The Washington Times - July 11, 2009, 06:35PM

The Reel Truth by Reed Martin

Think getting an independent film greenlit - and shot - and distributed - sounds hard? Just leaf through the pages of Reed Martin’s new book, “The Reel Truth,” and you’ll see it’s a minor miracle every time an art-house picture hits the big screen.


Martin, a freelance film reporter and movie marketing professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, delivers the ultimate warning for everyone who ever dreamed of a life in cinema.

The just released book, subtitled, “Everything You Didn’t Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film,” gives wannabe filmmakers and movie fans alike a fascinating peek into the indie film world.

And it isn’t pretty.

From squashed dreams to movie productions stopped cold when funding dries up, the book details just how many challenges directors must overcome before seeing their vision on screen. Shady producers. Legal loopholes. Three-picture deals which become nightmares.

More importantly, Martin offers practical lessons for those just dedicated enough to want to make a film despite all of the above.

The author interviews some of the brightest minds in independent cinema, including Danny Boyle (”Slumdog Millionaire”) and Christopher Nolan (”Memento”), for riveting first-person accounts of those who bucked the enormous odds.

They share their own success stories as well as the moments when their careers could have ended right then and there if they opted to give up.martin-reed Some of the book’s inconvenient truths will shock fledgling filmmakers.

Tomorrow’s Coppolas and Scorseses have a better chance getting into Harvard than making it into the Sundance Film Festival (the latter has a 3.3 percent acceptance rate while the former’s acceptance rate comes in at 7.1 percent) The books’ accessible tone won’t make it a must read for everyone.

“Truth” is for aspiring filmmakers and movie fanatics primarily. Some of the chapters can get dense, like the section dealing with the minute legal complications a film shoot demands.

But Martin’s interviews offer a crucial look into the indie film process and, more importantly, an appreciation for those who sacrifice so much for the act of making a movie.