Indie Filmmaking Resources & Underground Cinema's Caveh Zahedi

Notable Websites:

Short-Film Venues:

Recommended Filmmaking Books:
  • “$30 Film School” by Michael W. Dean
  • “Adventures in the Screen Trade” by William Goldman
  • “Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect” by Claudia H. Johnson
  • “Digital Filmmaking 101: An Essential Guide to Producing Low Budget Movies” by Dale Newton and John Gaspard
  • “Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices: How to Write, Produce, Direct, Shoot, Edit, and Promote a Feature-Length Movie for Less Than $15,000” by Rick Schmidt
  • “From Reel to Deal: Everything You Need to Create a Successful Independent Film” by Dov S-S Simens
  • “How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime” by Roger Corman and Jim Jerome
  • “How to Make an Action Movie for $99” by Andrew Mayne Harter
  • “Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director” by Lloyd Kaufman
  • “Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player” by Robert Rodriguez
  • “Script Partners: What Makes Film and TV Writing Teams Work” by Claudia Johnson and Matt Stevens
  • “Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting” by Robert McKee
  • “The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age” by Steven Ascher, Edward Pincus, et al.
  • “The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook” by Genevieve Jolliffe and Chris Jones
  • “The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint” by Chris Jones
  • “The Screenwriter’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Writing, Formatting, and Selling Your Script” by David Trottier

The above cinema resource list will be updated regularly, so send suggestions my way.


According to a new feature in Back Stage magazine, entitled "Creating Indie Cinema: A Guide to Making Low-Budget Films":

"The rationales for making films are manifold: an undying passion to tell a particular story, a chance at making millions of dollars, or the hope of creating a 'calling card' flick that will result in more work. An actor unhappy with the roles he's been getting (or not getting) might decide to take his career into his own hands by producing a vehicle for himself. A writer unable to sell her screenplays (or tired of seeing her work destroyed by others) may finally direct her own project."

What this opening graph fails to mention is that in the middle of this huge article, there's a great little interview with one of the coolest underground filmmakers on the face of the planet:
Caveh Zahedi.

Also, there's a wealth of inside info from the guys behind InDigEnt, the Sundance Channel,, and others. The article even talks to a super-low-budget (and I mean low) filmmaker that recently paid his rent by appearing in Sam "
Majority Report" Seder's super-funny (and little seen) new Trio sitcom, "Pilot Season."

Key quotes:

“I think actors, especially, would be well-advised to make their own movies,” says award-winning filmmaker Caveh Zahedi. “There’s nothing more painful than waiting around, dependent on someone else to cast you.”
Some people make a distinction between performing and not performing,” Zahedi muses. “But I think that distinction is a little false. People are always performing in some way, and they’re always not performing in some way. I’m just being myself, but what is ‘myself’? It’s a construct on some level. I’m not trying to fake anything, but I’m definitely engaged in a relation with someone else whose gaze I’m aware of, and I’m acting accordingly.”
It’s the beast of necessity—if you have a story you have to tell, and you can only get $10,000 for it, then you should find a way to tell that story, and just do it.”—producer Jake Abraham “I mean, if you’ve only got a VHS camcorder or an old 8mm film camera, go for it. You’ve gotta work with what you’ve got.” —filmmaker Matthew Langdon Weiss
I think the most important thing if you’re an aspiring filmmaker is to get rid of the ‘aspiring.’ How do you do that? You make a film,” Academy Award-winning director James Cameron told The Guardian. “I don’t care if it’s two minutes long and shot on Super 8 or DV or whatever. You shoot it, you put your name on it, you’re a filmmaker. Everything after that, you’re just negotiating your budget.”

For some reason, the full version of this article, when it was posted online at, excluded the handy checklist of indie-film resources found in the print edition. So I've listed this new version of the filmmaking sidebar above (with thanks to the article's original author, of course, who gave me permission to create an updated, hot-linked version of the list since it otherwise wouldn't exist online):


Related Article: Shooting for Success -- An Actor’s Guide to the Student-Filmmaking Experience

1 comment:

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