Opened my eyes to what it takes to make a great film.
I was glued to the content provided by Chris from the get go. It seemed to me to be an honest appraisal of his journey to making a great film. His delivery is full of energy and keeps you interested at all times. Although quite a lot of the information provided overlaps with his books, this did not surprise me at all. The concept and layout worked very well, particularly the sequence of delivery. Asking us not to view the completed film until we had gone through the creation process made it feel like we were part of that process. A small distraction throughout the process was the text from the slides appearing on his face. I found myself thinking that the same care and attention being spoken about had not been applied to the recording of the seminar. This is only a minor gripe. I was also a little confused by the verbal reviews of festivals given in the seminal and the contrast with the video blogs. particularly Oldenburg. The fee charged is a lot of money from the budget of an independent filmmaker like myself, but I feel it was worth every penny and would advise any filmmaker with some experience, that it is well worth while. Best of luck with your career Chris.
Kevin Glynn, Filmmaker, IRELAND
All you need to know about producing and promoting a short film.
Coming from someone with a relatively new passion for making films, this course was both informative and inspiring. It amazed me how simple it was to get going in an industry where perception is that only a chosen few are allowed to partake. While undertaking the course at my own leisure I have already written, produced and directed my first ‘serious’ short film and now, thanks to this seminar, I have the knowledge of what to do with it. Couldn’t recommend it highly enough, and am now inspired to at least ‘have a go’ at filmmaking. Thanks Chris and co.
Luke, Filmmaker from Australia
As a business professional without film or TV industry experience, I met Chris Jones a few years ago through my love of film, and recognised from the outset his extraordinary talent not just for film making, but for teaching the art of the craft. With rare time on my hands this week, I went through most of the online version of the Gone Fishing Master Class, and am blown away by his skill in running parallel learning resources alongside his daily work – particularly via online resources. The framework, the detail, the facilitation, the personalised approach…Chris has a talent for imparting knowledge and experience that – when combined with passion, preparation and action (my approach to life) – will provide valuable momentum behind any effort anyone makes in this line of work. With over 20 years in the corporate arena and having worked in 14 countries before the age of 40, my standards are high and my aspirations even higher. I plan on producing my first short film soon, and later a feature, and the first person who comes to mind to learn from, is this man. Well done, Chris, I look forward to seeing you soon again!
Linda, Sales Director, London
Better than any film school or University media course!
Absolutely brilliant, Chris gives you honest experience, including the mistakes he made and how those mistake were used to turn it into a positive action. This seminar really does cover Pre-Production past Post-Production and into Marketing & Distribution. We have learned a lot from this and most certainly will be adopting these methods in our production processes. Having bite size videos and the ability to watch later and refer back to it was a very practical way of learning, very well presented and contents with PDFs and sample clips really completed the learning experience.
Daren, DarenDino Productions, Independent Film Makers
I don’t think I’ve been through a film-making course before that has demonstrated this degree of honesty.
The wonderful thing about this masterclass is that you really feel, ‘I could do this too!’ There’s a massive dose of optimism and confidence running through it. That’s really significant in an industry where it’s all too easy to say, ‘Oh well, it was James Cameron or Peter Jackson’ – they can do anything.’ Chris is a guy just like you and me who dared to make the dream a reality. And that dream has good days and bad days – and that’s okay. You can get through it and make it happen. The Gone Fishing Seminar does so much more than give you the tools and share some great insights and tips, even though it does these in shed loads. Crucially, it will give you the belief that YOU can do it too. You can actually embark on the journey to make a great film. This masterclass has made me run out of excuses to make my film. I now have the tools and the tips, the do’s and the don’ts. But much more than that, it’s inspired me to actually go and do it. It’s given me something no other seminar course has – the real belief that I can make a world class film too. We’re shooting next month!
Mikhail, Filmmaker, Auckland
A bitter sweet recounting of a film makers journey that inspires and underscores how good contacts, an energetic team, and money helps create the necessary opportunities.
Even luck, and being in the right place at the right time and ultimately not being in the UK but in LA, pays an awful lot of dividends as well. I watched it on my computer and immediately abandoned the project I was working on thinking I have to be more ambitious and some how find a way of getting a bigger budget to ever compete and that boy, am I in the wrong country, Hong Kong, for that!
Lawrence Gray, film maker, Hong Kong.
Incredibly Informative and very inspirational.
I’ve read lots filmmaking books and online articles, but by far the “Gone Fishing Seminar” blows them away. The sheer amount of detailed filmmaking information was just so helpful to someone who doesn’t live in a big movie town, like L.A, or NYC. I’m still sorting out all the notes I busily wrote down, while watching the seminar videos. And Chris and his journey was so inspirational. I liked the fact that he shared with us his mistakes and what he learned from them, instead of sweeping them under the proverbial rug. While watching the videos, my brain finally delivered an Oscar worthy idea for a short film. With all the information from the seminar, I will start my journey and see where it leads me. It will be glorious.
Rob, Film Maker, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Insightful, at times emotional, motivating and inspirational. It was also warming to see a brother filmmaker going through the same fear, doubt, struggle.
Information that is invaluable. Even to a seasoned short filmmaker. I know what you’re are thinking, you look at the pricetag, you think no way am I paying money for this, who is this guy anyway? But he has done exactly the thing that you are all trying to achieve with short filmmaking, and the guide is a complete logging of his journey, from concept to reality to festivals and career planning. This should be the 2nd year introduction to every film school in the world. But hey, if your not willing to believe a normal guy, then your missing out and will probably fall by the wayside in this ever competitive flooded filmmaking nightmare of Gen Y baby boomer supported creatives, with big dreams and no help in achieving them. You forge your own luck, you forge your own life.
Scotty, Filmmaker, Sydney Australia
It truly covers it all from A to Z on making the short film.
No matter how much you know coming in to it, this seminar will either add knowledge or put things together in a way that inspires you to give it a shot too. I know I’m more fired up about some projects I had put on the back burner.
Bob, Writer, California
As a writer I found it terrifyingly informative. Or should I say reassuringly educational.
I’ve Just finished the online Gone Fishing workshop. Film is collaborative and as a writer to be given access to so many professionals without having to leave the comfort of my laptop was a privledge. I didn’t go to film school but I almost feel I have. As a non technical person I found the technical info accessible (unusual for me) And can I be the millionth person to say I found the film stunning. Many thanks
Cherry, Screen writer
Informative and engaging and extremely good value for price.
Would definitely recomend because it offers a frank, down-to-earth discussion of filmmaking in the current age.
Edward Spek, Director, Spain
I just finished the ‘Gone Fishing’ seminar. What a day! But man, was it worth it!
The whole experience was superb. I have followed hundreds of other courses and tutorials, but this was the first time I really felt like being on top of the whole process. I’m not going to write a whole story here because if you want to, you can read enough on this page! And I am sure that amount of reviews is telling the value of Chris’ workshop. But why is everyone here so excited about it? They all have at least one thing in common. Everyone here has a great passion of making films. That doesn’t mean everyone here is a director, no way. There’s so much involved in making films, everything is important. The chain of people who are making films is as strong as the weakest link. So, you got on this page with a reason, and although I don’t know what reason, I think that reason will be enough to go on a journey that will blow you away with knowledge, passion and creativity! Whatever you are, a costume designer, writer, editor, color grading, producer or a director. If you’re passionate about making films, and you want to know HOW you can translate that idea to the BIG screen, I only can say this workshop is one of the best ways you’ll learn it! A big thanks to the makers of it! And especially Chris, for being such a great passionate person!
Martijn Kersten – Film maker Follow Martin on Twitter
In the ever-expanding literature on film-making, where duplicate information is fast beginning to outweigh original sentiment, this inspirational seminar genuinely achieves that rarest of qualities – true uniqueness.
No other resource more comprehensively and engagingly tackles the film production process from script to screen and beyond – simultaneously the antidote to, and finest example of, the director’s commentary. Sitting through the Gone Fishing seminar is the closest you will come to making a world-class film without getting off your arse and actually doing it (which, incidentally, is exactly what you will be inspired to go and do).
Jon Plant – Filmmaker
Better than film school.
This seminar should be shown to all film students around the world, right now. Before they waste their time and money trying to find success with movies that aren’t so great yet – time they could and should spend becoming better storytellers. And before anyone wastes the potential of a great movie they have done by not knowing how to squeeze everything out of it. In fact the seminar should be shown to any aspiring directors/producers and to anyone still considering film school – two days with a passionate filmmaker like Chris was worth more than all my lectures in the past three years on a film course combined. He speaks from his heart, and we better listen. The price made me doubt as I’ve never bought an online course of any kind before: but the videos, experiences and knowledge shared on the blog were quite enough to convince this would be worth it.
Organizing a seminar like this into shorter video clips is genious: together with attachments, power points, interviews, links to external websites and video diaries – so much more involving than say just a book. Most importantly it feels genuine as Chris speaks from his heart, and that draws you into the experience. Best parts were definitely the career plan and festivals/PR, but in general I have the feeling my filmmaking will take a serious step forward with the next project in terms of truly aiming as high as possible all the way through the process – unless I feel I just need more practice and will save the precious resources for later, another important lesson learned here. The workshop would have saved me from a lot of trouble and wasted resources had I seen it earlier: it also clarified a lot of insecurities I’ve had about my filmmaking career, and it will definitely help me invest time/money in the right projects in the future. I believe others would share this learning experience.
Jesse, student & filmmaker
Essential for anyone looking to take the next step.
I am a professional director. I fund my life through the production of commercials and corporate videos. But of course the goal is to step up and start to take everything I am learning and apply it to that story that I’m dying to tell. This seminar has been a fantastic way to see what my strengths are as a filmmaker and what I should do next in order to reach my goals. It’s an exciting feeling. For me, the risk in signing up was that it was just another online course, but I chose to buy it because of the endorsements. The Festival related information was essential. I feel many people in the industry know how to make a great film. We know the rules, how to direct etc. It’s promotion that we fall down. Chris broke it all down. I loved it. The workshop presents the chaos of film making in a strange moment of clarity. It makes those of us who have the skills feel. Yeah. I could do that. Now I feel like I know how.
Oliver, Commercial Director, Melbourne Australia.
A hundred times better value than anything I’ve seen on offer.
An extremely detailed hands on workshop at every stage of production. I am still learning and going back to the workshop as a reference tool for my current project. In addition to the excellent and extremely detailed advice given from all Chris’s professional collaborators, Chris gives an inspired lesson in raising money and marketing your film which is often neglected and is probably the most important final hurdle. Chris also takes you on a personal journey of his filmmaking making you realize all the effort is worthwhile when touching festival audiences across the globe.
Alain Kramer FILMMAKER
Chris Jones is a master of taking you on life changing journey. Why go to film school its all here?
As I teach film and video to students as well as run a short film group I was interested in what else I could learn (having bought the GFHB) and to my surprise there’s plenty more, much much more. The finishing and pr / festival and exhibition is the most interesting to me. For any film maker, money is always the obstacle, but after a while I took the plunge and its worth every penny, as your not just buying a course, your buying the inner workings of a successful short film formula. For me, the PDF handouts and resources attached, were an excellent way to make sure the learning experience was not a passive one.
Richard, Film Maker / Lecturer
Empowering and Inspirational.
Fabulous value-for-money. I really like being able to jump around and revisit sections plus all the bonus videos. Chris Jones is a true human dynamo of passion for his art and empowerment of the next generation of film-makers. I urge you to sign up to this seminar today and let him infect you with his enthusiasm. You’ll instantly see why “Gone Fishing” is such a masterful piece of work and why Chris is everybody’s favourite person in the business.
Brian, Film Maker, London
Superb! The real deal! You can’t help but feel inspired after watching this!
I was Initially wary of purchasing any online course but after watching your blogs I realized this was completely genuine. I thought that the video instruction /interviews were much easier to understand than purely reading books. I particularly liked the workshop sections with the film Editor .
Jase Aspiring Filmmaker, Notts
Extremely helpful – in terms of approach, technique and inspiration.
I have been making films for 6 years now, and after taking Chris’ online seminar I was kicking myself as the things I learned while taking it would have been an immense help in how I approached my previous films, in terms of writing, directing, editing and putting it into festivals. I have no doubt that my career would have been further on than it is now. Quite a bold statement to make I know, but the reason I feel comfortable saying this is because of the shift in mindset that the seminar offered me – in particular the career planning section – as it gives you stone cold perspective on where you are with your career and how to advance it. I can no longer kid myself as to what my next steps are and where I am in my career, and what a relief that is. I feel like my work and career have now come into sharp focus. I recommend this for novices and experienced hands alike – even if you have had some success in festivals around the UK and the world before this (like myself), there is something in this seminar for you.
Amir, Filmmaker, Nottingham
Chris Jones, the deliverer of the art of simple story filming.
I took Chris’s online course and have noted that he can talk about film making in a simple language. Everything about what he says can be understood and provides good impetus for anyone who wants to make a no or low budget film of top quality. I see and hear his lectures repeatedly as I have two stories which I would like to film. I bought Chri’s signed book titled ‘The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blueprint’ sometime ago. I have made notes from the book to guide me on how to look for important points in a dynamic short story. I have not finished reading the massive manual yet! I am editing my first ever written novel story and I find very little time to do anything else. Except, read Chri’s blog almost every day!
Raman, Writer and film maker, Slough, Berks
No good at writing reviews, but I’d certainly say it has given me a kick to get my own project off the ground. Useful, excellent and motivating. Other superlatives too!
Baz, poor-quality filmmaker, Manchester
De-mystifying completely inspiring.
Chris’ Masterclass is an amazing step-by-step through and around the many experiences and pitfalls that short film making throws up. The breath of fresh air and a shot in the arm.
Marc, Film Maker, London
Truly Exceptional… Don’t Skip This!!!
This master class opens up so many options for you to go ahead of the obstructions and making your dream come true. The approach and material is excellent. Most feature films have their making which kinda motivates the viewers but this was truly exceptional, From pre-production to post and then festivals and marketing and so much in detail. No film school gives that much information about grading, music, 35 mm, costume design, press pack….THE SECOND UNIT for a short film was unexpected…WOW… I am short of words. Chris you really fired me up. YOU SIMPLY ROCK!!!!! Thank you soooo much for making this…
Valuable insights shared and an excellent look at the entire short film-making process!
Chris is a fantastic and honest motivational speaker and delivers some really solid content around the entire short film process, especially in areas that are traditionally skipped over by others such as the marketing and distribution side. Well worth taking the masterclass both to rekindle the film-making flame and to focus on being as successful as possible with your film.
James, Director, Melbourne
Chalk full of real experience.
Better than reading all the filmmaking books out there.
Budding Film Director
Inspiring, informative creative journey into what really counts in the industry to get noticed and with a realistic career game plan.
There are many seminars and workshops of this sort that charge an arm and a leg and which you could possibly all get from books on the same subject. This was my thought before deciding to take this online seminar. But having taken the plunge I have to say this one really delivers. Going through the whole process from script to final delivery to festivals and sales does bring home how much more there is still to do on your next project, but also inspiring you to think that it is all achievable if you put your mind to it and learn from the very useful industry tips in this seminar. The fact that you can go back to it again anytime as a reference is great value also. Chris is very generous with sharing his experience and knowledge. This is a must see for all aspiring filmmakers at any level.
Truly Inspiring and daunting at the same time – of what I’ve got to come on my own project.
Chris Jones, in his Gone Fishing Seminar, provides a thorough, first hand, real world journey through the film making process and subsequent festival experience. Coming from an acting background and about to embark on my first project as a filmmaker, the seminar feels like an invaluable and very timely crash course at film school. The high standards Chris set himself give us all something to aspire to. I can highly recommend the seminar to anyone wanting to start or progress their filmmaking careers.
Roger Evans, Actor & Film Maker, London
Informative, engaging, and good value for money.
A great set of seminar’s that take you through the process of who to make a film, the problems, the highs, outlines by an engaging lecturer and various interviews with various crew members throughout. The fact that you can retake the seminars in your own time is a massive benfit, to clarify points made. Fantastic.
Paul, Film Maker, Cornwall
I was quite literally stunned by not just the amount of information in the seminar but by the outstanding quality. As a British student coming to an end of 3 years at UCLA film school in Los Angeles I can hand on my heart say that some of the information in this seminar was more worth while than graduate degree classes at one of the worlds top film education programs. Plenty of workshops take you through the instructional steps of how to make a film, but Chris’ seminar takes you on a journey of how to actually get the film made to the highest possible standard and he does it with ease, clarity and sprinkles amusing anecdotes along the way.
Right at the beginning I was particularly impressed by Chris’ career plan stages. This made so much sense, it was like a light bulb just flickered on. That along with the marketing and exploitation section of the course I regularly re-watched to squeeze out more information and let the advice sink in. I greatly appreciate the option to view the seminar videos as often as I like, you definitely get 100% more than what you pay for.
Chris is an inspiring character and lays things out in ways that are tangible and attainable. Before the seminar as a student filmmaker when in pre-production on a film I would take the deals available to me, only dreaming of having that star actor or experienced DP. Now, I will certainly be as Chris puts it ‘Politely demanding’ and start asking for things at the top. I now know the importance of building a product that people can see well in advance of the shoot. Having the ability/confidence to go out there and get people talking about your project is of such enormous value, I can’t believe I haven’t been done it before!
For the proficient filmmakers/ students who are sceptical about paying for an online course, this is worth every penny. Yes there will be elements that you know about but I guarantee there are many more little gems that you will be glad you signed up for. Especially the marketing/PR/Festival segments. The myths around these departments and events are straightened out and I personally have re-thought my film festival and promotional materials strategy since taking the course. So thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge. You could have kept this information to yourself but I thank you greatly for speaking so openly.
Hazel, Film Maker, Hollywood
Astonishingly honest and generous.
A world-class movie… deserves a world-class masterclass.. AND THIS IS IT!
Everything is looking really great so far!
The seminar/ master class is so big that weeks in I’m only part way through it. Every element so far is absolutely top notch and makes me go away to think about what I’ve just seen and heard. I’ve got pages of bullet point notes. Thanks Chris.
Mike, Filmmaker, Reading
Reassuring and insightful a must for all filmmakers!
I have read many books on this subject, some good and some bad. This seminar stands out from them all because it’s video. You can engage more with the subject and the filmmakers, plus you have the best seat in the house! Each stage is full of insights that only experience can teach you. It also brings reassurance that things don’t always work first time and the importance of showing your work to others. Each stage you will feel yourself becoming a better filmmaker and when you reach the end, you’ll be way ahead of the pack. Watch it!
John, Filmmaker, Suffolk
A real eye opener, I can’t tell you how many light bulb moments I had watching Chris’s seminars. The career plan laid out by Chris is genius. No more mental barriers of figuring out what to do next – instead a clear, concise plan with every step serving a purpose. This course will pay itself many times over in terms of what I’ve learnt from it.
Film course as emotional journey.
As anyone who has read any of the Guerilla books would expect this course is filled with useful information. However, the thing that really impressed me was the structure of the presentation. The making of Gone Fishing film is a good story well told. As many great stories do it left me wanting to relive the experience for myself. It’s one thing to read all the info in a book but to watch events play out in the video diaries of the festival circuit made everything feel so attainable and real.
Paul Llewellyn, Film maker, Bristol
Chris is the guy who puts his hard hat on, takes a giant boring machine and drills his way through a mountain. He lights the tunnel, lays a road and guides everyone through it.
If that isn’t enough, he tells you how to make your own tunnel so you can get from A to B without all the costly mistakes he’s made. And that’s what this film course is all about. Chris has blazed the trail and made all the mistakes so that we don’t make them. If we’re smart, we’ll unlearn what we thought we knew and relearn it based on what Chris has experienced. At the very minimum, you’ll make a much, much better film. I thought the first section of the course was great but the second section, on marketing and festivals, was an absolute eye opener. And there was I thinking I actually knew something about this side of filmmaking!
Mohammed, Film Maker, Ely
A Filmmaker’s dream toolkit of ideas, info and a roadmap for success!
A Filmmaker’s dream toolkit of ideas, info and a roadmap for success. Bang up to date and continuously changing with new insights and info. Well done Chris and colleagues.
Damien Donnelly, Producer, Ireland
Fantastic. entertaining and incredibly informative.
I must have read a dozen books on the subject of filmmaking. But nothing has come close to the sense of “just get out there and do it” that this seminar has given me. Chris and co have created something truly original and incredible value for money with this course. I just couldn’t recommend it enough.
Dean Lines, Film Maker, Manchester
Practical, honest and abundantly useful.
Gives you the necessary inspiration (read: kick up the ass) you need.
Fantastic, inspiring, and made by someone who DID IT, not just someone who talks a lot about it.
Stunning. Just stunning. Chris’s “Gone Fishing” seminar is one of the most inspirational, practical, expert pieces of media on filmmaking I’ve ever experienced. I’d have paid for the first two minutes alone. I’m always dubious about paying for teaching content on the Web, given that it’s self-published. But I’d read the Guerilla Filmmaker series, and frankly I really wanted to learn more about Gone Fishing. So I ponied up the £70, and sat down. I warn you now – this isn’t going to sound very balanced. I’m HUGELY impressed with the Gone Fishing seminar. It’s up there with “Story” in the list of most helpful filmmaking resources ever, as far as I’m concerned.
First thing – there’s a HELL of a lot of content here. Chris says that you should try to watch all the seminar in one day – I’m not sure I could have done that unless I’d sat down at 9am and not moved for 18 hours. For me, it occupied two full-time days and one half-day, making it quite astonishingly good value for money. From minute 1, it’s obvious this won’t be an airy bunch of anecdotes and approximate theory. The seminar rattles through important points quickly but intelligibly – I ended up with a page of notes from the first hour of video. The seminar’s definitely aimed at the semi-experienced to experienced filmmaker – people who have made a few films and are looking to take their career to the next stage, whatever that might be. Chris frankly discusses a filmmaker’s career and the stages that we pass through in a way I’ve never seen before – it made me look at my filmmaking career in a new light, when we so rarely think beyond “the next film will be a hit”. Given that most filmmaking teachers, even the good ones, don’t discuss career beyond “write a great script and you’ll be invited to Hollywood”, the seminar is worth buying for that alone.
The discussion of casting and how Gone Fishing was funded and staffed was fascinating – I’m definitely finding a casting agent for my next project! The interviews were candid and extremely honest – a massive rarity, and something that really made the seminar stand out. Chris and his crew are spectacularly willing to talk about their mistakes and their past failures, and of all the elements of the seminar, that might be the most helpful. Certainly, for me, having someone just acknowledge that his career hadn’t gone skyward immediately and analyse why was tremendously helpful both on a practical and emotional level. All of this is helped by watching the evolution of the Gone Fishing project – again, a very honest experience. When was the last time you saw a top filmmaker show off his first draft script with all the ropy bits still in? And it helped still more that from the first script read it was obvious that Gone Fishing was an incredibly strong project – watching and hearing about the pains that Chris and his crew went to to push the project to be as good as it could be was, again, really inspirational.
I’d have stopped at Draft 2, and watching what happened when Chris pushed beyond that was – well, suffice it to say, I’m pretty sure the next script I write will get polished until it screams for mercy! And then we’re on to the festivals section. Of all the sections, I might have found others more personally useful, but this one impressed me the most. I pride myself on being honest when I teach or write, and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been nearly as balls-out honest as Chris was here if I was making the same seminar. He’s got to have upset a few people! If you are or you know anyone who’s planning to do the festival circuit, DRAG them to watch this. Just incredible. Were there any downsides? Erm… A couple of the interviews, notably with Vernon Layton and Simon Cox, weren’t quite as helpful for me. That might be because I’m not a film person (I’m an animation producer by trade), but whilst entertaining, they felt content-lighter than the other material. And I think Chris might have repeated himself a little with some of his discussion of formats. Other than that? Nope, can’t find anything else I didn’t like. What I learned was fresh, compelling, and based in real experiences rather than theory, aimed at a serious filmmaker who knows what he or she wants. Overall? Goddamn. Stunning. Watch now.
Hugh Hancock, author and guerilla showrunner (and co-author of ‘Machinima For Dummies’)
Brilliant… Loved it….
I took notes, but by the time it was finished everything was answered. Your assessments of the festivals and competitions was Vulcan. Really you have worked so hard and been through many hoops (Pat on the back). You are a GREAT teacher. The final thoughts ending was spot on. TEN OUT OF TEN! Thank YOU.
Mark :), Film Maker
Excellent online course, Chris is very inspiring speaker and film maker.
I wondered about going on the course in London, but having access online is instant and it’s great that you can re-visit it when you want. I thought I would watch a few at a time but ended spending all day watching it! It was good to go through the life of the whole project and learned a lot of useful information, especially about film festivals.
Katherine, Film maker, Herts
AN EMPOWERING JOURNEY.
There’s a lot to take in on this two day adventure, I say adventure as it does really feel like you’ve been on the journey with Chris all along. I bought the acclaimed handbook in LA eight years ago, and have followed Chris’ exploits ever since. But what really struck me in the seminar was just how candid and natural he comes across to the audience. There’s a tendency in this country to sneer at sincerity, and we often wrongly find sentimentality over-calculated. But I defy anyone to find a more genuine and thought provoking speaker than Chris Jones on his journey of making Gone Fishing. Having completed a tier-two short and eager to make the all important calling card film, this was just the right level of inspiring backstory, and acute breakdown of critical information that I needed to get me sharpening my pencils and in front of the keyboard. Very sensibly this course doesn’t linger on tales of production woes but instead takes a step back and allows you to see the journey as a whole, step by step, from start to finish. And if you thought the finish line was the premiere, then you have an enlightening and forthcoming surprise in store… Hugely, hugely enjoyable. Thank you!
Adam, Editor/Director, London
Phase two Seminar completes the journey.
Outstanding and honest, above all honest. Chris goes into warp drive in Phase two and looks at the festivals and competitions with an eagle eyed approach that takes what I already know and defines and affirms what was already worrying me to such an extent it’s helped me have a clear overview. Chris ends with his hope that we might mention him in any Oscar acceptance speech. If I ever get this lucky, consider it done.
For Newcastle United, it’s “Howay the Lads”; for this one Newcastle film-maker, it’s “Howay Chris Jones”!
I was lucky enough to attend Chris’s “encore” performance of the first “Gone Fishing” seminar, not at BAFTA, but at the Film School College that’s attached to Ealing Film Studios, on their back-lot (notice how I’ve typed “encore”, instead of the more British word “repeat” ;), and despite the weather being absolutely depressing that day, and the train journey there and back from Newcastle, it was an outstanding, thought-provoking and well-produced masterclass (NOTE: apologies Chris if I was fidgeting whilst sat on the front row, while you were talking; you can actually see my ginger head popping up and down a few times).
When I heard he was giving a follow-up masterclass, this time on his experiences with film festivals, sales and distribution, and I couldn’t make it, I was disappointed to say the least. But, I was so glad when he announced that he had every intention to provide the “sequel” seminar to those who had already attended his first 2 production seminars on “GF”. And, after watching every single section and video, and as cheesy and cliched and predictable as this will read, I have never been more inspired to begin work on my own World Class 35mm Short Film, and take a shot at the Oscars myself. Granted, I am coming to the end of only my 1st Year at the fantastic Northern Film School in Leeds (but with only 1 year remaining on the course), but I graduate in the Summer of 2010, and hopefully, by then, I will have experienced the festival circuit myself with at least one five-minute very-low-budget comedy short, that I intend to direct and produce at the highest quality level of my abilities and capabilities, and afterwards, use both mine and Chris’s enormous, full-of-wisdom and intelligent experiences, and both learn and adapt to those, in the hope of making it as successful and as big as him, and opening as many promising opportunities to myself as he has for himself, with my own World Class short film/script. Back here, in Newcastle, the fans of our football team regard former manager Kevin Keegan as “The Messiah”. Well, I believe that everyone, who HASN’T been successful in the film industry yet and/or totally aspires to, should regard Chris as that Messiah. Take what he has learnt and what he has done, most of which, if not all, at his own very great and personal expense, and make a film that you like, not one that you are only making, just so you can win competitions and awards, because the bright-minded people of the industry and the world, will see right through you, and I also believe that, when you make a film that you like, and from that likeness comes your deepest and most heartfelt passion and love for that very film, just like what Chris has done and conveyed to numerous persons across the globe, the opportunities, the success, the fame, the fortune, and the respect, will come to you, and not the other way round. At least, that’s what I’m hoping happens to me some day.
Martin Grant, Northern Film School Student/Undergraduate, Newcastle
Fabulous update to the existing course, thanks so much!
UPDATE REVIEW – I’ve watched the updated sections now and I think it’s fabulous! Marketing, festivals and distribution is something so few filmmakers take the trouble to get to grips with and fully understand the benefits and pitfalls of and this is so clearly laid out here and easy to grasp. It will save filmmakers many headaches, I wish I’d had it before I ever entered a festival with my film! I already knew (from both theory and practice) a fair amount about short film marketing but there’s a lot of new information in there that I hadn’t considered and certainly didn’t know any of it the first time I marketed a film and had to learn the hard way, so I think a seminar like this is utterly invaluable.
I’d recommend it to anyone but especially to those filmmakers who have invested in making a quality short that they are aiming for the higher end festivals. At that stage people really don’t really want to be making mistakes that might cost them valuable opportunities or waste their precious time. Marketing a film is a bigger timesuck than anyone can possibly realise but when you have a promising future to be getting on with then being on the ball and making that time investment count is more important than ever.
Leilani Holmes, Film Maker, London
Insights, Strategies and just plain common sense filmmaking from the heart of a filmmaker who understands and is able to pull off an excellent film.
Chris Jones adheres to his mantra of ‘excellence’ in the undertaking of his film Gone Fishing and the Seminar Series. Moreover, he has actually made a film which is well… Excellent. I first viewed this film with my two sons, John 10 and Sam 7. Upon the first shot of the fish accompanied by a deep almost foreboding score my son John exclaimed, ‘This is like Jaws!’. Chris has referred to Gone Fishing as ‘Jaws for children’. We enjoyed the world that Gone Fishing propelled us into. We will eagerly wait for Chris’ next project! The Gone Fishing Seminar: I found this filmmaking ‘how to’ seminar refreshing for two reasons. 1. The presentation comes across as sincere and spontaneous! Not canned like most filmmaking seminar or courses tend to be. 2. The Case Study film is actually GOOD! This is rare. Most filmmaking training courses must site popular films. This Seminar uses the actual film that was nominated to be nominated for an Academy Award. Again this is also very refreshing. The Seminar is very valuable to anyone interested in becoming a filmmaker or venturing into any field of filmmaking. I am so grateful for this course if for no other reason than I can watch the case study film by the filmmaker and NOT have to say, “I can do better than that!” Excellent Film. Excellent Seminar.
Michael, Producer, Florida
Have just completed the online seminar on “Gone Fishing” – I found the overall package to be very engaging, practical, concise and highly informative. I would recommend it to anybody embarking on a short or feature project. Well done to everybody involved!
Damien Donnelly, Producer – Ireland
The Film making process hits you straight between the eyes in this master class on the art and the business of shooting a movie.
In film making, as in life, the most valuable resource one can hope for is honesty in others. What you get when you join with Chris on this wonderful on-line adventure is just that: honesty – by the bucket load! This approach epitomizes everything Living Spirit seems to stand for and it does them much credit to come to the market place with this fantastic product: An affordable, brilliantly conceived and innovative approach to learning about the film making process. Chris’ engaging and inclusive approach allows the participant straight in to the heart of the project, where the learning curve will be steepest, but also of the most value. His forthright approach will challenge you to re-think your strategy which, even if you may ultimately end up disagreeing with him, he has forced and invited you to consider every angle in the process of bringing your dream to the screen. This course is superbly thought out, the flow of information is perfect, and the depth of discussion truly fascinating. I urge anybody who is thinking of making their own film to seek this course out and feed on it’s bounty. Not only did I devour every second of this course but along with me, over the course of one Sunday, did my wife and my four children ages ranging from 8 – 17. We had wonderful discussions through lunch and dinner, before the delight of sitting through the finally finished movie. If I owned a tux, I really would have felt like wearing it. I am currently in pre-production for my first feature, and as it says on my web site – I have 135 days left to the first day of principal photography. A scary, and wonderful and hectic place to be – and it will only get better (and worse), how great then to have Chris along, in the form of this seminar, as a constant council to keep me straight and keep me being just as good as I can possibly be. Thank you Chris, and to all who participate in this seminar, it is a truly wonderful experience.
Joe Atkins 44: Living in the mountains of Southern France, about to embark, directing my first feature.
Absolutely fantastic, attention to detail is worthy of Gordon Ramsey himself (what higher praise is there)
The seminar was very detailed and informative. Very interesting the whole way through and above all else it was very inspirational. If you are a film maker I think this is an invaluable tool and for the price, simply amazing.
Michael, Actor/Film Maker, Canada
I loved the seminar and loved the experience! Essential viewing for EVERY filmmaker, no matter what sort of film you want to make or what level you (think) you are at.
This Seminar is essential viewing for everyone who either, is thinking about working in the film industry, is beginning their career, is at film school or has been creating films but not having the success they desire. I feel the seminar as a whole is catered more towards someone who wants to be a director, but as an aspiring producer, with experience in production design, I still felt I learned a lot and if your clever you can work out how to tailor the advice to your own stream. I loved the format of being able to watch the seminar online at my own pace, to fit in with my schedule and as tempting as it was to jump ahead I’m really glad I didn’t. It made me feel like I was part of making the film. The applet is really easy to use, and instructions are clear. It’s great that you can go back and watch over the videos more than once. you certainly pick up on new things each time you watch it! The whole seminar was incredibly inspiring. I attended the companion seminar to this (film festivals) and that one was great! Can’t wait to see that online. And hopefully I’m putting into practice what I learned from that seminar. Thanks Chris, hopefully one day we’ll be thanking you at the Oscars ceremony!
Kate: I think I’ve just gone into Stage 3 (but I could be wrong!), I’m a TV person who wants to be film. Check out my stage 3 short film I produced www.ronansescape.com
An in depth look at the inner workings of making a world class short film, essential to anyone looking to make acclaimed shorts.
The seminar is both inspirational and eye opening. It gives you the self belief that you could make a film and the mindset for actually making one, now not only do you feel you know how to make a quality film but have the knowledge needed to exploit it. A top notch claritive look at the film industry from someone who has seen it’s inner workings.
Ross, Film Student, London
Every bit of information was up to date, practical and realistic.
I loved the accurate way in which you analyze the industry. I bought one of your books years ago and I want to tell you that it gave me the final push I needed, the confidence boost to get out of the closet and accept that I want to make films for the rest of my life!!! I want you to succeed with Rocket Boy, first because you are a dreamer and a fighter and second because you are a hard working person and I admire that. Your work as a filmmaker is inspiring for a lot a people and the seminar was the best I have attended in a long time. So, thanks Chris.
Carlos Lagido, Film Maker, Spain
I really enjoyed the seminar. Not only was it informative, but you always manage to pitch the information at the right level: suitable for the newbies but also really relevent for people with experience.
I think the combination of your inspiring actions and positive attitude, combined with Gone Fishing as a specific case study, really helps to illustrate the practical alongside the theory.
I have to add a special mention for the blog. As fairly new freeelancer, I’ve found myself feeling a bit overawed by all the things I have yet to learn and knocking on doors can be exhausting (as we all know). However, reading your blog has been a powerful antidote to despair! It’s so necessary to have someone speaking positively and proving that it’s possible to get an excellent film made independently, get a buzz going and get it out there! So, good luck in LA, I’ve no doubt your brilliant energy will attract like minded people. There’s an Oscar out there with your name on it yet.
Romica Sharma, Film Maker, London
A MOUNTAIN OF KNOWLEDGE FROM A SHORT BUT PERFECTLY FORMED FILM.
My producer and I first saw gone fishing while at cannes 2008. I recognised chris’s name and was intrigued, slitghtly baffled and somewhat curious as to why he had returned to shorts after making full features. It took about 30 seconds to see why and forgive the pun…we were hooked. The sheer quality of the piece was a slap in the face wake up call. We had arrived at the festival with a short we were very proud of, and now sat opened mouthed staring at what a short could and should be. It wasn’t just the cinematic depth and richness of picture or the outrageously professional sound and music track, but the captivating sense of identification with the characters. The subject of death and loss is skillfully and respectfully carried within the narrative of an old fishing tale that beautifully piques with a surprise ending. A mini masterpiece. The course dissects GONE FISHING and bares every facet of what goes into the making of a movie at professional level albeit on a small scale. From concept to creation in the making of this remarkable piece of cinema. I trully believe that the course has forced me as a writer and director, to sit up and reassess what i am creating…and has made me REBOOT and start again. Thanks to CHRIS for enlightenment and allowing myself and my partners and many other new film makers the benefit of gleaned knowledge from his mistakes, discoveries and achievements…and hopefully he as held the door open for new film makers who have followed his progress in stepping into the light and showing what they have created… oh and the gauntlet has been thrown down after spoiling our cannes with you bloody great short film… 🙂 Standing back to get the whole picture in…
Richard, Writer/Director Filmmaker… London
Undoubtedly the most useful 7 hours I have ever spent learning about film making!
Chris Jones’ seminar is the perfect experience for anyone unable to afford to go to film school – and for those who have already been, this seminar reveals the realities of what can be achieved outside the safety of some educational institution. I spent more or less (usually more) seven hours a day at film school five days a week for two terms, yet your seminar was by far the best 7 hours I ever spent learning about filmmaking!! There is so much useful information in Chris’ presentation because he isn’t merely theorizing about the hypothetical, he is presenting the journey he undertook to get his film made to the highest possible standard! So, to anyone who wants to be a filmmaker: watch this seminar then read some David Mamet books then go out and shoot your movie!!
Chris, Aspiring Filmmaker, London
It was great to be able to experience it online from my own home and do it at my own pace.. it gave me a chance to think about and digest the information about one aspect of production before moving on to the next bit. Although there are more distractions at home compared to a live seminar, when you add up the benefits of not having to travel, being able to go over sections and take your own pace, pause while you write something down etc.. it’s all very good and I think aside from the potential networking (which may or may not be of use at any given seminar) I think I prefer online seminars to the real ones!
I’ve made and been involved in making films for the past three years and I’ve learned a lot of useful lessons along the way. This seminar has helped me realise the true creative process and steps in making a globally competitive short. None of it is difficult to grasp and all of it is achievable practical information that will enhance both the film and the filmmaking experience.
Leilani Holmes Actor | Filmmaker
The Gone Fishing online seminar is amazing journey into making a great film outside of the studio system for either a short or feature film.
Chris Jones shows us he is the Parkinson of independent film seminars with huge amounts of relevant information from script to screen and more. This online seminar is the third hinge on Chris’s door for the independent filmmaker. I took notes and notes on all aspects of the filmmaking process. Even thou I have been on Chris’s other courses at Ealing studios and read all of his books the seminar enlightened me further as I spent two full days watching it all online. Half way through the first day my network connection failed on my laptop and my internet shutdown for the day so found myself boxing up my 24” IMAC and heading down to a local internet café and watching the rest of the seminar there. I could not wait!
The online seminar is physically set up in a friendly ease of use platform. There are 13 sections each delving into their own unique departments that that all had a significant hand in the making of Gone Fishing. The seminar touches in on Career which is one of the reasons Chris began this journey and making of Gone Fishing. He tells of the 4 stages each of us has to take. The other sections cover the making of Gone Fishing from script, storyboards, casting, crew and mastering. There other sections I will let you discover on your own journey.
Each section also has bonus features that help magnify the points Chris and his short film Gone Fishing try to emphasize. Not only are the sections educational but they are set in the correct order. I found myself after the introduction wanting to rush out and begin filming, but the next section hauls you back in and sets you down so you can be educated in the correct ways in which to approach your very own projects and get the most out of it. Chris has a natural grace in his presentation skills and this is shown throughout the seminar as he guides us and interviews seasoned professionals from Vernon Layton his DP to Jean Claude Grader and much more from Midnight Transfer. These interviews are invaluable and give a real sense that Chris took a real swig of his own medicine and put together a crack outfit of above and below the line people to make “Gone fishing” and this seminar worth watching.
I could talk all day about this great addition to Chris’s volume of work and insight into the making of films, but as the seminar stresses it is a journey and one must take in order to really understand and learn the process. This seminar is a must for all film makers looking to either make their first film or their next.
Jason Clancy, Film Maker, Utah, USA
This is a great seminar that is packed with vital information that is delivered in a user friendly manor with passion and wisdom.
What is great about it, is how I now feel as though I can talk about Gone Fishing, and the lessons Chris learnt. Is takes the project away from the idea of “buying” an Associate Producer credit and firmly plants it into the realm of “come on this journey with us”.
Having said that I would recommend this Seminar to those who did not even know Chris was making a film and just want to gain insight in to how to make a very polished and professional short. I watched the introduction 3 times as it was so informative. And I know I will re-visit most of it again and again. (I will need to, as so much of it is passed where I am that it’s a little over my head, but as my career progresses more and more of this seminar will be relevant) I loved, LOVED, the career plan. (I am in stage 2) And it was great that Chris recognized the little films that you shoot on the cuff, for perhaps no one to see. It validated that as an experience and as a step on the path to being a filmmaker. I also agree that re-shooting a scene from a real film is a wonderful way to learn. I did it once for a summer school I taught, and saw its value first hand.
Its also been a confidence boost. I am about to embark on a little film myself and some criticism has been “why are you making this?, what will it do for you?, why bother?” And this seminar keeps reminding me that I am making it because I love film and I want to learn. This is not my stage 3 film, and that is okay. There is no pressure to win anything …or achieve anything. Just to make a film for the sake of making a film, with a reasonable degree of competence. People never question why someone goes camping, parachuting, race-car driving etc…. because they see the value of the experience. That applies to film too. (Especially the stage 1 and 2 films) It can also be the smallest throw away comment Chris makes that can have a big impact. For example, I have always avoided music/sfx libraries as I thought they were all bad, cheap elevator music collections. But the one he mentions is great. There is some great stuff on there AND, for my students it’s very very cheap indeed.
I think its even pretty cheap for a “real” production. There are some very valuable downloads of production paperwork and script drafts, even one of his own earlier short films, as well as bonus interviews with a variety of crew members. This again was eye opening as many short film makers aim to keep their crew small and may not use many of the crew members that Chris did. But after watching one particular interview a Casting Director is now far higher on my list of vital crew. For anyone living outside of London it can be difficult and expensive to get to the variety of Seminars and Courses that appear advertised in my Inbox on almost a daily basis. Being able to watch this online from the comfort of my flat was a great opportunity and another example of how Chris brings the filmmaking experience to you. Compared to the costs involved in many of the London based courses this is an absolute bargain and I am eagerly awaiting the next segment on Festivals and Promotion. Superb.
Darren Horne, Lecturer, Filmmaker & Cinema Manager, Cumbria
In film making, as in life, the most valuable resource one can hope for is honesty in others.
What you get when you join with Chris on this wonderful on-line adventure is just that: honesty – by the bucket load! This approach epitomizes everything Living Spirit seems to stand for and it does them much credit to come to the market place with this fantastic product: An affordable, brilliantly conceived and innovative approach to learning about the film making process.
Chris’ engaging and inclusive approach allows the participant straight in to the heart of the project, where the learning curve will be steepest, but also of the most value. His forthright approach will challenge you to re-think your strategy which, even if you may ultimately end up disagreeing with him, he has forced and invited you to consider every angle in the process of bringing your dream to the screen. This course is superbly thought out, the flow of information is perfect, and the depth of discussion truly fascinating. I urge anybody who is thinking of making their own film to seek this course out and feed on it’s bounty. Not only did I devour every second of this course but along with me, over the course of one Sunday, did my wife and my four children ages ranging from 8 – 17. We had wonderful discussions through lunch and dinner, before the delight of sitting through the finally finished movie. If I owned a tux, I really would have felt like wearing it.
I am currently in pre-production for my first feature, and as it says on my web site – I have 135 days left to the first day of principal photography. A scary, and wonderful and hectic place to be – and it will only get better (and worse), how great then to have Chris along, in the form of this seminar, as a constant council to keep me straight and keep me being just as good as I can possibly be. Thank you Chris, and to all who participate in this seminar, it is a truly wonderful experience.
Joe Atkins: film maker, UK, www.43pictures.com
This was awesome. Opening my eyes to the world of film making and new possibilities. Confirming in fact I was going in the right direction. I’d recommend everyone watch this course. Chris analyses his recent work “Gone Fishing” with open and frank discussion allowing his team to have their say.. As I watched I thought how I would have done this or done that.. In fact I made this whole film in my own mind because that’s what Chris did, empowered me by giving me the tools I needed to decide for myself.
Mark Morris, Filmmaker, Herts
The Seminar is one of the best information packages I’ve ever come across.
I’ve been to countless seminars, and the open and honest way Chris unflinchingly reveals the truth of the process is staggering. Everything is covered, there is nothing left to guesswork, it’s not theory, it’s completely practical and shows that film making is hard, but rewarding work. I can now apply what I’ve learned to my own projects, and I know that it will work. A true inspiration and best of all, motivator.
Simon Van Der Spoel, Pro Camera Op/Editor Australia
Top class advice from the very top level of film making!
I’ve learnt so much from this experience and will continue to reference the different sections when I tackle future film projects. Just watching each section really does inspire you to go out and just DO IT!!
Danny Lacey, Film Maker, Leeds