Production House Cinema : Starting and Running Your Own Cinematic Storytelling Business book cover
1st Edition

Production House Cinema
Starting and Running Your Own Cinematic Storytelling Business

ISBN 9780415816199
Published April 13, 2016 by Routledge
246 Pages 137 Color Illustrations

USD $48.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

In Production House Cinema: Starting and Running Your Own Cinematic Storytelling Business, renowned video storyteller Kurt Lancaster offers both students and professionals a practical guide to starting their own video production company and creating cinematic, client-based video content. Utilizing practical know-how along with in-depth analysis and interviews with successful independent production houses like Stillmotion and Zandrak, Lancaster follows the logistics and inspiration of creating production house cinema from the initial client pitch all the way through financing and distribution. The book includes:

  • An examination of the cinematic and narrative style and how to create it;
  • A discussion of the legal procedures and documents necessary for starting and operating a production house;
  • Advice on crafting a portfolio, reel, and website that both demonstrates your unique style and vision and attracts clients;
  • A guide to the financial business of running an independent production house, including invoicing, accounting, and taxes—and how much you should charge clients;
  • Tips for how to better communicate with clients, and how to develop and shape a client’s story;
  • A breakdown of how to select the right gear and equipment for a shoot, on budget;
  • Cinematic case studies that offer detailed coverage of several short films made for clients.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Patrick Moreau

Introduction: The Business of Cinematic Storytelling in a Video Production House


1. Telling versus Showing: The Tools of Cinema in Client-Based Storytelling

2. Creating a Vision: The Cinematic Style Video Production House

3. Making it Legal: Filing an LLC, Writing Contracts, Using Music, and Getting Insurance

4. Building Presence: The Portfolio Reel and Website that Reflects Your Style and Vision


5. Making Money: The Cost of Doing Business, Generating Income Streams, Setting Up Invoices, and Planning Your Taxes

6. Developing a Client’s Story: Making a Connection, Finding the Story, and Writing a Pitch, Proposal, and Budget

7. Cinematic Gear: What You Need and What it Does


8. A Book Promotion Case Study: From Key Words to Storyboards in Stillmotion’s My Utopia

9. An App Promotion Case Study: Directing with Spontaneity in Zandrak’s Moodsnap

10. Side Projects: Finance and Distribute Your Passion Films

Appendix: Sample Contract and Forms

View More



Kurt Lancaster teaches digital filmmaking at Northern Arizona University. His students have created their own video production houses, worked as producers and cinematographers, as well as earning national and regional award winning films and promotional videos. Kurt is also the author of DSLR Cinema, Cinema Raw, and Video Journalism for the Web. His client list includes the Timpanogos Caves National Monument for the National Park Service; the American Community School in Amman, Jordan; Ha:san Preparatory and Leadership School in Tucson, Arizona for the National Institute of Health; the Pedras Mesa Demonstration Ranch in Arizona; Altez Ecofarm at Hasta Gard in Stockholm, Sweden; the Law of the Desert Born graphic novel promo for Louis L’Amour Enterprises, Inc; and the Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals at Northern Arizona University, among others. He earned his PhD from NYU.


"Kurt Lancaster has done it again. He has identified a developing trend in the rapidly changing video landscape, talked to the right people, and asked all of the right questions. This book is a must read for any video student or professional considering starting their own production studio." —Wes Pope, co-director of the Multimedia Journalism master's program at the University of Oregon

"Production House Cinema combines wonderfully detailed advice about the pragmatics of launching a professional filmmaking studio with insights into the aesthetic and formal approaches vital to strong cinematic storytelling. Building on his excellent body of work as an author and professional producer, Kurt Lancaster offers comprehensive and clear "how-to" guides that every filmmaker -- from the beginner to the veteran – will find useful. I plan to assign this book to my production students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and to add it to my own collection of essential reading." —Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, Producer/Director, Specific Pictures, Assistant Professor of Social Documentation/Film and Digital Media at University of California, Santa Cruz

"In his book Production House Cinema, Kurt Lancaster has created THE complete one-stop shop for building your own production company—top to bottom. His extensive experience as a filmmaker combined with an acute business sense infuse this book with advice and recommendations both practical and creative. If you want to have your own storytelling business, purchasing this book is your first, most important investment." —William McDonald, Professor & Chair, Department of Film, Television and Digital Media, UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television