Black Friday always makes me think about black production t-shirts (which I love!), and new filmmakers need all kinds of stuff to make their movies, especially teens without paying jobs. So, in the spirit of empowering black-clad filmmakers to experiment with and make better movies, here’s a gift idea list for the new filmmakers around you in time for Black Friday:

1. WRITE! SHOOT! EDIT! BOOK (approx $20 – $30) – I guess I have to start with my book, if you don’t already have it: a complete guide for teen filmmakers, useful for new filmmakers of any age because it distills the entire process down into a short, focused, entertaining book. It’s written for the reader to follow one of three paths: the Writer, Director/DOP, or Editor, so you could present each of the three key crew with a copy of the book to use from their own perspective. It’s available in paperback and eBook versions. For more into, see my book’s webpage: If you want to shop straight from the publisher, the book’s even cheaper:

2. COLLAPSIBLE REFLECTOR (approx $20 – $30) – Even before buying any lighting, a reflector is essential. Useful outside and in, it can to bounce light and reduce shadows giving you the illusion of a fill light. Because it collapses, it’s wonderfully small and portable.

3. CLIP-ON UTILITY LIGHT (approx $20 – $30) plus LIGHT STAND (approx $30 – $40) – The next step from a reflector is an entry-level studio light (or two). The most affordable alternative has to be the clip-on utility light you can pick up at a hardware store and a light stand from a photography store. The stand gives the filmmaker the ability to light from any height and location – or use it to rig other objects (like curtains or other set pieces) for the film frame… which is why two stands are even better than one.

4. VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE (a huge ranges of prices, e.g. from $20 – $120) – You may have a free video editing software on the computer already, but new filmmakers will soon appreciate the extra tracks and features of a software that more closely emulates professional editing software. I personally use VideoPad by NCH (which apparently has a sale until the end of November), but honestly, that’s not the only one out there. PC Magazine did a survey of video editing software for 2017:,2817,2397215,00.asp

5. GROCERY STORE GIFT CARD (whatever price you’d like!) – Sounds like a strange idea for a gift, but it’s for buying “craft service” supplies for set. Since new filmmakers are tapping into volunteers to make their movie, food is one of the largest expenses on a low-/no-budget production.

6. EXTERNAL MICROPHONE (huge price range, depending on quality and type of camera) – Improving sound quality greatly improves the movie experience, and so an external mic is the way to go. Best to chat with someone at the store about best choices when you know what the film camera is (a cell phone, Gopro, video camera, etc.).

7. BLACK PRODUCTION T-SHIRT (approx $18 – $25) – Hey, while we’re talking Black Friday and recognizing that black is THE colour to wear on set (not only because it’s cool, but because it doesn’t reflect light and show the crew’s presence in reflected surfaces), why not a black t-shirt of sweatshirt to wear on set? I’ve made some Write! Shoot! Edit! T’s, sweatshirts and hats on Cafepress for you. Admittedly, Cafepress doesn’t appear to have a Black Friday sale (sigh…), but you may just need one anyway:

Now it’s over to you. Bring a smile to the new filmmaker in your life!

Cheers & shopping to you,

– – – – – – – – – –

Deb Patz is the author of Write! Shoot! Edit! for teens and Film Production Management 101 for the industry – both books are published worldwide by MWP. She’s also part of the editorial board for Prism International. She’s worn many a black production t-shirt, sweatshirt and jacket over the years.

WHERE IS DEB? (upcoming events and appearances)
Wed.Nov.22 – Graduate Reader – UBC Graduate Reading Event
Sat.Feb.17 – Author Participant – Digital Media Youth Expo, North Vancouver, BC
Mar.26-28 – Instructor – Write! Shoot! Edit! Screenwriting Workshop for Teens – VPL

Paperback or eBook: AmazonBarnes & NobleChapters/Indigo, direct from the publisher, and plenty of other great bookstores worldwide.