tales.

With most “How to make a movie” guides coming from the US, that this provides a British perspective is particularly refreshing – the final “tool kit” section includes a useful collection of contacts and necessary documents. As attends the low budget milieu, the book does lack glossy production values but makes up for it by employing an accessible layout laced with a plethora of light-hearted advice – “Get a rich father” – and handy hints: add 50 fictitious names to the end credits to create extra kudos. Overall, then, a revelatory read which will inform and inspire in equal measure.

The cover of Empire magazine featuring a couple.

Film Review Summer – UK Guerilla Film Makers Handbook

It was just coincidence that landed Chris Jones and Genevieve Jolliffe in the cells. The pair of young British film-makers just happened to have shot their second feature, White Angel, 100 yards from the home of Fred West a year before the serial killer was arrested, and somehow the police thought that the replica guns and other props used in the film were real. And it was while they were in the cells that they decided they had a story to tell.

The book, The Guerrilla Film-Makers Handbook, is much more than just an account of their misadventures film-making (although the story of the first film, which starred Harrison Ford’s unknown brother Terence, sounds irresistibly like the plot of Bowfinger). It’s also in an undisputed position as the indispensable guide for first-time film-makers, and the good news is that Continuum have just published a fully updated and revised second edition.

Most similar guides to low-budget film-making in the UK begin with the of finding cameraman and so forth, but Jones and Jolliffe take the reader through the process from even earlier steps. It’s first section deals with the importance of solicitors, accountants, insurance and bank managers long before it even begins to deal with the nitty-gritty of hiring cameras and lights. It then moves through the making of the film, from production to post-production to sales, and gives a series of case studies from the likes of Matthew Vaughn (Lock Stock), Eduardo Sanchez (Blair Witch) and Justin Kerrigan (Human Traffic).

Perhaps even more useful yet is what Jones and Jolliffe call their tool kit, which is packed with legal forms such as agreements for the cast and crew and useful documents with titles like ’21 points to look for in the sales agent/distribution agreement’. And there’s also a huge number of hot tips and directories and a CD Rom with a screenplay formatter and legal contracts. Weighing in at a hefty 640 pages, the book should be any new film-makers first port of call. Perhaps even more useful yet is what Jones and Jolliffe call their tool kit, which is packed with legal forms such as agreements for the cast and crew and useful documents with titles like ’21 points to look for in the sales agent/distribution agreement’. And there’s also a huge number of hot tips and directories and a CD Rom with a screenplay formatter and legal contracts. Weighing in at a hefty 640 pages, the book should be any new film-makers first port of call.

“As a producer”, co-author Jolliffe insists, “you need to understand the whole process of film-making, from conception to completion, so that you can spot someone attempting to pull the wool over your eyes”. We asked the questions producers ought to know the answers to. In practice we found that not only did producers not know the answers, they didn’t even know the question in the first place!”

“Film-making is not very difficult”, adds Jones “it’s more hard work than anything, and we wanted to show people just how to make a low-budget film without a entangling them in all sorts of technical and legal nonsense. If you have a copy of The Guerrilla Film-Makers Handbook, loads of energy and a little cash, you can make a feature film.”

No doubt there are plenty of readers to whom that sounds a pretty attractive proposition. The books priced at £19.99 – but its writers claim that they will save you thousands of pounds. Let’s leave the final word to Daniel Myrick, director of The Blair Witch Project, who knows a bit about budget film-making. He says that it’s “absolutely indispensable” and concludes that “it should be within arm’s reach throughout the entire film-making process.”

 

Harrison Ford featured on the cover of a film review.