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Life Just Is: Director's Journal Paperback – 15 Nov 2012

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 210 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (15 Nov. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480042684
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480042681
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,891,135 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Alex Barrett is an independent filmmaker whose films collectively have been selected for over 50 international festivals, including such prestigious events as the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Hamburg International Short Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition, his work has enjoyed a number of non-festival screenings, including showings at the BFI Southbank, Riverside Studios, Brixham Theatre and the Victoria & Albert museum. To date his films have garnered eight awards, including 'Best Lo-Budget Film' at the London Short Film Festival and 'Stoli Emerging Filmmaker Award' at the Babelgum Online Film Festival. His work has been described by the writer and broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor as 'witty and profound', while Sight & Sound contributor Brad Stevens has called his first feature, LIFE JUST IS, 'one of the most promising debuts in contemporary cinema'. The feature was released in the UK in December 2012, after being nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2012.

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Format: Paperback
Alex Barrett takes us through every single step of the production of his debut feature Life Just Is, from its very early inception right through to the final distribution. Any filmmaker currently contemplating their first feature would do well to read this. Alex starts as a film studies graduate with no connections to the industry and through his relentless determination gets his first film made exactly as he wants it with proper distribution.

All of his frustrations and set-backs as well as the successes are here in incredible detail. He's very honest and open about how he's feeling at every step of the process.

For me the book became more interesting once it got closer to the intricacies of the film getting closer to production - finding producers, a DOP, the cast, crew, money, locations, equipment, etc. There's a lot of very useful information to be found.

I would also recommend it for any recent graduates of film.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the most boring journals ever (self) published. 23 Jan. 2013
By Clinton D. Orman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was particularly interested to read this book, since the author graduated film school a year after I did and in 2012 finished a feature film which has played at prestigious festivals. He is ahead of me in the game-- how did he do it? I wanted to hear about his trials and tribulations, his struggles and his ultimate success. The blurb promises "honest, open and engrossing" journal entries that "slowly build into a coherent philosophy of film and of life." Wow! When I began reading however I found it almost comically mundane.
"This morning I had an urge to reorganize my DVD collection."
"Spent the morning dealing with more emails and setting up a meeting with another producer."
I couldn't believe anyone would publish this stuff. Wait a minute... it can't be... this guy has SELF-PUBLISHED HIS JOURNAL. ARGH! The photo of the author on the cover seemed to be smugly saying "yup. I self-published my journals. I did that."
Well I kept on reading. The guy has the right spirit, seems to take a rigorous approach, and hsa some compelling ideas going into the film. But the book lapses into the mundane details of making a film, without colorful description or insight. In this day and age everyone knows that a movie has stages of writing, pre-production, shooting, etc. It's not interesting to hear descriptions of collaboraters like: "he seems pretty good." Or day-to-day mood swings: "I feel frustrated today." And alas, it does not "slowly build" into anything. From the end section of the book:
"worked on the update for the postcard design. We're going to get some printed for Cannes."
As for a "philosophy ... of life"... perhaps I blinked but I did not notice one. What is this guy's life, anyway? He never mentions anything about his background, upbringing, or formative experiences. For the eight years covered in the journals he never mentions a need to make a living or work even part-time, nor any relationships, nor any trials and tribulations of any sort. As far as I can tell his non-filmmaking life consists of watching DVDs all day long. Wow, way to build character. He makes a very elliptical reference to "investors" for the movie but never goes into any detail. Doesn't he think aspiring filmmakers are curious about how someone gets over the funding hurdle? Apparently not. From these journals he doesn't seem to appreciate the role money plays in human endeavors on any level. The only conflict in this story comes from him whining that the process is taking so long. I guess on some level he thinks everyone lives like he does.
Well, I got my answer. How did he get his film made? By being privileged and not having to work, the same way countless other films get made. The book could have been a hell of a lot shorter.
Okay, that's not totally fair. I haven't seen this guy's movie and it might be good. And anyone who finishes a movie, under any circumstances, deserves an award. But the fact that he self-published these inane journals is not a good sign. If I was able to just play film director for eight years with no income, I would be embarrassed ... or at least I wouldn't publish a book about it. Not without some ironic consciousness, at least. Something to show that I wasn't.... clueless?
If you want to learn something about filmmaking, read "Moviemakers Master Class", "Rebel Without a Crew", "Directing Actors for Film and Television", "Story", or so many other books. Not this one.
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