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BookList
Favorite Film Book List
A Work In Progress

I have hundreds of books in my library just about filmmaking. I "love" them all, it seems. I read dozens of books a year on many different topics, several at one time, as I have time. They are in different rooms and when I enter that room, if I need a break, I sit and read until I nearly fall asleep. I need more "barns" to save all these riches. I dislike Kindle and the iPad for reading. I like the smell of ink, the feel of paper, and the ability to scribble in the margins with different color pens. I find it helpful to turn over the corner of a page, forever marking that page with a simple physical action. It's an actionable, playable objective; besides I always liked coloring books, I just didn't like all the lines. Reading real books is sensual and mystical.

I have had a list of the most important of my films books hiding on another website of mine. But THE OLD LIST is hard to read, and not user friendly. So, over the months [make that years] I hope to let this list expand and give you access to buying the books on Amazon. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have and still do. If this was the Middle Ages I would have been the monk's librarian. Obsessive, fat, and happy.

Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
IMAGINING
Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem-Solving 3rd Edition by Alex F. Osborn

A Classic. Osborn is the "O" in BBDO a large advertising agency. This is a handbook of how to generate ideas that no one every conceived before. Preparation is the door knob of opportunity. what is the relationship between those concepts? Success is 905 perseverance and 10% intelligence. 400 pages of exercises guarenteed to generate great ideas. The image of this book on Amazon.com is the book from my library. Now if it will ever propagate to the thumbnail at left, is left up to the imagination.
Jump Start Your Brain by Douglas Kent Hall

I heard Doug at a conference where everyone was in suits except Doug. He was in his jeans and bare feet, jumping on top of tables and generally getting our B.O.S. (Brain Operating System) wired for thinking outside the box. I have a first edition and the cover is wild compared to what's imaged at the left. My cover features Doug with a lighted yellow bulb stuck in his mouth. He's famous for his sleepless 48-hour marathon brainstorming sessons at which top CEOs and their managers attend to help solve marketing problems. The companies will pay Doug and his team $150,000 (in 1991) but walk away with about 18 new brand name product ideas. Wearing a tie to one of his events is a "hanging offense". And expect to see the meeting rooms at his Eureka Ranch filled with toys and playpens. A business magazine described Hall this way: "a combination of Bill Gates, Ben Franklin, and Bozo the Clown."
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
WRITING
THE MORAL PREMISE: Harnessing Virtue and Vice for Box Office Success by Stanley D. Williams, Ph.D.

Now, I would not be honest if I didn't list my own book at the top of this category. But, if you're going to buy this book, there's a way to get an autographed edition... and the link at the left is not the most likely. Go here instead: ORDER BOOK HERE. And of course this page is part of the site that is all about this book, so no more here.
THE POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Attributes by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The dynamics of the Moral Premise mechanism require polar opposite values. Positive and Negative Traits are close cousins to values. In fact, Angela and Becca explain that the traits they index and detail in their thesaurus can be used four ways: (a) interactive, or action, (b) identity, essence, (c) achievement-based, or goal, and (d) moral attribute, or motivation. It is this last use that perfectly dovetails with The Moral Premise statement. Use their Positive Trait Thesaurus with their Negative Trait Thesaurus to write your Moral Premise statement. The Kindle version's index e-links to exhaustive describe page for each trait. These are great resources for writing, too, after the MP is figured out, because of the myriad examples the authors provide for the trait's cause, how they suggest character behavior, character thoughts, and at the end of each descriptive page a list of opposing traits that cause conflict...potential polar opposite values. These two books are the perfect working companion to The Moral Premise astute writer.
THE NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Flaws by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

The dynamics of the Moral Premise mechanism require polar opposite values. Positive and Negative Traits are close cousins to values. In fact, Angela and Becca explain that the traits they index and detail in their thesaurus can be used four ways: (a) interactive, or action, (b) identity, essence, (c) achievement-based, or goal, and (d) moral attribute, or motivation. It is this last use that perfectly dovetails with The Moral Premise statement. Use their Positive Trait Thesaurus with their Negative Trait Thesaurus to write your Moral Premise statement. The Kindle version's index e-links to exhaustive describe page for each trait. These are great resources for writing, too, after the MP is figured out, because of the myriad examples the authors provide for the trait's cause, how they suggest character behavior, character thoughts, and at the end of each descriptive page a list of opposing traits that cause conflict...potential polar opposite values. These two books are the perfect working companion to The Moral Premise astute writer.
THE EMOTION THESAURUS: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

This guidebook may appear to be designed principally for novelists, but it is a great resource for screenwriter's as well. All stories are about emotions, which can be described as the moral motivation behind action. Without emotion no action takes place. Think of that. Even a cold-blooded killer is driven by emotion. Emotions are the direct consequence of a character's positive and negative traits and motivational values. As the authors state: "Without emotion, a character's personal journey is pointless. Stakes cease to exist, the plot...dry..." and the journey for the reader or viewer meaningless." I've written about how log lines and many stories fail because there are no stakes involved. Values and emotions are prerequisites for successful storytelling. Angela and Becca also have designed this book for the critical purpose of SHOWING, not TELLING emotions. Novelists and Screenwriters alike have this goal. It's the SHOWING that connects the audience or reader, and sutures them into the story by identifying with the characters. It's the key ingredient of well-told stories, and the ingredient missing in the didactic flops that preach. This is the "hot blood" the "right-brain" the "grease" that makes the Positive and Negative Trait books productive.
The Elements of Style (4th Edition) by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

I really should list this little book first, but my CPA won't let me. As the quote on the front says, "Buy it, study it, enjoy it. It's as timelss as a book can be in our age of volubility." Perhpas the most quoted and useful section is OMIT USELESS WORDS. So, I'll stop.
Writing Screenplays That Sell: The Complete, Step-By-Step Guide for Writing and Selling to the Movies and TV, from Story Concept to Development Deal by Michael Hauge

Before I got serious about screenwriting or the film industry I attended one of Michael's workshops in Southfield, MI. It was a 2-day event and worth every minute and dollar I spent. Years later when I began my doctorate, his book was always at the ready. And when I wrote The Moral Premise, you'll see frequent references to this book. Michael continues to be an active story consultant, and I've had the previledge to work with him on a Will Smith project for a couple of days. This is proably one of the most comprehensive books about writing and selling screenplays on the market. Highly recommended.
The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, 3rd Edition, by Christopher E. Vogler
This is one of the top five best selling books on screenplay/movie structure. It is the explanation of Joseph Campbell's THE HEREO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, which I have but will not likely put on this list becasue Chris's work is more accessible and applicable. A significant part of my workshop is deadicated to explaining the 12 Stages of the Hero's Journey, and demonstrating how it dove tails with The Moral Premise concept. I've also worked with Chris on a Will Smith project. But before I met him he was kind enough to writ e the FOREWORD to The Moral Premise.
The 3rd Act: Writing a Great Ending to Your Screenplay by Drew Yanno

You've heard the adage "Begin with the end in mind." Well, that's what Drew Yanno's book is all about. And I can't emphasize how important this is. Indeed so many writers can't get it through their head that the audience is coming to the theater for a resolution to the problems in their lives which are metaphored by the character's lives on the screen. Yes, movies are simulations of real life (not the physical story, but the moral one... but that's getting ahead of my point.) Protagonist's need passionate, physical goals, set in motion by vexing questions that MUST BE RESOLVED IN ACT 3. That seems obvious. But Drew obviously has had trouble convincing writers (possibly his students) that such an obvious thing is necessary. (I do, too, Drew.) Indeed this relatively short book is worth it's cost for just the THIRTY QUESTIONS in the back. Drew also addresses n very important aspect of "endings" -- they do not need to be the trite Hollywood endings one might always expect, to make the ending good, satisfying, and entertaining. He takes the time to analyze the 3rd Act of a number of different films with different endings. In short, Drew's THE 3RD ACT, is a very satisfying, valued book about how to connect with your audience. If you start with THE 3RD ACT you are likely going to write a very good ACT 1. Highly recommended. (Will Smith thinks so, too. I met Drew during a consulting trip to Will's Utah ski lodge where we spend the weekend with The Wibbs breaking down a story while the residences of Park City skied around our picture window that looked up at the mountain. You can see a picture of us here in front of the lodge . Don't tell anyone but the picture of us was actually taken at the airport by the limo driver. Photoshop is a fascinating tool. But that IS the lodge, and that IS the hill behind it that Park City skiers came plunging off toward our "storied party". .)
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder

Blake was one of the most successful screenwriters in Hollywood, sellling 12 spec scripts, and a couple of them for $1,000,000. When The Moral Premise was printed I went over to the press run to watch it come off the press. (My publlisher lives in England, my Managing Editor lives in Seattle, the offical Michael Wiese Books office is in Studio City, CA, the designer is in Philadelphia.... and they're printing The Moral Premise just 20 miles from my house outside Ann Arbor, MI. What are the chances?). they show us the book cover coming off a big 6 color press, and I notice that my book is sharing the press sheet with, guess what other book (in it's upteeth printing)? SAVE THE CAT. What an honor! Is this a omen? What are the chances? I never met Blake before he died sadly and unexpectedly at 52 (August 4, 2009), of a pulmonary embolism. In 2007, on a Sunday afternoon I received a cell call from Blake; he was on his way home from Church and had just finished reading the Moral Premise. He thanked me for the great book and that he planned to recommend it to all his classes. This was a wonderful call to get. It sort of confirmed what I was hoping about The Moral Premise, but was unsure. SAVE THE CAT is one of the most popular books on screenwriting on the market. It's not a master's class, but Blake provides a lot of help from how to deal with expostion (Pope in the Pool), and how to get the audience to love your protagonist in Act 1 (Save the Cat), and some great simple ways to deal with structure (40 cards, not 41). Highly recommended. I have to say that because Blake is looking on down on me right now, and I need his prayers. (Don't we all... especially the pope who's fully dressed swimming laps in the pool.)
My Story Can Beat Up Your Story! by Jeffrey Alan Schechter

Another time I got another call, this time from a writer in Toronto who wanted to chat with me via Skype. I've since visited Jeffrey in his Beverly Hills home in CA after he moved back there with the industry that tried to give Los Angeles another chance after living in Toronto for years. Jeffrey is one of the most versatile and active writers in the industry. He refuses to be cornered by genre or media. He's written features, television, webisodes, corporate, and even has a story structure computer program for sale that will help you write your story. While I'm not sure of this, I think he has written for just about every major studio and network. Oh yeah, and he has a sideline.... designing and writing interactive iPod applications for books in the public domain. At any one time he has several projects going. If there are any writers out there not working in L.A. you really need to shaodw Mr. Schechter for a while. (BTW: Jeffrey has a VERY nice home in Beverly Hills that is 4 times larger than the lot it is on. Trust me on that one.) This book is a little like Blake Snyder's SAVE THE CAT, inso much as it's a rich collection of writing ideas that every writer can use. He covers everything from structure, to theme, to hero, to conflict.... the whole ball of taffy that we all get stuck in. There's writer's block, and then there's jaw block. Jeffrey does a good job of getting us unstuck. AND it's wonderfully entertaining. The chapter titles are worth the price of the book: "My Hero's a Winner, Your Hero's a Wiener!"; "My hero fights, your hero bites!;" "I can pitch, you throw like a girl." Enjoy. Oh yeah, we have the same publisher. Wiese is everywhere.
The Hollywood Standard: The Complete and Authoritative Guide to Script Format and Style by Christopher Riley
The link at left is to the first edition. But on the page it takes you to is a link to the second edition, which you need to get... or the latest edition available since I don't intend to update this list that often. The title says it all. Get it, follow it as close as you can, if you expect readers to get past page 1 before they toss in in the drink. I've used lots of different books over the years, but this is the best, and the latest. Chris now teaches part time at John Paul the Great University in San Diego, in the program that I helped shape by writing an early draft of the film curriculum. He and his wife continue to develop screenplays in L.A. where they live and work in the industry as writers.
Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting by William Goldman
This is also in Biographies. It is one of the best and most entertaining books about being an A-list screenwriter in Hollywood. If you're thinking about being a writer in the movie industry this is required reading. It's fun and will give you an idea of what you're in for, even if you're at the top of your game. My copy is tabbed where he talks about how screenplays need to be structured. The yellow tab at the left marks his famous quote on page 39 "NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING." Also see his hillarious "WHAT LIE DID I TELL." Hollywood is clearly an entertaining place. But you have to have a sense of humor.
Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy
I met Randy at a writer's conference. We both sat in on each other's presentations and we exchanged inscribed copies of our books. Suffice it to say there is a mother load of wonderful material in this volumne with plenty of references to other books and documents and websites. Especially good for the beginning writer or a seasoned writer (like me) considering writing a novel for the first time. Randy sticks with terms and concepts familiar with novelists and only ocassionaly crosses over to the movie side, but gives you a glimpse at their structural similarity. A great overview with a fair mount of depth to get you going.
Scene & Structure by Jack M. Bickham
I have over two dozen books that deal with the "how to" of writing prose and fiction (aside from screenwriting), and this is one of my favorites. Bickham totally explains the in's and out's of the scene-sequel mystery that many other writers gloss over. He also does it efficiently with very little extraneous detail. He also has several appendixes where there are detailed examples with a compelte competary explaining the process line by line. His last main chapter on Master Plotting is what I cover in my workshops and book on story beats, but Bickham does it from the novelist's standpoint which is a good mix. Highlighly recommended.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
PRODUCING
THE FILMMAKER'S HANDBOOK: A Comprehensive Guide for The Digital Age by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus.

This is a textbook used for some university Introduction to Production classes. Covers basics of FILM and VIDEO, including some digital formats current with 1999. There may be a later edition, as well.
Dealmaking in the Film & Television Industry: From Negotiations to Final Contracts, Third Edition by Mark Litwak

This volumne like others covers important aspects of producing and financing. It was designed to help non-lawyers understand the deep layer of legal issues that surround movie making. It does not replace a lawyer for big projects, but can go a long way to eliminating legal expenses on very small projects. Without tight contracts and agreements with the many people that touch your project, you may be surprised to discover that you don't own much of it at all, unless you negotiate in writing and get things signed. This is a smart thing to do, especially with friends and always with relatives. I have read my first edition several times and continually refer back to it. It is the instruction manual for Litwak's Contacts for Film and Television, which is available as a book, but you're better off buying the software M.S. Word version, which I bought years ago and continue to use.
The Movie Business Book, Third Edition. Edited by James E. Squire

This book belongs in just about every category of this list. It contains in-depth interviews with 39 different authors who are all at the top of their game in the movie business, including David Puttnam (The Producer), Sydney Pollack (The Director), Mel Brooks (My Movies: The Collision of Art and Money), William Goldman (The Screenwriter). By email I've gotten to know Robert Aft who wrote the chapter on The Global Markets. And, no, I haen't read it all. It's 552 pages with a big topic index, and good table of contents. Of coruse by the time I get thorugh it, the industry will have changed... again.
HELLO, HE LIED: & Other Truths From the Hollywood Trenches by Lynda Obst.

Lynda is one fine producer having attained "A List" status with very few pictures. From beginning to end imagine this list of hits: FLASHDANCE, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, HEARTBREAK HOTEL, THE FISHER KIND, THIS IS MY LIFE, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, BAD GIRLS, ONE FINE DAY, CONTACT, HOPE FLOATS, and on a few more. Every movie, a recognizable name and great entertainment. Yes, the directors (you can look them up), and the writers have a lot to do with her success. But guess what? She was the person that pulled together all that other talent. This book I'll list also under biographies, which it is. But the book is about producing and what a great read. It's one of my favorites. Hey, Lynda, if you still hangout in the Sleepless house in Fredricksburg, TX that's the hometown of my first child's namesake. I've been there. Lovely place.
Produced by Faith: Enjoy Real Success without Losing Your True Self by DeVon Franklin.

More a book about finding your career path, it contains a lot about producing from a Studio Executive's prerpsective. A classic book that fulfills five practical and inspirational purposes: (1) It's an autographic study of Devon's rise within the Hollywood Studio system (always interesting, especially for a outspoken Christian); (2) It uses the difficulty of development and production of a movie as a metaphor for pursuing one's life goals and career; (3) It integrates time-tested advice for knowing God's (practical) will for an individual life; (4) It describes the path that a story idea must follow to get made and be successful at the motion picture box office; and (5) It admirably demonstrates with many examples how to be a witness for Christ in the midst of a world that seems anti-Christian. Not sure he set out to do all that, but that's what it does, admirably.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
DIRECTING
DIRECTING ACTORS: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television by Judith Weston

Wow, what a great read. I just finished reading this 300+ page description of what directing is all about. I feel like a novice, although I've directed SAG actors on camera in hundreds of situations, although never a feature film. I'm reading similar books, but this has carved out a place in my heart. It explains in detail the differences between "result" vs "objective" oriented directing, and how the latter is really the only acceptable option. I am about ready to begin the third draft of a script that's been in development for nearly 3 years, and what I've learned about directing actors from Judith will be extensively incorporated my writing. Visit her website, she teaches actors and directors how to work together. I plan to attend before we shoot the movie I'm working on. But one of the pre-requisites is to read one of her books. Hey, Judith, I'm ready.
Film Directing Fundamentals, Third Edition: See Your Film Before Shooting by Nicholas T. Proferes

I've used this text to teach from. Excellent description of the directing process with several capstone exercises including a scene from NOTORIOUS and a short script called APPLE PIE. Covers grammar, language and terms, analyizing dramatic elements, organizing action, staging, camera placement and lengs selection, and much more all the through post-production. Great visuals, charts, illustrations and plots.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
ACTING
The Great Acting Teachers and Their Methods by Richard Brestoff.

I am only part way through this fascinating journey of history and technique, but it has already found its way to this list. Using an enchanting treatment takes the reader on a literal journey thorugh time, Brestoff visits the great acting teachers in their domicles, studios, classrooms, and back stage. We sit in on classes, private auditions and lectures, demonstrations, and the drama of the teachers' lives themselves. He visits Thespis, Quintilian, Delsarte, Stanislavski, Vakhtangov, Lee Strasberg, Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Viola Spolin, Bertold Brecht, Jerzy Grotowski, Tadashi Suzuki and others. There is also a good index, footnotes, and an extensive listing of acting schools and descriptios of the same. There are also a few helpful diagrams. this is an amazing book for the aspiring actor or director and packs a punch in only 200 pages. I frankly can't put it down. I notice that there is also a Volume 2 for more recent teachers and their techniques.
The Camera Smart Actor (A Career Resource Book) by Richard Brestoff.

Explains just about everything a new film actor will want to know about the crazy business of making films, especially the unique and expensive mechanics of what occurs on a set. A majority of the book is a script about "Newcomer" who is new to the motion picture set. And through his first day on the job, where he has but 4 lines, we learn a great deal about the various positions on the crew, and how the actor interacts with each one of them. One of the nice things about the book is how the many figures of speech used on the set came about and what they now mean. I've been on a set many times and I've never heard about "Abby Singer" or "The Next Shot's in the Glass" or a few others. Brestoff also ties in the importance of playing objectives and not results. This is a book that is easy to read (there's a lot of white space on a script). I'll recommend it to any actor I hire that hasn't been on a set before.
Actions: The Actors' Thesaurus by Marina Caldarone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams

A vital companion for actors in rehearsal—a thesaurus of action words to revitalize performance. Actors need actions. Actors cannot ‘act’ adjectives, they need verbs. Verbs are an aim to achieve, an action to perform. ‘Actions’ are active verbs. ‘I tempt you.’ ‘You taunt me.’ In order to perform an action truthfully--and therefore convincingly-- an actor needs to find exactly the right action to suit that particular situation and that particular line. That is where this book comes in. It gathers together the (formerly) dogged-eared photocopied lists of action verbs from greenrooms and rehearsal rooms and put them together in this pocket-sized thesaurus. All with a view to helping actors get to the heart of meaning and to a great performance. This is also a valuable aid for directors when giving actors directions. This is the opposite of "results" oriented acting and directing.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
CRAFTING & CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Five C's of Cinematography: Motion Picture Filming Techniques

I probably should have a section on Cinematography, but I don't. It's definately a craft. Mascelli perfectly explains and illustrates with many photographs of behind the scenes set-ups, the rules of narrative filmmaking and communicate clearly to audiences. I can't recommend this book enough to beginning and intermediate film students. A large format test, it is divided into these chapters: Camera Angles, Continuity, Cutting, Close-Ups, and Coomposition. There is also a decent topic index.
American Cinematographer Manual 9th Ed. Vol. II

I have had several of these handbooks over the years, the latest being the Ninth Edition (one volume) black hard bound, 887 pages with nearly 40 of those pages the alphabetical index. It even comes with a sewn-in red ribbon like a Bible. This, of course, is the bible for cinematographers -- more so if you're shooting film. It is a highly technical handbook about most things cinematographers have to be concerned with. But it is helpful to any filmmaker or director as a reference to terms, equipment, formats, film stock, camera equipment, and how to thread the camera, to lens formulas for the circle of confusion. Heavy stuff, and the book is heavy, too.
Master Shots: 100 Advanced Camera Techniques to Get an Expensive Look on Your Low-Budget Movie by Christopher Kenworthy

Appropriately this is formatted horizontally like a movie screen. For the Director, DP and Camera Operator for how to frame a plethora of shots with isometric camera positions, to story boards, to shots from actual films. Kenworthy also explains why the shot is constructed, and why the camera moves the way the shot requires. The last time I prepped for a movie, I poured over this edition for ideas and inspiration. There's plenty here. This volume would be especially useful to the new filmmakers wanting to make his film look professional. But be aware, just using one of these ideas will not make your film better if it takes the place of good story plotting and pacing. I watched a movie last night by an experienced independent filmmaker and there were many shots that were used just because it was unique, yet the camera placement et contributed nothing to the story telling. Thus, it was continuously distracting like an adolescent on a video switcher than has to use a different wipe for each transition. This book is very valuable, but learn how to use it.
Set Lighting Technician's Handbook, Fourth Edition: Film Lighting Equipment, Practice, and Electrical Distribution by Harry Box

I have the third edition. On small sets I have done my fair share of gaffing (and gripping). But this book knocks my socks off with a 1200-volt jolt. Extremely thorough, it is the gaffer's equivalent to the American Cinematographer Manual (above). The new edition is over 600 pages of data, charts, graphs, and instructions about what to do and what not to do. Speaking of what not to do — just flipping through this tome is enough to make sure, if you're the producer, that your gaffer is licensed, educated, well-experienced... and has a copy of this book at hand.
Animation Unleashed: 100 Principles Every Animator, Comic Book Writers, Filmmakers, Video Artist, and Game Developer Should Know by Ellen Besen

I met Ellen at a conference and we exchanged books. So, I have an autographed first edition, as she has of mine. This is another of Michael Wiese Books's wonderful horizontal editions. Ellen begins by knocking into our noggins a philosophy of communications like. "We Cant Use What We Don't Understand." She then begins to explain the principles of annimation. Actually the whole book is about principles and how to use them to effectively communicate your story. Chapter 1: ANALOGY AS FOUNDATION "Analogy cretes the beginning point for story logic." In The Moral Premise I talk about metaphor. Same thing, sort of. Except with annimation there are no visual limits, as there is with live action. She details technique, especially of movement, exageration, sound effects, much more and all with many B&W illustratons. Excellent resoruce for any filmmaker. I'm going to re-read the section on incorporating fanatsy.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
EDITING
Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video by Gael Chandler

The Amazon reviews of this book by qualified editors are impressive. Here's a sampling, beginning with my own (!): "A comprehensive, updated, description of how to post, edit and finish a film including both creative and mechanical processes. Clearly written, many tables, charts, and illustrations. Covers film, digital, and web preparaton workflows. Fabulous book. High recommenation. But this leans on the technical and workflow side, not the creative. A wonderful review of the ENTIRE process. Necessary text for all film students." (SDW) "My Academy Award winning editor/boss told me to get this book...It covers everything you want to know about editing but were afraid to ask. It talks about the process and why editor's cut...and how to get a job." (C. Jackson) "Finally we have a comprehensive text on the subject for every student of editing, written in an understandable manner without sacrificing content. It is what God and DeMille intended." (Jack Tucker, A.C.E.)
In the Blink of an Eye Revised 2nd Edition by Walter Murch

Murch is one of the great editors of our time with many U.S. and British awards. This book is based on a lecture he gave about the philosophy of editing and post production. For that it is valuable. He stays away from technical issues and answers a great many "Why" questions, such as "Why do cuts work?" Thinking about that question, there's no reason they shold. But Murch, who edits standing up, knows why and he'll tell you. It's short and an easy read.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
FINANCING
Filmmakers and Financing, Sixth Edition: Business Plans for Independents (6th Edition) by Louise Levison

The focus of this book is researching and writing the business plan for an independent movie. It's the easiest and most concise book on the subject I've read. I worked with the 2nd edition for a business plan I wrote back a few years, this book is 100+ pages longer, with a good index. There is terrific, concise advise and examples without being too long in the tooth. I will probably get this later edition as I approach my next business plan. I think this book is a must have for any effort beyond asking your uncle for his retirement savings.
Film Finance & Distribution: A Dictionary of Terms by John W. Cones

A must have for every serious filmmaker. Over 500 pages, this is a cross between a dictionary and an encyclopedia. It is heavily cross referenced and defines, explains every term you're ever likely to hear or need to know what it means. What's the difference, for instance, between a "negative pick-up deal" and "acquisition agreement". Up front there's a helpful chart that lists the eight (8) steps a producer must force the project through. Under each step there are 15-40 tasks: 1 Acquisition; 2 Development; 3. Packaging; 4. Production Financing; 5. Pre-Production; 6. Principal Photograhpy; 7. Post-Production; 8. Delivery. A glance at this page explains why a well-done motion picture sucks six years out of a person's life in less than three. To be in the film busienss you must be resourceful beyond everyone else you know, be persistent if not arrogant beyond reason, haveexcellent health even under great emotional stress, and so focused your eyes burn holes through 120 page scripts inside of 60 seconds.
43 Ways to Finance Your Feature Film: A Comprehensive Analysis of Film Finance by John W. Cones

when you finance your film you'll use only 1 or 3 of the ideas in this book. But Cones lays them all out so you can understand why you're making the choice you do. "Cones breaks financing options down into six main areas: gifts and grants, investor financing, domestic government subsidies and tax incentive programs, lender financing, international finance options, and studio or industry financing. ...Although the book focuses on financing feature films, much of its information is relevant to the financing of other kinds of projects, such as short films, documentaries, videos, and multimedia and theatrical endeavors. Anyone considering making or investing in a feature film will be well served by this practical and helpful guide." (Amazon Editoral Review)
Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices: Second Revised Edition by Rick Schmidt

I got this book for the abbreviated, micro-budget agreement templates in the back. But for anyone that has never made a film before, or anyone that has next to no money, this is a very valuable resoruce. Not only does Rick explain a great deal about the producing and finaincg, but there are anecodaol snippets throughout which describe the harrd work and utter committment that goes into making a film. There are also valuable checklists. Of course you'll have to create your own for your own create gear and story, but Rick will get you started in the right direction. The book is dated as will be any writing tha attempts to explain technology. If you're working with film and know noting about what to do, this will introduce you to the process. Consider this the budget version of THE FILMMAKER'S HANDBOOK listed under CRAFTING.
Hollywood Distribution Directory, 19 Edition

See listing under DISTRIBUTION. It's listed here becasue it has contact information for financing companies, which the best I can figure out ARE the distribution companies. What I mean by that is this: Any film financing bank (like Comerica) will talk to you if you have a distribution agreement.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
DISTRIBUTING
The Insider's Guide to Independent Distribution Stacey Parks

This is a good place to begin when you're new to film distribution. Check out Stacey's subscription service at http://www.FilmSpecific.com. But the book is mostly for micro-low budget features that cost less than $250,000 to produce. She does give a lot of insight about films that cost more, say up to $2,000,000. After that check out the distributon chatpers in THE MOVIE BUSINESS BOOK, below. Stacey's book is a great book becasue he gives a lot of good, creative marketing and distirbution ideas that can apply to any budget level. It's also an easy read.
Hollywood Distribution Directory, 19 Edition

Not cheap but invaluable if you're trying to find distribution for your film. These are the people to contact. Well, not all of them. But this annual supplement to the Hollywood Creative Directories is an uptodate (or as uptodate as any publication can be) of domestic and international distributors, including broadcast and cable networks, television snydicators, direct to video and DVD distributors, and their financing and publicity partners. Several indexes provide ready access to complete contact information including addresses, phones, emails, names of officers, projects recently handled and brief summaries of the kind of proerties they deal in. Buy one and mark it up over the next few years. The new one each year will still need corrections the day after it goes to press.
Film Finance & Distribution: A Dictionary of Terms by John W. Cones

A must have for every serious filmmaker. Over 500 pages, this is a cross between a dictionary and an encyclopedia. It is heavily cross referenced and defines, explains every term you're ever likely to hear or need to know what it means. What's the difference, for instance, between a "negative pick-up deal" and "acquisition agreement". Up front there's a helpful chart that lists the eight (8) steps a producer must force the project through. Under each step there are 15-40 tasks: 1 Acquisition; 2 Development; 3. Packaging; 4. Production Financing; 5. Pre-Production; 6. Principal Photograhpy; 7. Post-Production; 8. Delivery. A glance at this page explains why a well-done motion picture sucks six years out of a person's life in less than three. To be in the film busienss you must be resourceful beyond everyone else you know, be persistent if not arrogant beyond reason, haveexcellent health even under great emotional stress, and so focused your eyes burn holes through 120 page scripts inside of 60 seconds.
Imagining | Writing | Producing | Directing | Acting | Crafting | Editing | Financing | Distributing | Biographies
BIOGRAPHIES
Produced by Faith: Enjoy Real Success without Losing Your True Self by DeVon Franklin.

A classic book that fulfills five practical and inspirational purposes: (1) It's an autographic study of Devon's rise within the Hollywood Studio system (always interesting, especially for a outspoken Christian); (2) It uses the difficulty of development and production of a movie as a metaphor for pursuing one's life goals and career; (3) It integrates time-tested advice for knowing God's (practical) will for an individual life; (4) It describes the path that a story idea must follow to get made and be successful at the motion picture box office; and (5) It admirably demonstrates with many examples how to be a witness for Christ in the midst of a world that seems anti-Christian. Not sure he set out to do all that, but that's what it does, admirably.
HELLO, HE LIED: & Other Truths From the Hollywood Trenches by Lynda Obst.

Lynda is one fine producer having attained "A List" status with very few pictures. From beginning to end imagine this list of hits: FLASHDANCE, ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING, HEARTBREAK HOTEL, THE FISHER KIND, THIS IS MY LIFE, SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE, BAD GIRLS, ONE FINE DAY, CONTACT, HOPE FLOATS, and on a few more. Every movie, a recognizable name and great entertainment. Yes, the directors (you can look them up), and the writers have a lot to do with her success. But guess what? She was the person that pulled together all that other talent. This book I'll list also under biographies, which it is. But the book is about producing and what a great read. It's one of my favorites. Hey, Lynda, if you still hangout in the Sleepless house in Fredricksburg, TX that's the hometown of my first child's namesake. I've been there. Lovely place.
Adventures in the Screen Trade: A Personal View of Hollywood and Screenwriting by William Goldman
This is also in Biographies. It is one of the best and most entertaining books about being an A-list screenwriter in Hollywood. If you're thinking about being a writer in the movie industry this is required reading. It's fun and will give you an idea of what you're in for, even if you're at the top of your game. My copy is tabbed where he talks about how screenplays need to be structured. The yellow tab at the left marks his famous quote on page 39 "NOBODY KNOWS ANYTHING." Also see his hillarious "WHAT LIE DID I TELL." Hollywood is clearly an entertaining place. But you have to have a sense of humor.
When The Shooting Stops ... The Cutting Begins: A Film Editor's Story by Ralph Rosenblum and Robert Karen
The story of one of the most important and least-understood jobs in moviemaking—film editing—is here told by one of the wizards, Ralph Rosenblum, whose credentials include six Woody Allen films, as well as The Pawnbroker, The Producers, and Goodbye, Columbus. Rosenblum and journalist Robert Karen have written both a history of the profession and a personal account, a highly entertaining, instructive, and revelatory book that will make any reader a more aware movie-viewer. Tells the inside story of how Academy Award winning films like Annie Hall actually got made.
Final Cut: Dreams & Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate [Hardcover] by Steven Bach
An inside view of Hollywood and the making of "Heaven's Gate", one of the most financially disastrous films of all time. The book attempts to analyze what went wrong, and how a movie budgeted for $7.5 million actually cost $36 million. This is a great read that will tell you a lot about the way the studios work and don't work.

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