From my own experience of filmmaking and working on getting a feature made I went on a reading binge. Here are some books that were key to my learning. I highly recommend them to all would-be filmmakers and seasoned pro’s alike.
This was one of the first books I read and I presume it is owned by all filmmakers. I used this literally as my bible whilst making our first short films, it covers all aspects of the filmmaking process, concept, through to post production, and even the important sales and distribution. What I liked most about this book is that its filled with case studies from members of industry which adds a really useful insight into how they went about doing things, what mistakes they made etc. If you only ever wanted one book on filmmaking then this would be it.
Ah, now this is exactly as it says on the tin. How to Fund your film. It is primarily focussed on feature films but there are useful sections of funding bodies who provide grants for short films too. This will brief you on the industry, studio funded films and how they make money, to the more indie and micro budget root. I’m finding this book more useful to me now than when I first began in the business. It’s incredibly informative yet easy to read, it will discuss things like how best to make a pitch, letters of intent for key talent, business plans, applying to funding bodies you name it. If you’re making a film and you need money check this out.
I honestly don’t know why every writer doesn’t own this, many haven’t even heard of it and I confess until a few years ago I was the same. When I read this it was like a revelation, it breaks all known genre’s down into a simple structure and you learn exactly what you need to include and where if you want to make a horror for example, or a road movie, the list goes on. What’s really special about this book is that it uses examples of films we’ve seen to teach us exactly how the filmmakers do it. After reading this book you will definitely be inspired to write and perhaps even try genre’s you hadn’t ever thought about working in.
This useful book taught me the basics of how to set up my shots. I used this when making the promo for our feature, particularly in drawing the storyboards to show to the crew. Again it uses examples from famous films to teach you.