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Hillman Curtis on Creating Short Films for the Web (Voices) Paperback – 31 Aug 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: New Riders; 1 edition (31 Aug. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321278917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321278913
  • Product Dimensions: 19.1 x 1.3 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,111,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

Legendary Web designer and author Hillman Curtis has always been fascinated by motion and movement. In 2001, inspired in part by the affordability and accessibility of digital video, he began to experiment with short digital films in an effort to reinvigorate his creative spirit and express himself both personally and professionally.

The nine projects Hillman describes in this book, each between 60 seconds and 10 minutes long, draw from a wide variety of creative sources and take various forms—documentaries, music videos, a fictional short film, and a series of video portraits. Each one is unique, yet the goal is always the same: to capture in video the essence of his subject.

Equal parts inspiration, instruction, and personal essay, Hillman Curtis on Creating Short Films for the Web offers an intimate look into the author’s personal filmmaking process: from the ideas and influences that drive the concept and theme of the piece, through the setup, shoot, and assembly of a rough cut, to the final edit. Hillman explains how his flexible, often spontaneous filmmaking style is guided by certain principles—the value of leaving room for serendipity, the freedom found within self-imposed limitations, the importance of collaborating with others, and the possibilities for discovery and revision when reacting to unforeseen accidents.

Throughout the book, Hillman offers advice on filmmaking’s numerous elements, such as direction, sound, editing, and interviewing. Also included is a primer to help you get up and running with your own digital video projects—explaining the equipment you’ll need and providing an overview of the filmmaking process—and an appendix that guides you through building your own Flash video player.

Hillman Curtis is the founder of, a design studio specializing in Web site design, motion graphics, and digital video. Hillman’s clients include Yahoo!, Adobe,, British Airways, MTV, and Intel. His expert and innovative design solutions have garnered him and his company numerous awards, including the Communication Arts Award of Excellence and the South by Southwest Conference “Best Use of Design” and “Best of Show.” Author of the bestselling Flash Web Design: The Art of Motion Graphics and MTIV: Process, Inspiration and Practice for the New Media Designer, Hillman lives in New York City with his family.

About the Author

Hillman Curtis is the principal and chief creative officer of hillmancurtis inc., an all-medium digital design firm in New York. An award-winning designer and a former art director at Macromedia, Hillman has been hugely influential in expanding the boundaries of Web and motion graphic design. He is also the author of the best-selling Flash Web Design andMTIV.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
well, as I am getting into learning video for photojournalists I thought I would read this. Unfortunatly, although I admire Hillman's work, I found the writing style to be err.. head up your own bum most of the way. I learnt more from the web.
Sorry H.
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By choddo on 25 Sept. 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this as a story about the up & downs of someone's growth into a new career as much as for the skills it tries to give you. Very well written and beautifully presented.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
For those in transition.... a great source of rejuvination. 27 Sept. 2005
By j-pizzO - Published on
Format: Paperback
Not so much as a "How to do" book, but more of a collection of a great designer's struggles with how to follow your heart and chase after your destiny.

Acclaimed Web Designer Hillman Curtis book provides us access to his frustrations within his successful career and how he is re-inventing himself as a digital video director/producer.

As all of us in the creative fields have reached a plateau where we feel we are simply re-creating and not creating... Hillman gives an honest and refreshing account of how he hit his plateau and how he has branched into a new design field, re-energizing his career and more importantly... his life.

Giving exact specifications on which camera, editing software, lighting rigs, etc... Hillman provides a great start for us beginners venturing into the digital video realm for the first time.

Unlike his previous Flash books which provide detail, step by step accounts on how to do various projects (all of which are now outdated - admitted by Hillman), this book is more of an inspiration on why to stretch yourself when you are creatively stagnant.

Inspired enough to write this review... inspired enough to grab a DV camera, shoot some film and see what happens.

If inspiring you into action isn't the benchmark of a great book... i don't know what is.

Thanks Hillman.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Hillman should get an Oscar. 6 Mar. 2006
By Halifax Creative User Group - Published on
Format: Paperback
For anyone wanting to create a short film, web or otherwise, this book is a great starting point. Curtis takes you through some of his works and offers insights into projects - success and not so successful. The candid approach to the work runs more like a one man show of dialogue. Do not expect a How To format. Curtis is all about letting you in on his experiences.

Curtis these days is trying to re-invent himself from a designer to a digital video producer from a web designer (an a darn good one at that). Being one who is starting to dabble in video after I picked up my dvd palmcam last year - I appreciated being shown the path by one who has been there before.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not what I expected but... 30 Sept. 2005
By dude - Published on
Format: Paperback
turns out to be way more valuable than any how to book. This book doesn't help me dial in final cut pro settings, but it does help me focus on ways to capture the essence of my subject so that I want to dial in final cut pro settings. In a way this book is sort of old fashioned in that it focuses on the human need to communicate and not the steps nessisary to make a computer work.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Personal Viewpoint 13 Oct. 2005
By R. V. Windfield - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

This is an insightful book in many regards. If you are looking for step by step instructions or ideas on how to set up Flash Video it says it all in about 1/6 of the back of the book. It tell not so much as how but why. Some may be surprised that he reads the Bible and lives in Grass Valley CA. part time.

I love the books interviews, insights, mistakes, and success stories. Very candid.


Great! You will see how simple the process is as well as learn why you should bother. You video guys heads up this is the way to go. Get Flash 8 Pro!

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
It's an okay read 11 Jun. 2006
By yogagirl - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very lightweight read regarding the process of production. It's more of a personal journal, blog-style account than anything substantial a reader can learn from. However, it does have merit in that respect. So, if you're a newbie and want to get your feet wet, this may be a book you'd like to read to get yourself into those baby steps.

It's a bit refreshing to read a guy's perspective when it's not full of posturing and bravado. The author has a more self-nurturing tone and approaches the work with humility, which again isn't bad for a newbie.

The bottom line is: don't expect anything that is going to turn you into a video producer overnight. Admittedly, it's a hard profession, technical, requiring time, money and connections, and is very competitive. This is not a strong technical manual.

I have a BA in Film/Video and make educational videos/multimedia for a living, so my perspective is a bit skewed.
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