The Art of Lean Filmmaking
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The Art of Lean Filmmaking

An unconventional guide to creating independent feature films

About the Book

Lean Filmmaking is an explosion of creativity, turning conventional wisdom upside down to vigorously shake out obsolete ideas revered by the traditional film industry.

Writing a script. Pitching to investors. Surviving development hell. Before even picking up a camera. All while juggling a family, a social life and a day job. No wonder making an independent feature film feels out of reach.

Lean Filmmaking is different.

It celebrates experimentation and inventiveness, while forging a sustainable artistic practice.

It saves time, energy and money (but it’s not just for low-budget or cheap ideas).

It takes advantage of surprising – often counterintuitive – strategies to dramatically improve the filmmaking process, including:

  • Collaborating in non-hierarchical, cross-functional squads
  • Working in ongoing iterative Make-Show-Adjust Cycles
  • Validating assumptions with early fan feedback

If you’re ready to transition from shorts, series or online videos to creating independent feature films, go from idea to launch with the five-step Lean Filmmaking method. Get started immediately with tested techniques that will empower you to take action, bust through stumbling blocks and ignite your creativity.

“Lean Filmmaking kickstarts an entire generation of new filmmaking voices, arming them with the tools and self-reliance to create original, important stories, then connecting them with the audience who especially craves them.” —Perri Cummings and Paul Anthony Nelson, producers Trench

“Lean Filmmaking revolutionizes how filmmakers work.” —Melanie Rowland, producer Time Apart

Cheeky provocateurs and creative agitators, siblings David Eddy and Kylie Eddy have combined their agile coaching expertise and filmmaking experience to re-imagine the development, production and distribution of independent films in an uncertain world.

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About the Authors

David Eddy
David Eddy

David Eddy is the Co-Founder of Lean Filmmaking, a new way to make films with creativity at its heart. He’s combined his agile coaching skills with his sister Kylie’s filmmaking expertise to re-imagine how films can be developed, produced, marketed and distributed. 

David has managed agile teams in web and software development, was an agile consultant for ThoughtWorks, a product owner at Bankwest and is the CTO of the startup Agworld. He’s also a proud dad to three boys and enthusiastic sci-fi fan. 

Kylie Eddy
Kylie Eddy

Kylie Eddy is the Co-Founder of Lean Filmmaking, a new way to make films with creativity at its heart. She’s combined her filmmaking skills with her brother David’s agile coaching expertise to re-imagine how films can be developed, produced, marketed and distributed.

Kylie wrote/directed/produced an independent feature film, was a marketer for Walt Disney Home Entertainment and general manager of Melbourne Queer Film Festival. She’s a self-proclaimed minimalist and YouTube junkie.   

Table of Contents

  •  
    • Introduction: A new way to make films with creativity at its heart
  • Part 1: Core Values
    • The Lean Filmmaking Philosophy
    • Collaboration is key
    • Fan focused first
    • Story before production values
    • Learn by doing
    • Make-Show-Adjust Cycles
    • Values can transform creativity
    • What you need to start (and it isn’t money)
  • Part 2: Step by Step Guide
    • The Lean Filmmaking Method
    • Step 1: Form Squad
    • Start with a squad, not a script
    • Recruit for skills, not roles
    • Choose the minimum viable squad (it’s smaller than you think)
    • Align squad goals
    • A squad needs transparency and moxie
    • You’re done with this step when…
    • Step 2: Discover Fans
    • Let’s talk about talking to fans
    • Start with a spark
    • Conduct research interviews
    • Draft a fan experience
    • Make tester videos
    • You’re done with this step when…
    • Step 3: Develop Drafts
    • Ceremonies empower the squad
    • Restructure work by overlapping activities
    • Delay decisions with just-in-time production
    • Construct the story scaffold
    • Run full-film draft Make-Show-Adjust Cycles
    • You’re done with this step when…
    • Step 4: Produce Polishes
    • Ask fans to pay for it
    • Scale the squad (but only if you really need to)
    • Prioritize with the Impact-vs-Difficulty Matrix
    • Run full-film polish Make-Show-Adjust Cycles
    • You’re done with this step when…
    • Step 5: Launch Film
    • Stop obsessing about film festivals
    • Demystify self-distribution
    • Run marketing and sales experiments
    • Release the film
    • It’s out, now what?
    • You’re really done when…
    • Conclusion
    • Glossary
    • About Lean Filmmaking
    • Acknowledgments

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