Filmmaker and actor Robert David Duncan packs a lot of practical advice into his MICRO SHORT FILMMAKING: A GUIDED LEARNING JOURNEY. It’s a quick read, but so rich you’ll likely revisit it, and keep its checklists handy.
Spoiler alert: Here’s the books big idea: Duncan argues that the best way to become a moviemaker is to start by making very short movies. There’s a world of difference between someone who has made a complete movie—even one that’s just 60 seconds—and someone else who has ambitious dreams…but never shoots a frame.
For many reasons, which the author explains, the short form enables the untrained novice to overcome “moviemaker’s block.” And once in the game—after developing that first idea, shooting footage, and editing—there’s a natural progression to getting better and better with each project.
The book isn’t a technical manual. It doesn’t discuss lenses or editing software. Rather, it’s primarily about developing the state of mind—the attitude—needed to use all the currently available innovative and fun gear to make memorable movies. But Duncan does give easy-to-follow production steps—workflow—that will make your micro movie project seem doable. If you’re a school teacher, the method will enable you to get even young students into filmmaking.
Duncan’s method applies to every genre, not just story movies. So if you’ve been dreaming about making a travelogue or a video blog or video biography of a family member, stop dreaming and start shooting.
While it’s possible to create a short movie using a traditional camera, Duncan himself often uses a mobile device. Thanks to the development of smartphones and tablets, plus ingenious and inexpensive software, anyone can make movies worth watching.
The book, written in a clear and entertaining style, also discusses how to get your micro movie into film festivals. With perfect candor, Duncan notes that the odds are always against getting a film accepted. But he builds a compelling case why you should make the effort.
The proof of any advice giver is in the doing. Duncan’s short movies have won prizes in festivals around the world. His work, referenced in the text, is available online. His micro movies are delightful and inspiring. Duncan is also the founder and director of the Miniature Film Festival.
Thanks to this book, I’m about to shoot my first micro movie.
Micro Short Filmmaking is available at Amazon.