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Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD Box Set

Troma // Unrated // May 31, 2005
List Price: $49.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by Bill Gibron | posted May 27, 2005 | E-mail the Author
It started out as a philosophy. Then it became a best selling book. Now, it's a five disc DVD "film school", a chance for the founding father of outsider cinema to wax poetic and prophetic about the independent film business that he helped redefine. For over three decades now, Troma and its highly recognizable head honcho, Lloyd Kaufman, have tried to steer a box office boat upon which he is almost the sole sailor. He has placed his love of art, and desire to make movies outside the mainstream to the test, using his chutzpah as well as his obvious business savvy to stay afloat where others have scuttled and sank. Though his creative output is sporadic at best, and in the later years Troma has become more of a distribution house than an actual movie studio, he and his partner Michael Herz have managed something rare: They have turned Troma into a brand name, an entity known for championing unusual films that almost always fall far outside the everyday and common.

As part of his ongoing desire to defend and nurture the subculture, Lloyd has put together the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set, a companion piece of sorts to his popular book of the same name. Determined to get his ideas out to as many impressionable young people as possible, Uncle Lloyd prepares to walk us through his life as a filmmaker, as well as the many valuable life lessons he's picked up over the years. Relying on friends, associates, employers and enemies, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is a digital example of tenacity leading to success. That it may not completely achieve its 'cinematic college in a box' concept, this is still a fine primer for anyone wondering how to make their own movie – and how Troma itself has done it for so many years.

The DVD:
Less a linear set of lessons and more a tribute to 30 years of involvement in independent cinema, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD Box Set is the ultimate labor of love for its creator. For decades now, Troma chief Lloyd Kaufman has been a lone warrior in an uphill battle to maintain pop culture relevance in a consumer fanbase slowly brainwashed by mass marketed Hollywood blockbusters. Combining his usual effete goofball schtick (a definitely post modern act of self-deprecating irony) with a sound set of business and entertainment ethics, Lloyd has never promised more than he could deliver, nor does he ever deliver more than is necessary. Troma titles – at least the ones created by the company – are "art" as filtered through a perverted 13 year olds idea of amusement. They are movies forged out of tits, blood, farts and as much sleazy, skeazy sex as possible. They are the very definition of arrested adolescence – and are usually a lot of fun.

When he released his incredibly insightful (and joke filled) book, Make Your Own Damn Movie, two years ago, Kaufman was taking a stand of sorts, using the unusual memoir format to chide young auteurs into getting off their asses and actually shooting some footage. While it was incredibly anecdotal, and less instructional than insane, the tome does provide a foundation for understanding the realities of making movies in a Tinsel Town tainted medium. Therefore, it's no surprise that the DVD box set named for the book follows the same sort of format. Forged out of several Behind the Scenes and Bonus Featurettes used on other Troma titles, with lots of interviews and created vignettes made exclusively for this presentation, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is not really a film school in a clever plastic case. Instead, it's a way for Lloyd to pass on some of the highlights – and lowlights – of his years in the business, hoping that anyone inspired to create their own consarned cinema will learn by his example.

While it may be impossible to cover ALL the content in this package – there is over 18 hours of material here – breaking down the set segment by segment will at least help you understand the information parameters of Troma's intent. This is not just a storehouse for past added content. There is indeed a lot of important training to be absorbed while canvassing this collection. Starting with Disc 1, we can start to understand where Lloyd and the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD Box Set is coming from:

Disc 1: The Make Your Own Damn Movie Basics (total disc time @ 3 hours)
Lloyd starts off this DVD presentation with a 5 minute introduction that gives you the basics of the Make Your Own Damn Movie philosophy. This is not meant to be a step-by-step how-to guide. We are not walked through the set up, execution and completion of a single film, nor are we witnesses to particular problems within individual elements of moviemaking (financing, casting, etc.). Instead over the course of five DVDs, we are introduced to dozens of dreamers; some famous, some hoping to be. Each one has a story to tell, and Lloyd is there to capture it with his handy mini-cam.

Compiled together and augmented with documentaries, an early Kaufman opus, and more mini-segments than are digestible in a single sitting, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD Box Set is meant to be a supplement – not only to Lloyd's book, but to your knowledge of what it takes to make a film. Basically, if you don't have the burning desire and talent to take on such a Herculean task, this DVD is not going to show you a shortcut. Your desire to do has to be as important as Troma's desire to teach. Looking at the specific content here, we start with:

The Troma System of Casting (5 mins): Seated behind his desk at Troma (where he will spend a lot of time during the material made specifically for this box set) Lloyd discusses some of the things to look for when hiring actors and actresses. He stresses the importance of being upfront on such issues as violence, sex and nudity, and argues against classically trained performers. He likes the reality of non-professional "personalities". During his discussion, clips from the casting process of Terror Firmer are intercut.

How to Raise $$$ (9 mins): In what will perhaps be the biggest letdown for a young filmmaker, Lloyd has no real secrets about getting the cash you need to make your own damn movie. Instead, he offers some suggestions, tells a few horror stories, and makes it seem like, aside from the actual filming, locating the dough to support your cinema will be the biggest burden you face. Yea.

How to Get Your Films Financed in France (19 mins): Hoping to show some of the alternatives to typical financing, Lloyd participates in a French horror western shoot, and talks about creating a "show trailer" for your film. Using said professional production piece, the filmmakers here hope to lure potential backers into supporting the project. As Lloyd accurately pointed out, it worked for Sam Raimi (Evil Dead) and Trey Parker and Matt Stone (Cannibal: The Musical).

Troma's Prop Shop (2 mins): In a hilarious throwaway bit, Troma takes us to the place that houses all their production needs: a dumpster outside CBS's New York studios.

Advice from the Masters on Writing – a 2 Part Featurette
James Gunn (14 mins): Gunn, whose crafted the script for such big time Hollywood hits as Scooby-Doo and the Dawn of the Dead remake is a known ex-Troma talent made very, very good (he wrote Tromeo and Juliet). As a result, he is more than happy to spend time discussing how he made it in Hollywood, and the many pitfalls you will face in trying to get people to notice your script. While many may consider him a hack, his Q&A is one of the very best things about the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD Box Set.

Larry Cohen (15 mins): Unlike Gunn, Cohen is a self-made man, having forged a full career in TV writing before becoming the independent maverick behind such horror highlights as the It's Alive movies. With recent Tinsel Town successes like Phone Booth and Cellular, Cohen can play the learned elder. And play it he does, providing more of a lecture than a series of lessons about making it in show biz.

Advice from the Masters on Becoming a Filmmaker – a 3 Part Featurette
John Avildsen (24 mins): Along with Gunn, Eli Roth, and a few others, Avildsen is a longtime Lloyd supporter. Kaufman was an (usually unpaid) assistant on many of the director's films, including Joe and – most importantly – Rocky. Their friendship is obvious as Avildsen opens up about making films, getting final cut, and the amount of work it takes to make it in the business. While it appears to be culled from several separate segments, the overall interview is quite good.

John Badham (2 mins): In a brief bit, Badham (Saturday Night Fever, WarGames) gives the viewers a nice, short pep talk. In essence, he argues that with perseverance, anyone can succeed.

Herschell Gordon Lewis (4 mins): While it's always great to see the Godfather of Gore, Lewis is hampered by the setting of his segment. Surrounded by crowds at a convention, Hersch is forced to speak very loudly, and briefly, about his approach to moviemaking.

Make Your Own Damn Music Video – a 2 Part Featurette
Video Shoot in Russia with Lloyd (40 mins): This segment, along with the other in this part, will show the difference between filmmaking and simply talking film. Lloyd goes to the former Soviet republic to take part in a Troma based music video. But there is more vodka and discussion than there is set-ups and shooting. Kind of the yin to the "let's get it done" yang of the Purple Pam piece.

Purple Pam "Kick in the Head" Video Shoot (17 mins): Though her music may be middling, the shoot for her video shows just how hard Pam, Lloyd (as the director) and the crew work to create something saleable – especially out of the chaos that is a typical Troma set.

Special Effects Demo – a 5 Part Featurette
F/X 101 (17 mins): Tim Considine, the effect guru behind Citizen Toxie, is on hand to walk Lloyd through the ins and outs of basic make-up and prosthetics. A very informative piece, with Considine delivering a terse, but telling speech about work ethic and approach to your art. Troma's Head Crushing Secrets (1 min): The same old melon madness we've seen before.

Troma's Arm Rip (4 mins): An old Troma Edge TV piece, recycled here once again.

Troma's Arm Rip Goes to Hollywood (6 mins): On the set of The Janitor, Lloyd learns how the patented Troma F/X trick is being utilized in actual productions.

Advances in the Making of Fake Blood (2 mins): The new recipe? Hair gel and food coloring.

Disc 2: The Battle for Love's Return Master Class (total disc time @ 3 hours, 15 mins)
Workshop Edition of Lloyd's 1st Feature Film: The Battle of Love's Return with Optional Full Length Audio Commentary by Lloyd (1 hr 20 mins): As a movie, The Battle of Love's Return is one of the those insular, self-indulgent pieces of pure introspective claptrap that passed as "important" at the end of the peace and love generation. In the commentary, Lloyd calls it "a film about identity". If he means that it's a narrative centered on discovering its own inner crappiness, he's right on target.

But as aggravating as the actual film is – the plot is a structure-less look at one nebbish's attempt to make sense out of the amazing, multi-faceted world around him – it does function as a cautionary example of what NOT to do when making a movie. And Lloyd is right there to criticize the Hell out of his hopelessly dated disaster. His alternative narrative track is the lesson here, a non-stop conversation about aesthetic and artistic choices in tandem with the pros and cons of the final product. While the film may be trying, Lloyd's insights are superlative.

Lessons from Young Filmmakers – a 6 Part Featurette
An Idealist Lynchean's Personal Statement (30 mins): In this section, we start to see individual independent moviemakers on the sets of their own personal opuses. Lloyd has a habit of acting in as many low budget productions as possible, more as a way of supporting first time or struggling filmmakers than adding to his own acting oeuvre. With handheld camera at the ready, he walks us through the good and bad of homemade cinema. In the case of this segment, Lloyd is on the set of The Tunnel, helmed by the David Lynch obsessed Ramzi Abed. Along with American Movie's Mark Borchardt (who also has a cameo) we discover that, sometimes, personal vision can get in the way of actual production.

Making Zombie Movies in Kansas (17 mins): Lloyd is acting in Chris Watson's Midwest epic Zombieggedon, and he talks with the producer/writer/director/actor about making films so far from Hollywood, as well as how he managed to get some big name genre stars (Brinke Stevens, Robert Z'Dar) to be in his movie.

How to Get People to Work for Free By Giving Them Titles (5 mins): A group of filmmakers show up at the Troma studios to film Lloyd's cameo for something called Insane Asylum. The Troma titan interviews them about why they work for free.

Making a 35mm Film for Very Little Money (35 mins): Prison a Go-Go is the setting for this next on set segment from Lloyd. Along with getting a chance to reconnect with Mary Woronov (associates from way back) as well as rub up against Rhonda Shear, Lloyd walks us through his days working with co-writer/director Barak Epstein. Less instructional and more casual, we do learn about using short-ends for filming, as well as the pitfalls of location management.

Jenna Fischer - First Time Filmmaker (8 mins): James Gunn's wife Jenna catches the directing bug, and naturally Lloyd is there to help out. Discussing her debut film LolliLove, Fischer is forthright about the rigors of being in charge, as well as lamenting the lack of opportunities for first time female auteurs.

Learning from Your Miss-Steaks (6 mins): Lloyd spends the entire time tearing about the production of Meat for Satan's Icebox. By showcasing the problems they facds – bad sound recording, lame special effects – he hopes to steer untested young guns in the right direction.

Lessons from Established Filmmakers – a 2 Part Featurette
Stuart Gordon (8 mins): The Re-Animator director talks about how he started in the business, as well as why he still loves independent moviemaking. It's a very informative and insightful piece.

Spierig Twins (8 mins): These Australian filmmakers (2003's cult hit Undead) describe why it's important to make short films, raising the money yourself, and involving the Internet community when making your own damn movie.

Lessons in Sound – a 2 Part Featurette
Sound 101 (5 mins): Lloyd uses his handheld camera, and a Border's bookstore location, to show how important good sound is in a film. From this critic's standpoint, anything that can get first time filmmakers away from the camcorder mic mentality is a good thing. Sound Advice from Terror Firmer (1 mins): A brief bit about proper location management.

Disc 3: The Complete Citizen Toxie Bonus DVD (total disc time @ 3 hours, 41 mins)
Pre-Production – a 3 Part Featurette
Film Concept (15 mins): Beginning with this segment, we are given the complete Citizen Toxie story, straight from the bonus DVD that accompanied the release of the title on the digital medium. Part 1 focuses on coming up with the idea for a 3rd Toxic Avenger sequel, as well as many of the elements that go into a typical pre-production.

Toxie Makeup Test (3 mins): With a new actor involved, Toxie gets his F/X on.

Script Meeting (8 mins): Hoping to work out many of the kinks in the story before hitting the set, the creative crew behind Citizen Toxie argue over the screenplay.

Production – Stunk in the Middle
"Apocalypse Soon" – The Making of Citizen Toxie (2 hrs, 15 mins): Along with piece on Terror Firmer and Tales from the Crapper, this is the reason to own the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set. Troma excels at these behind the scenes films since they aren't afraid to show the shambles a typical Kaufman set de-evolves into. This warts and all approach is the in the "learn by example" ideal of education, and we do come to understand a lot about young film wannabes. Most are slovenly slackers who get pissy for no valid reason. Many feel that, at a certain point, hard work is no longer their forte. And a few will mutiny over the dumbest, most ridiculous ideas (like the rumor of lead paint at a location). Lloyd's confusion and anger is understandable, as is that of the people (director of photography, writer, actors) who merely want to make the finest film they can. But it's the "free intern" conceit that seems to derail many of Citizen Toxie's best-laid plans. This is an incredibly insightful look at independent moviemaking.

"Apocalypse Soon" Appendixes – a 9 Part Featurette: presented here are outtakes from the documentary that didn't make it into the final cut. Included are:

"Meet Armando the PA"' (4 mins): a Q&A
"Matte Explosion" (3 mins): showing how a key F/X scene was set-up and shot
"Midgets" (5 mins): Discussing the creation of the classic Citizen Toxie womb fight
'Trent's Death" (2 mins): another F/X how-to
"Old Lady Head Crush" (2 mins): same as before
"Naked Old Guy" (1 mins): some old coot drops trou – along with everything else
"Penis Monster Dies" (3 mins): more F/X madness
"Playboy Tromaville Launch" (14 mins): an extended piece which finds the Tromaville titans roaming around Hef's horndog haunt.

Completion: The End...Is Just the Beginning – a 5 Part Featurette
Clyde Lewis Dubs Toxie (2 mins): As he did with the original Toxic Avenger, Lloyd dubs the dialogue of the creature. This segment explains how and why.

NYC Premiere (5 mins): The movie finally opens and we get a chance to gauge fan – and filmmakers – reaction.

LA Premiere (4 mins): Same, with the location moved to La-La land.

"Rashamoron Pt. 1" (7 mins): During a radio interview, Lloyd and some of this Troma buddies got a little insane. Luckily, a Japanese filmmaker was there to capture it all. He shows Lloyd the footage.

Sitges Film Festival (3 mins): How Citizen Toxie played at the Troma friendly cinematic celebration.

Disc 4: Terror Firmer and Beyond (total disc time @ 4 hours)
"Farts of Darkness": The Making of Terror Firmer (1 hr, 40 mins): Along with the Citizen Toxie film, we get the other, more rational side of the Troma production coin. Though things are far from smooth on the Terror Firmer set, there appears to be less "personal" problems, and more production logistics to overcome. Lloyd is still running a far too loose set, with kids barely out of high school screaming with perceived importance and acting up. But unlike Toxie, where it seems individuals were mostly responsible for the hold-ups, this is the madness of independent moviemaking captured in all its cinema vérité glory. Again, kudos to the company for being unafraid to show how problematic their productions can be.

When Reshoots Go Wrong: Tales from the Crapper (1 hr): To quote the original review of this 2004 film:
"In addition, we are treated to some behind the scenes footage of the Tales from the Crapper reshoot, which Lloyd Kaufman calls a "frat party" filled with losers and amateurs. During the documentary, Lloyd narrates the footage while holding a camera on himself. He talks about some of the reasons why the initial movies failed, how hard it was to work with the material and how unhappy he was with some of the post-production circumstances. Seeing the Troma chief in serious businessman mode is amazing, as his entire demeanor is completely different."

After seeing both "Apocalypse Soon" and "Farts of Darkness", it is easy to understand Lloyd's somber state. It seems that any movie they are involved in has massive, monumental troubles.

Shooting a Feature Film on a Bolex (35 mins): Lloyd is off to the Great White North to make an appearance in the film Harry Knuckles and the Pearl Necklace. We are introduced to director Lee Demarbre and his unusual way of making movies. Using an old fashioned camera that cannot record sound, the filmmaker hopes to gain a certain ambient feel from the throwback technology. Watching Lloyd work alongside an actor that is purposefully being given real liquor throughout the scene is a hoot.

Filmmaking in Germany (15 mins): Lloyd's in the Fatherland, making the Teutonic terror tale Lord of the Undead. Writer/Director Timo Rose's twisted tale is being created on a very serious, very workmanlike set, something Lloyd is unfamiliar with.

Lessons from the Masters on Filmmaking – a 2 Part Featurette
Trey Parker and Matt Stone (23 mins): A good third of this interview piece is Lloyd lamenting how is he unable to speak to his own friends (they are in the middle of production on Team America: World Police, and Paramount is not cooperating). But once he gets the sit down we end up with typical Parker and Stone goodness. As genial and genuine as they can be, with lots of self-deprecating humor about their current superstar position, we begin to understand how difficult it is for the duo to maintain their identity and integrity in Hollywood.

Vincent Sherman (14 mins): In what is perhaps the oddest piece in the entire Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set, Lloyd has a conversation with the 98 year old director (famous for lots of big and small screen productions). The topic under discussion is the blacklist, and aside from some very telling statements about those who "named names" there is really no other point to the discussion. Lloyd obviously includes it as a testament to the filmmaker, but there are not a lot of current lessons about independent moviemaking to be learned from this piece.

Disc 5: All The Love You Cannes and Beyond (total disc time @ 4 hours)
All The Love You Cannes (1 hr, 32 mins): In our final full length look at the commercial cogs and generational gears that go into making and marketing Troma product, All The Love You Cannes follows Lloyd and his amateur corporate champions as the indie icon takes on the famed French festival. For those of you who've seen the film, or actually own the DVD release from a while back, you know the drill. Lloyd narrates, giving us a basic idea about how things work at Cannes. He highlights how movies are sold, and the necessity of ANY publicity. Said ideals then slowly backfire on the company as – thanks to their unruly interns – they get in Dutch with their hotel, with public relations people, and the local French citizenry. Part ugly American dissertation, part lesson in doing a better job of picking your assistants and associates, this is the lesser of the four major Behind the Scenes features here, if only because the individuals mucking things up for Troma are so reprehensible.

Combining Old and New Technology (11 mins): It's back to Bolex land as the Harry Knuckles post-production takes place. Lloyd is back in Canada, dubbing his dialogue in the scene. This is a very technical, how-to style segment.

Union Contract Troubles (11 mins): Prison A Go-Go gets the organized labor shaft as the young filmmaker, Barak Epstein, discusses how SAG and his lack of contractual protection cost him a bundle when the time came to sell his gals behind bars epic.

Film Festival Honors (14 mins): Lloyd attends the South by Southwest film festival, and is initially honored to be part of such a celebration. He learns however that, even as a celebrated guest, there is no table for him to sit at during the ceremony. Then, Jack Valenti, ex-MPAA president and known nemesis of Troma is honored with induction into the Texas Hall of Fame. Lloyd bails, rightly calling his treatment "a travesty" and a slap in the face of true independent art.

Knowing Your Audience – a 2 Part Featurette (with a 30 sec Intro from Lloyd)
Make Your Own Damn Video Store (8 mins): A local independent video store owner discusses how he got started in the rental business, highlighting many of the do's and dont's. While some of his inventory may be suspect (Howard the Duck???), his intentions - and his goals – are commendable.

Make Your Own Damn Movie Theater (6 mins): Though it's far more silly than serious, a couple of eager entrepreneurs walk Lloyd through their decision to purchase a run down theater and start their own cinema. While it would have been nice to learn more about the logistics of running a real movie house, this is still an interesting piece.

Lessons from the Masters – a 4 Part Featurette
Bill Lustig (11 mins): Mr. Maniac/Maniac Cop himself, Blue Underground's Bill Lustig is a great interview. With lots of anecdotes and examples on how he got into, and succeeded, in the independent film business, the mild-mannered maverick is an excellent teacher. Thankfully, Lloyd just lets him talk.

George Romero (3 mins): In a very brief bit, Romero is in cheerleader mode, telling potential filmmakers to stop hemming and start helming.

Adam Rifkin (7 mins): Rifkin is another quasi-successful Troma alum (that is, if you consider Detroit Rock City and The Dark Backward successes) and he gives Lloyd the standard "follow your goals, live your dreams" spiel. It's effective, but it's also not the most insightful bit in the entire box set.

Eli Roth (26 mins): While you may love or hate Roth (he just comes across that way) or his movie (the overrated Cabin Fever) you have to admit this is a wonderful look at independent moviemaking. Roth has a lot of very valid things to say about film, about working hard, and about getting involved in the industry for the "right" reasons. His stories of production problems, financing failures and lack of commercial (read: cash) credit should be mandatory lessons for every first time auteur. Along with Gunn, these Hollywood insiders give us great insight into what it takes to Make Your Own Damn Movie.

Make Your Own Damn Comic Book – a 2 Part Featurette
Stan Lee (5 mins): As the final facets of this release, Lloyd uses the notion of cross promotion and marketing to introduce us to the Marvel giant. At first, Lee is less than focused, making jokes about Lloyd, a filmmaker, asking him, a comic book king, for advice on making movies. But once he settles in (about a minute before the segment ends) Lee does offer some basic guidance on getting into the funny book business.

Kevin Eastman (10 mins): Known to most as the co-creator of the WILDLY successful Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise, Eastman is also the owner of Heavy Metal and all its media offshoots. This allows Lloyd to discuss not only the world of animated kid vid (something Troma tried with the Toxic Avenger) but the success/failure of the Heavy Metal movies.

As with most businessmen, Kaufman is not about to lend out his proprietary secrets to the great unwashed. There has to be things he is keeping to himself, and from fans, that only he needs to know. As it stands then, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is a letdown, albeit a very minor, miniscule one. Since Lloyd is not providing actual filmed lessons (though there are moments in the DVD trailer where he is shown in a classroom setting, delivering a multi-media presentation) and the structure of the offering is exploratory, not linear, many may be disappointed. They will be the ones hoping for something other than a collection of interviews, skits, homemade making-of's and already available DVD bonus features. But taken in total, one does learn the Troma philosophy and production style, for good and bad. And on that level, this is a great package.

Indeed, if you discount the lack of step-by-step instruction, this is a magnificent overview of the Troma legacy, and the underground spirit of independent moviemaking in general. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz (who does NOT make an appearance here, sadly) have become icons to artistic drive because of an internal commitment to the beat of their own unique cinematic swing band. They have definitely played to the lowest common denominator when it comes to quality and subject matter, but they always do it with a satiric nod to the obviousness of the devices. Films like The Toxic Avenger, Class of Nuke 'Em High, Troma's War and Terror Firmer endure because fans see something in them that regular people are apparently oblivious to: a true love of moviemaking, either as an aesthetic or commercial endeavor. Just like the book that started it all, the Make Your Own Damn Movie box set is, perhaps, the ultimate expression of what Troma is all about. This dopey, delightful DIY is a must have for any potential filmmaker, and any aficionado of the oddball New York company.

The Video:
The Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is a 1.33:1 full frame exercise in mixed media. The pieces produced exclusively as extra content for other DVD packages ("Apocalypse Soon", "Farts of Darkness") are pristine in their attention to detail transfer. So is the copy of All the Love You Cannes. Lloyd's first feature, The Battle of Love's Return does have multiple visual defects, including lots of grain, faded colors and unfocused and fuzzy elements. All the interviews look fine, and the Troma office segments are expertly filmed and presented. Overall, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is an excellent exercise in substance over style, and content over occasional cinematic stumbles.

The Audio:
Nothing about the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is non-professional. When sound is less than stellar, it is because the situations lent themselves to audio issues. It has nothing to do with the transfer, or the Dolby Digital Stereo mix. There will be times – especially during the caught on camcorder segments – where you'll have concerns about the aural attributes. But for the most part, you get clean, clear sonics delivered without a great deal of decoration or drama.

The Extras:
None. And frankly, none are needed. Indeed, how do you supplement something that is already a companion piece to a book, as well as a compliment to an entire catalog of filmmaking.

Final Thoughts:
Trying to sum up the sensational, sporadic and salient Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set is a rather difficult task. There is just so much here, so many stories, individual moments and diverse personalities involved that it often plays as a well-stocked museum to the entire modern homemade movie genre, not just a bit of Troma based documentation. Though there are probably better multimedia presentations out there regarding breaking into the film game (especially in the specific crafts of screenwriting and performance), this omnibus overview of talent, determination and pitfalls makes for amazingly entertaining viewing. And if it ends up helping a student or two make their own damn movie, then bully for them. But better than the cinematic inspiration, the Make Your Own Damn Movie DVD box set stands as a monument to the dedication and desires of Lloyd Kaufman. Argue about the value of his films, but no one can question his integrity or intent. Lloyd is, first and foremost, concerned about art. And hopefully this DVD, and the surprisingly engaging stories it tells, will inspire you to go and make some of your own.

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