Kelley Baker is the Angry Filmmaker. But his independent films are not angry - they're honest. He's angry at the state of independent film. For Baker, it's about telling the story, not what actors are starring in it.
Baker worked in Hollywood for over 20 years. He was the sound designer on six of Gus Van Sant's feature films, including My Own Private Idaho, Good Will Hunting, and Finding Forrester.
He is a graduate of USC's film school and has written and directed three full length features (Birddog, The Gas Cafe, and Kicking Bird), eight short films, and quite a few documentaries. His films have aired on PBS and Canadian and Australian television, and have been shown at Film Festivals including London, Sydney, Sundance, and Edinburgh.
He travels the country showing his fiercely independent work at art house theaters, media art centers, colleges, universities, and even bars. Here, with all his attitude, is the wisdom of an Angry Filmmaker, gained the hard way, through experience.
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Mandatory Listening for Independent Filmmakers
This is the best book you'll find on independent filmmaking.
There really are no comparable books to The Angry Filmmaker Survival Guide. There are plenty of books written by independent filmmakers but none of them have the combination of honesty and motivation that Baker's book provides. Other books prepare you to enter an industry. This books prepares you to express yourself with practical guidelines.
You get a hint of emphasis from headings and italics but nothing in the written form translates Baker's passion. He genuinely cares for his readers as filmmakers and his voice never fails to communicate that. Also, cursing is far better spoken than written. Baker curses with the best of them. George Carlin would be proud.
As a fellow filmmaker, there are two sections of the book that meant the most: writing and post-production. Baker does a great job of articulating the creative AND practical implications of the writing process as it pertains to the production of your movie. He also does a great job of dissecting the potential successes and failures in post-production as a result of what you did in production.
Generally speaking, I'm loathe to read the anecdotes of successful filmmakers as they often do a great job of showing off for the author but don't demonstrate anything of use for the reader. Baker does quite the opposite. Many of his anecdotes could be qualified as "failures" in the filmmaking process but Baker presents them as learning opportunities that he's taken into subsequent productions. Baker isn't out to wow you with his resume. He's out to inform you about the process.
Anyone who sets out to make personal, meaningful films should be required to listen to this book. It's as though you have a terribly cool uncle in the same field you want to enter and he pulls no punches in telling you what you really need to know before you get started. Baker's tough love and hard-earned wisdom are great antidotes for all the books that promise to give you all the secrets to making a great film. He promises nothing more than generously sharing all the knowledge he's accrued through decades in film. This filmmaker is grateful for that.
- John A. Rangel