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Edited on 02/22/2008. Posted on 02/22/2008.

Film Books

We read a lot of great books in film school--including some that aren't famous but are really worth reading.

My favorite film book ever is Walter Murch's In The Blink of An Eye. Murch edited picture and sound for Apocalypse Now and worked on a gabillion other great movies. He's also lightning smart and has spend a lot of time thinking about film. Blink is about editing, but is a fascinating read for anyone.

Robert Sklar's Movie Made America is a really great history of film. It reads like a novel. It was probably the only book assigned for homework that I read all the way through in the first night.

There are a bunch of great film books, but does anyone else know about some hidden gems?


on 02/27/2008

The Murch book is indeed great. For a gossipy look at the American filmmakers of the 1970s, you can't go wrong with Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.

It's been so long since I read it that I can't remember exactly why, but I do recall really enjoying Rick Altman's Film/Genre quite a bit, as far as fairly substantial theoretical readings go.

And then there was this book, which I never got, since I was 7 when I ordered it from one of those Scholastic book flyers, and we moved out of the school district before it arrived. Probably for the best on that one, though.


on 03/03/2008

I really really really recommend "Story" by the infamous Robert McKee. I've given this book as gifts to all my writer friends, only to let it sit on their shelves for months, then get picked up and read cover to cover as they kick themselves for not having read it earlier. Not to make blanket claims of its all-encompassing omnipotent power, but I've also found that everybody that's read this book, and doesn't like it, ends up not becoming a writer/filmmaker after all.

I also highly recommend "Final Cut : Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven's Gate, the Film That Sank United Artists" which tells the story, from the perspective of the last United Artists Production VP, of the downfall of United Artists. If you want to get into an executive's head and think like them, you'll get more than you bargained for by reading this, it's a very harrowing read. It also includes some delicious insider info about some Hollywood power players, my favorite being the author's experience with and analysis of Dino De Laurentis.

There is a series of really great (and cheap) filmmaker interviews compiled into books. They often have the filmmaker's face in gigantic ECU black and white on the cover. I think the series is called "Interviews: NAME," though I'm probably wrong. The one on Kubrick is especially valuable as it chronicles interviews from before Spartacus all the way up to Eyes Wide Shut. You end up with an of intimacy with someone trying so genuinely to make quality work, it's heartbreaking by the end how some regrets surface. I was also somewhat surprised how much I didn't like Spielberg after reading his interviews, he gave off an aura of disingenuous sentimental BS.


on 03/04/2008

Honestly, the best book about screenwriting is called STORY by Robert McKee. Many of his students have gone on to make major movies, and he is a superb author. He uses a lot of examples to make his point. He doesn't deal so much in format as he does content; what a writer needs to know, what a writer should/shouldn't do, when these rules can be bent and brokent, etc. I recommend it, as it is definately awesome. It teaches you the terminology of the screenwriting world, and how everything fits together.


on 03/09/2008

Here is another good book, when it comes to writing and marketing your screenplay is "The Complete Book of Scriptwriting" by J. Micheal Strackzynski (producer of Babylon 5). It does includes the complete B5 episode "The Coming of Shadows".

Make sure it is the revised and expanded edition from 1996.


on 02/04/2009

You can't go wrong with Aristotle's poetics


on 04/02/2009

If you are into screenwriting I recommend any of the collected screenplays of William Goldman, any of the Coen Brothers' collected screenplays, and The Chinatown/Last Detail screenplays by Robert Towne.


on 09/12/2009

I know this is dumb (of me for writing to a post that's been last posted to ten or so full moons ago) but I think Scott McKee's STORY and Richard Tobias (or is it Robert Tobias)' 20 Master Plots and How To Build Them are good.

You should also try, for inspiration, the Baghavad GIta (which is now a movie), the Gilgamesh (also a move), or the Holy Bible (don't even get me started on how many movies have been based on this book...).

If you are going in deep, try the Dhammapada (which hasn't been fully made into a movie, tho their still tryin').

Oops. Misspellings.

Have a nice day!


on 01/26/2010

nope none great books


on 01/26/2010



on 03/16/2010

Hi there, I know of a great Norwegian (yes Norwegian) writer named Stieg Larsson. He wrote th "Milennium"series and is quite popular back in Europe (particulairy in Belgium, my home country)

The series are mainly psychological thrillers and have been filmed recently. The picture of the third book: "Justice" is coming out end of March in our theaters.... I have to say they're B-movies, but follows the plot and events of the book accurately...

I'm breaking the series of (mostly) American writers, but hey, who cares, right ?


on 05/04/2011

Rebel Without a Crew

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