I have spent years reading and examining over 300 books on film production. A lot of information in books is too basic, redundant, old, or otherwise useless.
The books listed here are the ones that every single filmmaker should get their creative hands on. I use them to teach my classes. These books were hand picked because they are amazing. You will find no gimmicky stuff here. They get to the point and they tell you what you want to know about film production – fast.
The books listed here are my favs. If you want to see the full list of books I can recommend you can visit the Bulletproof Filmmaker Goodreads profile at http://www.goodreads.com/bulletprooffilmmaker.
Links go to Amazon but we don’t get a kickback so you can rest assure these recommendations aren’t tainted.
Top Recommended Film Books:
The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV, and Digital Media, Bruce Block. Talk about a book that gets into the meat and potatoes of filmmaking! This one will have your mind soaring above while other filmmakers are floundering below trying to reinvent the wheel. EVERY filmmaker needs to hold a copy of this book dear to their heart.
Lighting for Digital Video and Television, John Jackman. Another one that blew me away. This is where I learned about color temperature, exposure, and the inverse-square rule. The author lays it all out so succinctly that you can’t help but walk away more intelligent. GET IT.
Crafting Short Screenplays that Connect, Claudia Hunter Johnson. For years I’ve studied books on various screenwriting paradigms but always felt something was missing because a lot of drama I saw on screen didn’t fit the ‘conflict is drama’ paradigm. Drama is more intricate than just conflict! I read this book and saw a whole new dimension to writing stories that I always knew was there but could never pinpoint. A must for any screenwriter writing short or feature films.
Producing and Directing the Short Film and Video, Peter Rae. This book is one of the best overviews of film and video production. It covers a bit of everything and does it well. Very meaty. Sink your teeth into it!
How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets from a Sundance Programmer, Roberta Marie Munroe. A fun read and a good overview of the filmmaking process. Lot’s of insider knowledge to help you on your way.
Motion Picture and Video Lighting, Blain Brown. Covers similar material as Lighting for Digital Video and Television. If you’re really into cinematography and lighting this is a good one as well. Covers a lot of ground in one book.
Sound for Film and Television, Tomlinson Holman. Holy moly! When you’re ready to move beyond a basic understanding of capturing sound for film and video this is the book I recommend for you. Full of fantastic information.
Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television, Judith Weston. Weston’s amazing book will have you talking actor-speak in no time at all. I practically read this book straight through and am going to read it again right before shooting my next feature film. Absolutely wonderful content. Her other book is similar but delves even more deeply into the content and covers other stuff as well. It’s called The Film Director’s Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques.
Script Supervising and Film Continuity, Pat P. Miller. The best damn book on script supervising. Period.
Film Scheduling: Or, How Long Will it Take to Shoot Your Movie? Ralph S. Singleton. I was lucky enough to come across this book in a used bookstore. Wow. Tells you exactly how to schedule a film and even has a full-color example of the production board used in “The Conversation” that folds out for you to see.
Scheduling and Budgeting your Film: A Panic-Free Guide, Paula Landry. I don’t actually have this book because I have so many other books that cover the topics but I’ve checked it out and it’s a very good recent book on scheduling and budgeting.
Planning the Low Budget Film, Robert Latham Brown. Another fantastic book and a great guide from a guy who has helped produce tiny films all the way to major blockbusters.
The Grip Book, Michael Uva. Wanna be a grip? Read it.
Special Effects Makeup for Stage and Screen: Making and Applying Prosthetics, Todd Debreceni. I haven’t read the whole thing but I browsed through it and can tell you it’s chock full of great information, tips, and tricks.
The Filmmaker’s Guide to Production Design, Vincent LoBrutto. This book isn’t necessarily for production designers but is a good intro to production design for directors, producers, and other crew members.