(hb; 1995: nonfiction)
From the back cover:
"No one landed on the cinematic map with more explosive force than Robert Rodriguez, director of El Mariachi. Just how did this amateur filmmaker from Texas - with only one camera, no crew, and a budget largely raised by subjecting himself to medical experimentation - manage to complete a feature film for $7,000 and get himself wined and dined by Hollywood's biggest movie moguls? Now, in his own. . . shooting style, [he] discloses all the unique strategies and innovative techniques he used to make El Mariachi on the cheap. You'll see firsthand Rodriguez's whirlwind 'Mariachi-style' filmmaking, where creativity - not money - is used to solve problems. Culminating in his 'Ten Minute Film School,' this book may render conventional film-school programs obsolete."
This is one of the best books I have read about filmmaking. It shows, in practical and often humorous terms, how practically anyone with a lot of energy, planning and focus can make a worthwhile entertaining film in a relatively short period of time (when compared to time- and finance-bloated Hollywood blockbusters whose entertainment returns are less than one would hope).
Yes, making a film can be a lot of work, but it is probably less work (and more worthwhile) than Grumbling Gusses think - and, most importantly, it is easily doable, a feat that is not limited to those who already have money, fame and powerful connections.
Inspirational, practical and (potentially) life-changing, this should be read by anyone who has even flirted with the idea of making movies. Own this already. =)