The Six Day Horror Movie
A No-Nonsense Guide to No-Budget Filmmaking

Shock Cinema Issue 27 Horror Books & Movies

Fangoria February 2005


A review of
from Shock Cinema issue number 27

Aimed at aspiring DIY filmmakers, this knowledgeable 244-pagae softcover covers a crash course in al  the details they'd ever need to know, from basic such as budgeting and casting, through smaller 9but equally important) items like feeding your cast and crew.  So what makes DiPaolo such and expert in this area?  He has over 15 years of experience in the crazy world of underground filmmaking, and uses as a template his recent DV project, a zombie-rapist horror feature entitled DADDY, filmed is six days for a paltry $5,000 – which included paying the cast and crew!  He offers first-hand advice on how to maintain a smooth production, from potential problems that can suddenly ruin your shoot to strategies on getting your finished film seen, and although some of DiPaolo's topics can get pretty dry (i.e. budgeting insurance) they're also important issues.  There's even a section devoted to other self-made mavericks, ranging from Jean-Luc Godard to Ed Wood Jr.  Though not exactly casual reading, this is still an excellent guide that teaches new filmmakers to play to their own unique strengths and deal with their limitations.
Steven Puchalski

A review of
from Horror Books and Movies

 The author admits that a script is not that important to his filmmaking process, and scarcely mentions a script while breaking down the making of his feature film Daddy. Once you get past that, which I consider a stunning piece of bad advice, DiPaolo excels in outlining the practical, basic fundamentals of working with a crew, sticking to a schedule and budget, and getting a movie made no matter what the limitations. He doesn’t just offer theories, he actually gives a blow-by-blow account of his “six-day horror movie,” made on a budget of $5,000.

He reveals the breakdown of his budget, shooting schedule, how he made decisions on hiring cast and crew, how he secured locations, how he handled impromptu problems that are part and parcel to filmmaking, and how he edited the whole thing and made it available for sale. He tells you how to handle problem actors, feed the crew, arrange transportation, and round up equipment. He offers tips on shooting sex scenes, searching for distribution, and staying sane in the midst of chaos. This is guerilla movie-making at its finest, and I respect the guy.

DiPaolo does it while others just talk about it. He has directed and produced six other films, and has worked with police departments taping interviews of criminals. I’m even tempted to plunk down $20 to try the DVD. At any rate, I’m keeping the book handy in case I ever get sucked into the bottomless void of do-it-yourself movies. If I can round up five grand, that is.
Scott Nicholson

A review of
from the February 2005 issue of Fangoria

Not your typical how-to-book, seasoned low-budget writer/director Michael P. DiPaolo's The Six Day Horror Movie is rich with minute details of his daily production on Daddy,  a feature-length shot-on-video horror movie lensed in just under a week.  DiPaolo isn't interested in lecturing you on how to write a properly formatted screenplay or shoot a project in a paint-by-numbers fashion that must be unerringly followed.  But his own specific, carefully laid-out examples are leavened with discussions of the working styles of other "low-budget Saints" whose films he admires (including such luminaries as Edgar Ulmer, Roger Corman and John Cassavetes), and can be complimentarily combined and incorporated by a reader into their own methods or means.

DiPaolo isn't going to teach you all the basic film terms or how all the equipment works either.  Often, this knowledge is taken for granted and left unexplained in favor of concentrating more on the philosophical advantages that a small crew, borrowed equipment and the most valuable commodity of all-time- have to offer the guerilla film-maker.  These are things that no amount of money can improve upon if the talent and the desire are not already there, waiting for the opportunity to create.  Agree with him or not, he makes a cogent argument and backs up his claims with facts, including appendices with brief outline, budgeting and scheduling excerpts that are successful practical templates.
Scooter McRae

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