Suggested Reading

Here are some interesting books you can read to learn more about the film and video industry. If you don’t have the resources or time to go to school, here are books that equal what you will learn in a lot of classes:

Rebel Without A Crew — Robert Rodriguez

This is Rodriguez’s account of how he made El Mariachi with himself as director, DP, sound recorder, etc. He does his work with just one camera. This may be the best (if not the only) “do it yourself” book on how to make a feature.

Thinking in Pictures — John Sayles

A step up from that level is John Sayles’ book on the making of Matewan, from story conception to post. Although it is primarily geared towards shooting with a professional crew, there are some really good pointers on how to make a movie at any level. Also includes the full shooting script.

First Time Director — Gil Bettman

I attended some of Gil Bettman’s lectures at the Screenwriting Expo in LA last year, and he has a wealth of information and experience to impart. He worked for years as a TV director, and has a lot of tips on how to shoot fast and efficiently. While this book too is mainly geared toward a director who is working with a professional crew, his advice (particularly on camera blocking) is useful at almost any level of filmmaking.

Understanding Movies — Louis Gianetti

Although I’m generally not mad on film “theory”, I got a lot out of this book. It goes into a lot of detail about how movies work on the perception of the viewer.

My First Movie –- Stephen Lowenstein

This book is a series of directors like Gary Oldman, Barry Levinson and the Coen Brothers interviewed about what it took to make their first movie. It’s a GREAT read and very insightful into what needs to happen for a first time producer/director to pull off a feature film

The Guerilla Film Makers Movie Blue Print – Chris Jones

This reads like a combination of school text book and the Idiot’s Guide series. It’s got a chapter on just about every basic skill needed to light, stage, recruit, sound and distribute a movie. Sample legal documents are included. The book is printed in England. I think newer versions than mine have more US examples. With or without, the book is a great resource for beginners who want to know all about the film business, what everything is called and who does what.

The Complete Film Production Handbook 
Eve Light Honthaner
Contains step by step instructions, checklists, and valuble forms/contracts
Amazon Link 

How NOT to Make A Short Film 
Roberta Marie Munroe
Amazon Link 

Hollywood Distribution Directory 
Hollywood Creative Directory Staff
A yearly publication that gives contact info for producers
Amazon Link