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Best Filmmaking Books

Recommendations from 19 articles, Maria Sharapova, Joe Rogan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and 46 others.
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Rebel without a Crew
Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
Robert Rodriguez - Sep 01, 1996 (first published in 1995)
Goodreads Rating
In Rebel Without a Crew, famed independent screenwriter and director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Sin City 2, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Spy Kids) discloses all the unique strategies and original techniques he used to make his remarkable debut film, El Mariachi, on a shoestring budget. This is both one man's remarkable story and an essential guide ...
Recommended by
Edgar Wright
In the Blink of an Eye
A Perspective on Film Editing, 2nd Edition
Walter Murch - Jul 31, 2001 (first published in 1991)
Goodreads Rating
In the Blink of an Eye is celebrated film editor Walter Murch's vivid, multifaceted, thought-provoking essay on film editing. Starting with what might be the most basic editing question - Why do cuts work? - Murch treats the reader to a wonderful ride through the aesthetics and practical concerns of cutting film. Along the way, he offers his unique...
On Directing Film
David Mamet - Jan 01, 1992 (first published in 1991)
Goodreads Rating
According to David Mamet, a film director must, above all things, think visually. Most of this instructive and funny book is written in dialogue form and based on film classes Mamet taught at Columbia University. He encourages his students to tell their stories not with words, but through the juxtaposition of uninflected images. The best films, Mam...
Recommended by
Ted Hope
Making Movies
Sidney Lumet - Mar 19, 1996 (first published in 1995)
Goodreads Rating
From one of America's most acclaimed directors comes a book that is both a professional memoir and a definitive guide to the art, craft, and business of the motion picture. Drawing on 40 years of experience on movies ranging from Long Day's Journey Into Night to The Verdict, Lumet explains the painstaking labor that results in two hours of screen m...
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls
How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood
Peter Biskind - Apr 04, 1999 (first published in 1998)
Goodreads Rating
This down-and-dirty romp through Hollywood in the 1970s introduces the young filmmakers--Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, Spielberg, Altman, and Beatty--and recreates an era that transformed American culture forever....
Recommended by
B.J. Novak
Hitchcock
Francois Truffaut - Oct 02, 1985 (first published in 1966)
Goodreads Rating
Any book-length interview with Alfred Hitchcock is valuable, but considering that this volume's interlocutor is François Truffaut, the conversation is remarkable indeed. Here is a rare opportunity to eavesdrop on two cinematic masters from very different backgrounds as they cover each of Hitch's films in succession. Though this book was initially p...
Directing Actors
Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television
Judith Weston - Jul 01, 1999 (first published in 1996)
Goodreads Rating
Internationally-renowned directing coach Weston demonstrates what constitutes a good performance, what actors want from a director, what directors do wrong, script analysis and preparation, how actors work, and shares insights into the director/actor relationship....
Recommended by
Ava DuVernay
This ultimate insider's guide reveals the secrets that none dare admit, told by a show biz veteran who's proven that you can sell your script if you can save the cat!...
Adventures in the Screen Trade
A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting
William Goldman - Mar 10, 1989 (first published in 1983)
Goodreads Rating
No one knows the writer's Hollywood more intimately than William Goldman. Two-time Academy Award-winning screenwriter and the bestselling author of Marathon Man, Tinsel, Boys and Girls Together, and other novels, Goldman now takes you into Hollywood's inner sanctums...on and behind the scenes for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, All the Presiden...
Cinematography
Theory and Practice
Blain Brown - Sep 15, 2016 (first published in 2002)
Goodreads Rating
The world of cinematography has changed more in the last few years than it has since it has in 1929, when sound recording was introduced. New technology, new tools and new methods have revolutionized the art and craft of telling stories visually. While some aspects of visual language, lighting and color are eternal, shooting methods, workflow and c...
Directing
Film Techniques and Aesthetics, Second Edition
Michael Rabiger - Oct 15, 1996 (first published in 1989)
Goodreads Rating
Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics is a comprehensive manual that teaches the essentials of filmmaking from the perspective of the director. Ideal for film production and directing classes, as well as for aspiring and current directors, Directing covers all phases of preproduction and production, from idea development to final cut. Thoroughl...
Shooting to Kill by Christine Vachon
Film Directing Shot by Shot by Steven D. Katz
Down and Dirty Pictures by Peter Biskind
Story by Robert McKee
Something Like An Autobiography by Akira Kurosawa
The Five C's of Cinematography by Joseph V Mascelli
The Complete Film Production Handbook by Eve Light Honthaner
The Filmmaker's Handbook by Steven Ascher
Hello, He Lied & Other Tales from the Hollywood Trenches by Lynda Obst
The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
The Conversations by Michael Ondaatje
The Writers Journey by Christopher Vogler
Notes on Directing by Frank Hauser
Master Shots by Christopher Kenworthy
The Filmmaker's Eye by Gustavo Mercado
Film Lighting by Kris Malkiewicz
The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers by Thomas A. Crowell Esq.
On Film-making by Alexander MacKendrick
The Technique of Film and Video Editing by Ken Dancyger
Poetics by Aristotle
The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking by Mark Polish
Sculpting in Time by Andrey Tarkovsky
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead by Jerry Weintraub
Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities by Guillermo del Toro
Movies by Shea Serrano
My Autobiography by Charlie Chaplin
How to Shoot Video That Doesn't Suck by Steve Stockman
Absolute Pandemonium by Brian Blessed
The Park Bench by Christophe Chaboute
The Hollywood Standard by Christopher Riley
The Art of Drew Struzan by Drew Struzan
Pictures at a Revolution by Mark Harris
This Is Orson Welles by Orson Welles
The Sense of Style by Steven Pinker
The Making of Alien by J. W. Rinzler
The New Biographical Dictionary of Film by David Thomson
What Is Cinema? by Andre Bazin
Who the Devil Made It by Peter Bogdanovich
The Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt
Sergio Leone by Christopher Frayling
Color Correction Handbook by Alexis van Hurkman
Set Lighting Technician's Handbook by Harry Box
Frank Capra by Frank Capra
Paul Rand by Paul Rand
The Art of Star Wars by Phil Szostak
Speaking Of Films by Satyajit Ray
I Am Spartacus! by Kirk Douglas
Running the Show by Liz Gill
Moviemakers' Master Class by Laurent Tirard
Joe Alves by Dennis Prince
The Film Director's Intuition by Judith Weston
Kazan by James Oliver Curwood
Agee on Film by James Agee
Kazan on Directing by Elia Kazan
Negative Space by Manny Farber
The 21st Century Screenplay by Linda Aronson
From Reel to Deal by Dov S-S Simens
My Mother Laughs by Corina Copp
The Reel Truth by Reed Martin
Harryhausen by John Walsh
The Battle of Brazil by Jack Mathews
Clearance & Copyright by Michael C. Donaldson
Shooting for the Mob by Alex Ferrari
Letters from Hollywood by Rocky Lang
Producer to Producer by Maureen Ryan
Social Psychology by Branscombe Baron
Best Actress by Stephen Tapert
Brain Storm by Don Hahn
Film Production Management 101 by Deborah Patz
Spike Lee's Gotta Have It by Spike Lee
Painting With Light by John Alton
The Contender by William J. Mann
The Independent Film Producer’s Survival Guide by Gunnargunnar Ericksonerickson
Where Did I Go Right? by David Rensin
Film History by Kristin Thompson
Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox
The Magic Lantern by Ingmar Bergman
Thinking with Type by Ellen Lupton
On Film Editing Edward Dmytryk by Edward Dmytryk
Ballpark by Paul Goldberger
The Oxford History of World Cinema by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith
Screenplay by Syd Field
DisneyWar by James B. Stewart
Jim Henson by Brian Jay Jones
Final Cut by Steven Bach
The Devil's Candy by Julie Salamon