Cheap Scares (Book)


Cheap Scares reviewReviewed by Scott A. Johnson

Written by Gregory Lamberson

Published by McFarland

So you think you know how to make movies, eh? You’ve got your camera and a script, and now you’re ready to roll, right? Not so fast there, Sparky. There’s a lot more to making a movie than just your dad’s hi-8 and a bunch of friends. Do you have a budget? And once you’ve finished shooting it, then what? Trying to create a movie will create a whole lot of questions. Be thankful that Gregory Lamberson comes to your rescue with Cheap Scares: Low Budget Horror Filmmakers Share Their Secrets.

When you need to know about making movies, who do you want to ask? You don’t want a book written by someone who just graduated from film school or who has nothing but theory under his belt. You want advice from real film makers who have been where you are, dealing with micro-budgets and starting from scratch. To this end, Lamberson has recruited thirteen able celluloid professors to impart wisdom, anecdotes, and helpful tips. Not to mention that Lamberson himself has a great deal of film-making experience. This book is a full film course.

Beginning with filmmaker JR Bookwalter, Cheap Scares takes the reader through the early experiences, inspirations, and tribulations of micro-budget directors and producers. Included also are names such as Justin Wingenfeld, Roy Frumkes, and Larry Fessenden. Together, those interviewed gives tips and advice on subjects ranging from festivals, Hollywood, and legal briefs to dealing with actors, using guerilla marketing, and treating horror as an art form.

The other half of the book is Lamberson knowledgeably discussing every aspect of micro-budget filmmaking that a young auteur could imagine, and a few he probably hadn’t even thought of. From hiring the right cast and crew to pre-production to post-production and finding a distributor, everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) is covered. Want to know how to make a budget and how much you’ll realistically make off your movie? It’s in there. Want to know the proper format for your screenplay? Yup, it’s in there too. Curious about how to market your film and promote it to festivals? This is the book to read.

There are literally thousands of “how-to” books out there aimed at indie filmmakers, but few of them actually provide a complete, concise details about how to effectively make a movie on a tiny budget. Cheap Scares provides the best advice from people who have been in the trenches, and weeds out all the garbage. Lamberson’s book is one of the few that no indie horror filmmaker should be without.

5 out of 5

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