Naked Filmmaking

Anthony D'Juan and David Harris being framed up by one-man filmmaker Mike Carroll on loaction for "Nightbeats."

Excerpt from first page of Naked Filmmaking: How To Make A Feature Film – Without A Crew – For $10,000 Or Less by Mike Carroll, writer-producer-director-cinematographer-editor is available now at Amazon.com.

Why “Naked Filmmaking?”

Why? Are you kidding? Because I want this book to sell. I want people to find this on Amazon and Google. Because Naked Filmmaking will get a bigger draw than calling it Digital Filmmaking, Camcorder Cinema or How To Make Movies (That Nobody’s Gonna See). Besides, you found it, didn’t you?Another thing, this is not a book about how to make porn. Sorry to disappoint. Though you can certainly apply these filmmaking techniques to do that. And if you do be sure to send me a DVD.

I believe artists who take their work seriously stand naked in judgement before the audience every time their work is presented. I feel this every time someone watches a film that I’ve written, directed, photographed, edited, recorded most if not all the sound, authored the DVD, and perhaps even played at a film festival out of my laptop and onto the screen. Every time someone watches one of my films I am exposing all of my talents to be accepted or rejected. Hence, Naked Filmmaking.

I’ve made three feature films: Dog Soldiers, Year and Nightbeats. All have played in film festivals. All are available on DVD. All have been made using the methods that I’ll share with you in this book.

Back in the pre-digital day when making an independent film meant 16mm, synchronized sound, editing on a Moviola, an audio remix and a one-pass print of the film there was no way around the $20K-$30K investment. That’s if you knew what you were doing. Nowadays there is no reason why you can’t make a short or feature film or music video for $10,000. If you already have a state-of-the-art computer in front of you it could be less than that.

People say things to me like, “You must really like making movies. It must be a lot of fun.” I always say that if you’re having fun making a movie then you aren’t working hard enough. Filmmaking takes a lot of work and a lot of time. I’d rather be out walking the dogs or watching a movie. But if you have a movie in your head and you want other people to see it, the only way to make that happen is to put a lot of time and a lot of work into it. Nobody is going to make your movie for you.

Every time I make a film it’s from a script that I write. Every shot is one that I shoot. Almost every element of sound is something that I recorded. I direct the actors, though I strive as much as possible to leave them alone to do what they want to do. I edit every frame of footage, listening to every line, scrutinizing every facial reaction, every long shot, medium shot and close-up, deciding exactly how the movie will finally look and play.

There’s a business phrase that’s gotten lots of traction, “Doing more with less.” I do everything with next to nothing. I’m continually baffled by people making no-budget films who believe they need to have a full-size crew made up entirely of volunteers with little or no experience who ultimately only confuse and distract.

I also design the posters, maintain the website, author the DVDs and design the DVD labels and box art.

Until you’re into the realm of filmmaking where you have financing and budgets and can hire experienced professionals the only person you can count on to get done what you want when you want and to your standards is you.

Frank Capra said it best. Recognizing that films made by committees came out as confused muddles, he created his own motto, “One man, one film.” He came up with the story, worked with a writer, produced and directed the picture and, unprecedented for that era of studio filmmaking, oversaw the editing through to final cut.

Don’t ask someone else to do what you can do yourself.

This is a book for people who have always wanted to make a movie and for filmmakers who want to take more control of their films and their sets.

There are lots of how-to-make-a-movie books out there, but this one cuts through all the crap and tells you in simple language and from experience how to go about making a movie without having to borrow money or go broke. How, with $10,000 or less, you can make a 90-100 minute film that would most other people would have to spend $50,000-$250,000 to make. How to make it it look and sound professional and how to send it out to film festivals and bypass distributors and get it out to the world yourself.

It’s thorough, yet easy to read.

I’ve read so many books, articles and interviews where talk of budgets and raising money is thrown around so casually. (“This film was made for nothing – a million dollars.” “We put together a proposal and raised $200,000 from investors.”) To people who are successful at getting investment funds to make their movies (that usually don’t go anywhere) I say, “Congratulations.” To the people who hand over their hard-earned cash I say, “Are you crazy???”

In simple, easy language and proven by experience, this book tells you how to:

  1. Put together a script that can be made without any money
  2. How to find actors
  3. How to find locations
  4. What kind of equipment to buy and how to use it
  5. How to work with actors
  6. How to schedule a long movie in a way that people will keep coming back for you
  7. How to shoot and light and use natural light for scenes
  8. Explains the mysteries of sound and how to record it cleanly
  9. What to do with your footage on the computer and edit it into a proper-looking movie
  10. The baffling process of submitting to film festivals
  11. Finally, and most importantly, how to get it seen by the rest of the world once you’ve got your movie finished.

All the movies - Dog Soldiers, Year and Nightbeats – have been mastered to DVDs, full of extras, and are nowe available on Amazon.com to purchase,  as well as downloads to own or rent.

On Youtube are trailers for all the films, as well as making-of documentaries for Year and Nightbeats.