Book Review: Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts


This book will take you step-by-step through the process of making a five-minute short film and getting it noticed.

The Good

As I read this book, I kept thinking about how helpful it would have been if I’d read it before I’d already made a bunch of films. It assumes nothing and therefore covers everything, which is great if you’re a beginner.

At the same time, it only gives you enough information to get you going. They leave the rest up to your imagination, letting you figure out things that aren’t as important.

Also great is a list of crew positions that you’ll want to find people for, and job descriptions for each. I have not seen many books that spell out precisely what each person should do, so this one was a pleasant surprise.

It’s a very quick read, too. Because of that, you can read the whole book in a few hours and then be on to planning your movie right away. Always a plus.

The Bad

Unfortunately, there’s an exercise in the book where the authors suggest you rent a movie from a list they provide and watch it to see how the pros do their camerawork. All well and good, except that most of the films listed were, ahem, rated R. Not a good idea, considering the book’s target audience is underaged teens.

Most of the book is designed to make your movie look good without stressing the story too much. To remedy that situation, I’m recommending that you grab any Pixar movie with a bonus disc and watch the extras on story.

In an attempt to be hip, parts of the book are a little disrespectful, though nothing monumentally so.

There’s not really anything in the book to tell you what to do if you want to make another movie. Do we follow the book’s formula again? Or do we shoot for something bigger?


If you’ve already read some other filmmaking books and made some films of your own, you’ll probably find most of this book to be review. However, I learned a few things that were never covered in some of my other books.

This book is excellent for any teen wanting to try filmmaking for the first time. You’ll learn tons of stuff in a few hours and if you follow the steps and rules in the book, you’ll have a nice short film that people will actually want to see.

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