Our top 10 reads on Filmmaking

“Books train your imagination to think big”

The best way to learn something is to practically do it. But in this quarantine period that we are facing due to the Covid-19 virus, it's better we sit in our couches with a cup of hot chocolate and indulge yourself in a book. So here is a list of top 10 books one must read to learn about filmmaking from the experiences of the masters itself.


~ Curated by Hani Wadhwani & Sushant Sharma


1. Making Movies by Sidney Lumet



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 magic.


2. Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez



Only someone very young would attempt to make a feature film with $7,000 dollars and no crew. This is because most people know such an endeavor is impossible. Not only did Robert Rodriguez create ‘El Mariachi’ under those conditions but at 23 he became a Hollywood success overnight Rebel Without a Crew is the kind of book one would expect from someone who had the courage to break with convention and enough talent for it to pay off almost immediately.


3. Shooting to Kill by Christine Vachon



Complete with behind-the-scenes diary entries from the set of Vachon's best-known films, Shooting to Kill offers all the satisfaction of an intimate memoir from the frontlines of independent filmmaking, from one of its most successful agent provocateurs -- and survivors.


4. Hitchcock by Truffaut



Hitchcock/Truffaut is a 1966 book by François Truffaut about Alfred Hitchcock, originally released in French as Le Cinéma selon it is based on a 1962 exchange between Hitchcock and Truffaut, in which the two directors spent a week in a room at Universal Studios talking about movies. After Hitchcock's death, Truffaut updated the book with a new preface and final chapter on Hitchcock's later films.


5. Kazan on Directing by Elia Kazan



About Kazan on Directing This remarkable book, drawn from his notebooks, letters, interviews, and autobiography, reveals Kazan's method: how he uncovered the “spine,” or core, of each script; how he analyzed each piece in terms of his own experience; and how he determined the specifics of his production.


6. Master Shots Vol 1, 2, 3 by Christopher Kenworthy



Master Shots gives you so many powerful techniques that you'll be able to respond, even under pressure, and create knock-out shots. Even when the clock is ticking and the light is fading, the techniques in this book can rescue your film, and make every shot look like it cost a fortune.


7. In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch



In the Blink of an Eye is editor Walter Murch's essay of film editing. Starting with what might seem to be the most basic editing question - Why do cuts work? - he treats the reader to a marvelous "ride" through the esthetics and practical concerns of cutting film. Along the way, he offers his insights on such subjects as continuity and discontinuity in editing, dreaming, and real life; the criteria of a good cut; and the blink of the eye as both an analog to and an emotional cue for the cut. New to this second edition is Murch's lengthy meditation on the current state of digital editing.


8. On Directing Film by David Mamet



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, Mamet argues, are composed of simple shots. The great filmmaker understands that the burden of cinematic storytelling lies less in the individual shot than in the collective meaning that shots convey when they are edited together. Mamet borrows many of his ideas about directing, writing, and acting from Russian masters such as Konstantin Stanislavsky, Sergei M. Eisenstein, and Vsevelod Pudovkin, but he presents his material in so delightful and lively a fashion that he revitalizes it for the contemporary reader.


9. Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman



Adventures in the Screen Trade is a book about Hollywood written in 1983 by American novelist and screenwriter William Goldman. The title is a pun on Dylan Thomas's Adventures in the Skin Trade.


10. Film Lighting: Talks with Hollywood's Cinematographers and Gaffers by Kris Malkiewicz



Film lighting is a living, dynamic art influenced by new technologies and the changing styles of leading cinematographers. A combination of state-of-the-art technology and in-depth interviews with industry experts, Film Lighting provides an inside look at how cinematographers and film directors establish the visual concept of the film and use the lighting to create a certain atmosphere.


We hope that this will help you to combat this quarantine period in a fun and learning way. Feel free to discuss anything about these books in the comment section.

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