Diane Bell’s feature debut Obselidia won two awards at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, and those accolades are made more impressive when one learns of the unconventional road she took to get the film made.

In Shoot From the Heart, Bell presents that road as a viable path for aspiring moviemakers to get their features made.

Divided into 16 chapters, from developing a script to executing a distribution plan, Shoot From the Heart is an answer to an obstacle a freshman moviemaker will face. If you have a solid script, but can’t quite bring it to life, Bell encourages you to set a start date and rolling deadlines, designed to keep you from finding reasons to not make the film. If you have zero knowledge on how to get money for production, Bell encourages you to start with a concept trailer, which will woo financiers by giving them
a taste of your film’s tone and aesthetic qualities, while also solidifying you and your crew’s legitimacy.

The Takeaway

Bell’s bullet-pointed summaries at the end of each chapter make Shoot From the Heart easy to reference when you’ve hit a wall during production. But it’s the final bullet point that makes this more than a how-to book: Bell reminds readers to be grateful for the journey they’re on, and to celebrate what they’ve accomplished in their process thus far.

Use this book as a checklist, but during those inevitable low points, allow yourself to feel its pat on the shoulder that says, “We’ve gotten this far. Keep your eyes on the prize.” MM

Shoot from the Heart: Successful Filmmaking from a Sundance Rebel was released by Michael Wiese Productions on October 1, 2018. This article appears in MovieMaker’s Winter 2019 issue.