Write your own damn review!
Make Your Own Damn Movie is:
a) a new five-disc box set from
b) based on the book (of the same name) by Troma president Lloyd
Kaufman, educating first-time and would-be filmmakers how to make independent
films on the cheap and easy.
c) an exhaustive collection of
behind-the-scenes footage, making-of documentaries, how-to segments, and
interviews with filmmakers.
d) incredibly educational, consistently
insightful, and always funny.
e) all of the above.
Disc One of Make Your Own Damn Movie! contains:
introduction by Troma head-honcho Lloyd Kaufman.
b) short featurettes
(ranging from two to ten minutes) on casting, raising money, and props.
behind-the-scenes footage of a French horror/western, demonstrating how shooting
a trailer for your film (before even shooting the film) can help you find
d) interviews with James Gunn (writer of Dawn of the Dead
(2004) and the upcoming Slither) and
Larry Cohen (Phone Booth and Cellular) about the process of
e) interviews with filmmakers John Avildsen (Rocky), John Badham (Saturday Night Fever), and Herschell Gordon
Lewis (Blood Feast) in which they
discuss directing their own damn movies.
f) a two-part featurette on
directing music videos.
g) a five-part featurette on creating special
effects the Troma way—including head crushes, arm rips, and a new recipe
for fake blood.
h) all of the above.
Disc Two of Make Your Own Damn Movie! contains:
full-length feature film The Battle of Love's Return, Lloyd Kaufman's
b) a feature length commentary for The Battle of Love's
Return, in which Lloyd Kaufman cannily points out the movies foibles and
shortcomings—the mistakes of a first-time director.
behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the too-personal independent movie
The Tunnel, starring Mark Borchardt (the Ed Wood of Milwaukee, who made
his own damn movie in Chris Smith's wonderful American Movie).
d) a profile of
writer/director Chris Watson, who continues to make and distribute his own damn
movies for little to no money- including Zombiegeddon, the film profiled here.
e) a featurette on how to make cheap movies on 35mm (real film as opposed
to video), with Barak Epstein's Prison A-Go-Go as an example.
interview with Jenna Fischer (star of the American version of The Office
and wife of Troma veteran James Gunn) about the making of her first film, Lollilove.
g) the cautionary tale of
Meat for Satan's Icebox, an independent film plagued by problems,
mistakes, and incompetence.
h) interviews with directors Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator) and the Spierig Brothers
(the Australian duo behind last year's zombie/alien mash up, Undead) about the business of independent
i) a brief featurette on recording sound.
j) all of the
Disc Three of Make Your Own Damn Movie! contains:
full-length documentary Apocalypse Soon, which chronicles the making of
Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger Part IV (and was originally found on the
second disc of that movie's release).
b) a collection of pre-production
featurettes for Citizen Toxie.
c) a collection of post-production
featurettes for Citizen Toxie.
d) outtakes from the Apocalypse
e) all of the above.
Disc Four of the Make Your Own Damn Movie! contains:
full-length documentary Farts of Darkness, which chronicles the making of
Terror Firmer (and was originally found
on the second disc of that movie's release).
b) behind-the-scenes footage
of reshoots for Troma's Tales from the
Crapper, a problem-plagued production and example of the kinds of issues
even an "established" independent filmmaker like Lloyd Kaufman can
c) a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of Harry Knuckles
and the Pearl Necklace, an independent film shot on the long-outdated Bolex
d) a visit to Germany for the making of the independent horror
film Lord of the Undead.
e) interviews with 98-year old filmmaker
Vincent Sherman (The Naked Earth) and Trey Parker and Matt Stone
(creators of South Park and the duo responsible for Team America: World Police).
f) all of
Disc Five of the Make Your Own Damn Movie! contains:
full-length documentary All the Love You Cannes!, chronicling Troma's
visit to the famous film festival in France (and previously available as a
b) a short featurette on the post-production for Harry
Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace.
c) a re-visit to Barak Epstein and
his Prison A-Go-Go, which runs into trouble when SAG gets involved in the
d) footage of Lloyd Kaufman's attending (and subsequent ditching)
of the South by Southwest film festival.
e) a featurette on making your
own damn movie theater, which features a short how-to on running a truly
independent cinema in the age of the megaplex.
f) a featurette on making
your own damn video store, which features a short how-to on running a truly
independent video store in the age of the Blockbuster monopoly.
interviews with Bill Lustig (Maniac
Cop) and George Romero (Dawn of
the Dead) about working in the film business.
i) interviews with Adam
Rifkin (The Chase) and Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel) about the challenges
faced by first time directors and working with unions.
j) interviews with
Stan "The Man" Lee and Kevin Eastman (co-creator of the Teenage Mutant
Ninja Turtles) about making your own damn comic book.
k) all of the
Lloyd Kaufman is:
a) the president and co-founder of Troma, an
independent movie studio that specializes in horror movies containing copious
amounts of sex and gore.
b) the director of a number of Troma classics,
including the Toxic Avenger series, Troma's War, Tromeo and Juliet, and Terror
c) the author of two very funny, very insightful books about
the nature of independent filmmaking: Everything I Need to Know About
Filmmaking I Learned from The Toxic Avenger and Make Your Own Damn
Movie!, the latter of which provided the inspiration for this incredible DVD
d) an immature goofball who has an unhealthy preoccupation with
e) a mad genius.
g) all of the above.
What makes Make Your Own Damn Movie so good is:
a) the sheer
depth and breadth of the material covered over these five discs.
many voices and points of view Kaufman includes, from established directors
(George Romero, Trey Parker) who insist on testing the limits of the studio
system, to new directors with fresh tales from the trenches (Eli Roth ranting
about how unions shook his production down during the shoot for Cabin
Fever), to brand new and unknown directors making movies in their own
c) that Kaufman doesn't shy away from a number of the negative
aspects of making low-budget indie movies, as he understands that learning from
the mistakes of others sometime makes for the best lesson.
d) its ability
to capture the madness involved in making Troma movies, which are only slightly
less anarchic than their productions.
e) that it comes with its own
f) all of the above.
The downside to the Make Your Own Damn Movie! box is:
near-total lack of organization, making the "lessons" less cohesive
than they may have otherwise been and making the set occasionally hard to
b) that some of the lessons (like the one where Lloyd Kaufman
teaches how to record sound for a film by suggesting you point the mic towards
the actor and try not to have too much background noise) are fairly obvious and
c) that the hand-held, video-camera filmmaking approach to some of
the featurettes feels a bit like watching someone's home movies.
d) all of
Make Your Own Damn Movie! is presented:
a) in full frame format
only, from a number of different video sources that range in quality but are all
b) with a Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo audio track (in English
only), which—like the video—has been captured from a number of
different sources, including the on-board mic of a consumer video camera,
leading to a wide range of sound quality.
c) sans subtitles.
without any technical "extras," most likely because the pieces that
make up the feature itself all resemble extra features—in a sense, it's
all bonus content.
e) all of the above.
Independent filmmakers should:
a) be inspired by Lloyd Kaufman, a true
maverick and champion of the independent film scene who encourages personal
responsibility and creativity.
b) take note of a number of the lessons
given here, as many of them are quite valuable for first-time and independent
filmmakers who lack experience or the resources of a larger system.
pick up Troma's five-disc Make Your Own Damn Movie! box set pronto!
d) stop reading this review and make their own damn movies.
e) all of the
The Verdict for all of the above is "all of the above."