The Filmmaker’s Journey (2016) – By Misty Layne


What’s this? A book review! Sure is, but it’s a book about filmmaking so it totally belongs here on Rogue! “The Filmmaker’s Journey (Or What No One Tells You About the Industry)” by Chris Esper is a quick and easy read about his beginnings in filmmaking, told via personal stories and advice. It’s a book I’d absolutely recommend for kids who have just started considering directing/filmmaking, or those who have literally just made their first films, as it’s an excellent beginner’s guide. A lot of the advice you’ll find is advice you’ll have heard before (pick up the camera and go! the best way to learn is do. you’ve made your film, now what?), but Esper personalizes each chapter of generic advice with a story from his history in filmmaking that makes this book far more fun than your average filmmaker’s guide. There’s also a lot of great resources listed in the book, which is definitely a plus – names of festival submission sites, names of reviewers, names of teachers, etc. That’s probably the book’s strongest suit.

The chapter on “Technology and Filmmaking” is probably my least favorite as it discusses social media. (I should preface this by saying that my day job is working in social media.) A sentence from this chapter reads, “I often feel like it’s a second job to promote myself online because of how much effort goes into it.” and that’s because it IS (it’s my job actually, ha). It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Esper’s advice when it comes to social media, per se – in fact, he has some excellent advice when he says to be careful what you say; don’t post about religion or politics (he is SOOOO right) – but some of the other advice, while not untrue, is really generic. I guess what I’m saying is use Esper’s advice as a point of reference, not a step-by-step road map. Figure out what works for you because what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. And it doesn’t hurt to go take a free online course on the subject either. I’ve handled social media for everyone from filmmakers to authors, chefs to schools, and more. Mix’n’match and be authentic. Being authentic (or yourself, as Esper says) is the most important thing you can do. (Ahem, sorry, Esper. I just totally hijacked your social media chapter. It’s a good thing we’re not on Tumblr, cause that was really sucky etiquette. My apologies!)

Overall, “The Filmmaker’s Journey” is a light, easy read with some fun personal stories and decent advice. Definitely recommended for the beginning filmmaker, and I think as Esper grows and ages, he’ll learn a shit-ton more and have more wisdom to impart. (He actually has a vlog that goes along with the book that you should check out to stay up-to-date on his going ons!) So, newbie filmmakers, head on over to Amazon and grab up Esper’s book, then swing by his vlog to learn more!