15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

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Filmmaking has been a highly anticipated industry of all time. Originating as a means of entertainment, filmmaking has undergone the high-end process and emerged as the most successful means of art. 

This article is about some of the best filmmaking books that can give you a glance at the inception of filmmaking.

Filmmaking is a practical art, however, there are numerous dimensions to it, that are just concepts, but, very effective while actually filming or directing. 

Ways to learn making movies alongwith reading books on Filmmaking

One way to make yourself diligent filmmakers is to learn it through academic courses on filmmaking. However, it’s not necessary to get into a film school in order to achieve success in the arena. 

You can also opt for a low-budget film program on online platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, and Masterclass

Remember, some of the greatest names in the film industry never went to a film school. 

Importance of Filmmaking Books for a film student

However, filmmaking books are one common thing that brings film school graduates and normal filmmakers together.

Filmmaking books allow you to grow at your own pace and perspective. As it is said, no two people read a book the same.

No two people learn the exact same thing in the exact same way. They learn differently but equally, leading to a better understanding and broader perspective. 

There are a plethora of filmmaking books that can be considered while wanting to learn the skill. Some of them are extraordinarily great while some of them give you a slight glance on the art. 

This article will introduce you to some of the greatest filmmaking books that must hold a position on your bookshelf and in your mind.

These are the books worth reading to understand the skillfully beautiful and mind-blowing art of filmmaking and screenwriting.

Here’s a list of filmmaking books that I find to be best:

  1. The Filmmaker’s Handbook
  2. In The Blink Of An Eye
  3. On Directing Films
  4. Directing, Film Techniques and Aesthetics
  5. Rebel Without A Crew
  6. Hollywood Producers Directory
  7. Something Like An Autobiography
  8. Joseph Campbell- The Hero With A Thousand Faces
  9. The Writer’s Journey
  10. Taking It All In
  11. If It’s Purple, Someone Gonna Die
  12. Making Movies
  13. Shooting to Kill
  14. Sculpting in Time
  15. Hitchcock

Let’s dig closely into these filmmaking books and find out what’s so special about them.

1. The Filmmaker’s Handbook by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

One of the most important filmmaking books is The Filmmaker’s Handbook. This is amazingly written by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus following a vivid and straightforward way of describing. 

As a beginner, this handbook becomes a must-have. The techniques of filmmaking, as described in the book, can teach you important aspects of filmmaking and screenwriting.

Buy the book on Amazon.

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

One of the most popular filmmaking books of all time is In the Blink Of An Eye. This wonderful book is written by Walter Murch. Walter is an Award-winning editor and sound designer.

The book is a spiritual guide to film editing and its principles. Editing is a vital step in the filmmaking process and must be mastered if you want to present a flawless film. Editing has a significant role to play in storytelling.

Buy the book on Amazon.

3. On Directing Films by David Mamet

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Do you know what it means to be a director? This is one primary question that will be answered throughout the book. This is a fascinating filmmaking book that every aspiring filmmaker must own. 

Written by David Mamet, On Directing Film lays out important notes on filmmaking that have been inspired by his successful journey. This is a book on the art of directing films and bringing out that outstanding screenplay.

Buy the book on Amazon.

4. Directing- Film Techniques And Aesthetics by Michael Rabiger and Mick Hurbis-Cherrier

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Explicitly written on the art and science of directing films, this book is one of the most technical filmmaking books one can read. A film is not just about a good story, but also about the way the story has been presented to the world. 

Understanding film aesthetics needs years of knowledge and study. If you are not a part of any academic filmmaking course, it becomes pretty difficult. Thus, this book by Michael Rabiger and Mick Hurbis-Cherrier has been quite a master in the learning process.

Buy the book on Amazon.

5. Rebel Without A Crew by Robert Rodriguez

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Beginners in the filmmaking industry struggle with one primary thing that is finances. Indie filmmakers do not have high-quality professional gears and crew members. Rather they have an awestruck idea in their minds.

Such filmmakers must own this book and get tips on how to be a rebel on the screen without a crew. Written by Robert Rodriguez, The book notes down the journey of his filmmaking career and how he managed to budget his films and create outstanding art.

Buy the book on Amazon.

6. Hollywood Producers Directory by J. Douma & D. Perez

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Written by J. Douma & D. Perez, this is a vital book on filmmaking. The book has a detailed study on the various aspects of producing any type of media project. Not only a filmmaker, but anyone who is engaged with producing in the media industry must consider reading this book.

Buy the book on Amazon.

7. Something Like An Autobiography by Akira Kurosawa

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

This book is written by one of the greatest filmmakers this world has seen, Akira Kurosawa. Reading this book is like traveling through the minds of a great filmmaker. The book contains the master’s techniques and teachings.

As a filmmaker, not only must you be acquainted with and watched the greatest films ever made, but also you must study the director and their perspective. An amazing read awaits your way.

Buy the book on Amazon.

8. The Hero With A Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

A hero’s journey in the film is the most important aspect of a film. The protagonist decides how the film proceeds. Thus, it is important to understand the hero and its vitality in the film that is highlighted by screenwriting.

Joseph Campbell’s, A Hero With A Thousand Faces is one such book that defines the Hero of a film. With the theory of the journey of an archetypical hero, the book is a highly recommended read for film students and filmmakers.

Buy the book on Amazon.

9. The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Another popular filmmaking book that is followed widely for understanding the role and journey of a hero is The Writer’s Journey. A vital read for understanding screenwriting and its methods.

The book is written by Christopher Vogler and often read with a comparison of The Hero With A Thousand Faces. Both the books offer a different journey map of a hero or protagonist in a film.

Buy the book on Amazon.

10. Taking It All In by Pauline Kael

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

This book is written by one of the most popular film critics, Pauline Kael. She served as the film critic of New Yorker for quite many years. Her critics have been appreciated by many Hollywood filmmakers.

She writes this book from her experience of understanding films and filmmaking. I would say a valuable read for a beginner filmmaker who needs to understand things from a different perspective.

Buy the book on Amazon.

11. If It’s Purple, Someone Gonna Die by Patti Bellantoni

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Color grading in the film has been used as a motif for a long time. Every color used in a film usually indicates things or actions that might occur or is going to take place.

The color palette is an imperative area of study in filmmaking and editing. Colors have an impact on the viewer’s mind. This book, written by Patti Bellantoni, gives a helpful insight into the world of color grading in films.

Buy the book on Amazon.

12. Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

Making Movies is one of the essential books for filmmakers that is studied widely to intake concepts and formulas to make a film better. This is written by Sidney Lumet and contains important techniques for filmmaking and screenwriting.

There are several lessons on filmmaking that this book offers in quite a simple tone. As a filmmaker, this must be considered as the guide or handbook of filmmaking. Screenplay and its aspects are also very well defined in the book.

Buy the book on Amazon.

13. Shooting to Kill by Christine Vachon

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

This book is written by Christine Vachon. The book covers all aspects of filmmaking, focusing on the importance of a producer. As a beginner filmmaker, you might be using your resources in the creation. This book shows you how you must use your resources in the right way.

This is one of the books that every independent filmmaker must read. While you make a film, its promotion is as important. This book also helps you find ways to make your film big by imperative marketing and promotions.

Buy the book on Amazon.

14. Sculpting in Time by Andrei Tarkovsky

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

If you are a cinephile, you must have heard about the poet of Cinema, Andrei Tarkovsky. This book is written by Andrei Tarkovsky and is highly technical and philosophical in nature.

This book is suggested to people who have quite good knowledge about cinema. The book documents Tarkovsky’s way of filming his films and the thoughts behind it. The technical knowledge gained by the film is commendable, but the philosophical knowledge can contribute to your concepts of screenwriting.

Buy the book on Amazon.

15. Hitchcock by François Truffaut

15 Best Filmmaking Books to Read & Start your Career

One of the fascinating books about filmmaking is Hitchcock, written by François Truffaut. The thought of two great filmmakers united by the book amazes me. Hitchcock had an extraordinary style of filmmaking that is widely admired and studied.

Truffaut, on the other hand, was one of the greatest french film directors. The book is a conversation between Alfred Hitchcock and François Truffaut. Both the directors create a great book that must be read by all filmmakers.

Buy the book on Amazon.

Conclusion

Filmmaking is now a widely popular career to opt for. This has led to a tremendous increase in the academies and online courses. Some questions, can you learn filmmaking without going to film school? I will say Yes. 

One can learn filmmaking on their own. What is important is how you use your learned skills and create a film worth admiring. These above-mentioned filmmaking books are the first-hand guide to acquire knowledge about filmmaking and its aspects.

About the Author

Sarang Padhye

Being an avid film buff and a content marketer, I started this blog to provide the best information on screenwriting and filmmaking. Screenplays is certainly where it all begins. However, I also provide writing and advertising tips regularly through my articles.

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