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The Best Book(s) on Film Art/Movies (Merged) 
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Post The Best Book(s) on Film Art/Movies (Merged)
Since there are many of us on the forum who are or have in the past enrolled in some academic film courses, or just read for fun. My question here is, what books have you found to be most effective and good reads in general for those interested in learning more about film - both intro and advanced?

We're talking about production, form, narrative, style, cinematography, editing, sound, genres, history, etc.


Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:53 pm
Post Re: The Best Book(s) on Film Art
'Screenplay' by Syd Field, which has helped me shepherd an 80% completed screenplay along. He is very practical and occasionally obvious as a consequence, but has also developed illuminating methods which can focus the writing to a more professional and effective level.


Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:00 pm
Post Re: The Best Book(s) on Film Art
I haven't studied film, but "Understanding Movies" by Louis Gianetti was a very informative read about the various aspects of filmmaking. The best book on film I have read is the interview(s) of Alfred Hitchcock by Francois Truffaut, which, of course, is only concernd with Hitchock's films.

The worst I've read is "story" by McKee. I wouldn't recommend it.


Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:11 am
Post Re: The Best Book(s) on Film Art
Right now I'm reading Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood.
It's a fascinating look at the late 1960's, esp. the 5 best-picture nominees from 1967 and how Hollywood was changing then. Definitely a page-turner.

My all-time favorite is probably Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson


Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:49 pm
Post FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT MOVIES (GENERAL)
Boffo!/The Gross - Peter Bart
If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor - Bruce Campbell
I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie - Roger Ebert
The Kid Stays in the Picture - Robert Evans
Danse Macabre - Stephen King
Get Shorty - Elmore Leonard
Making Movies - Sidney Lumet
Bad Movies We Love - Edward Margulies
A Year at the Movies - Kevin Murphy
Mike Nelson's Movie Megacheese
Fiasco - James Robert Parish
Blockbuster - Tom Shone
The Official Razzie Movie Guide - John Wilson

Any other suggestions?


Wed Mar 18, 2009 4:36 pm
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Post Re: The Best Book(s) on Film Art/Movies (Merged)
Production:

I can recommend several in that area. I'll start with a few by professionals.

Rebel Without A Crew by Robert Rodriguez Read this if you're looking to direct a feature film on a low budget. Rodriguez explains very well how to do it cheaply and efficiently.

Making Movies by Sidney Lumet Lumet offers quite a bit of practical advice mixed in with the stories from his own filmmaking experience. Less an instruction manual than a memoir. But it's also extremely inspiring.

Digital Filmmaking by Mike Figgis Very good advice here. Now if only Michael Mann would also write a book about it, we'd have a fantastic one-two punch.

By non-professionals:

Two particular ones stand out. From Reel To Deal by Dov S-S Simens and Independent Feature Film Production: A Complete Guide from Concept Through Distribution by Gregory Goodell. Noth have lots of fantastic advice, both are to the point. and they don't sugarcoat how difficult it can be. Make Your Own Damn Movie by Lloyd Kauffman has some good advice. But gets too bogged down in dick and poop jokes.

For editing I highly recommend In The Blink Of An Eye by Walter Murch. Murch is an experienced editor who has worked with Francis Ford Coppola among other directors.

Others:

Easy Riders Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind. I may not agree with his overall belief that once the 70s were over everything was downhill and I highly advise taking some of the tabloid style points in here with a shaker of salt. But this is an entertaining and in some ways inspiring book.

Cinema Of Outsiders by Emmanuel Levy and The Sundance Kids by James Mottram I group these two together because they are the best 2 books I've read on independent film. Levy's book is more comprehensive. But Mottram has an upbeat view of things that doesn't sugarcoat certain hard realities. I highly recommend both of these instead of Biskind's Down and Dirty Pictures which came off like an attempt to do a 90s independent/Sundance version of Easy Riders Raging Bulls.

The Playboy Interviews: The Directors Sixteen directors are interviewed. The interviews range from one with Federico Fellini in 1964 to one with Quentin Tarantino as he was about to release Kill Bill Vol 1. The interviews stretch beyond discussing films and filmmaking to include talks about life and philosophy. For instance, the Stanley Kubrick interview does not discuss filmmaking at all. Instead, Kubrick leads the interviewer in a dicussion of the meaning of God, existence and pacifism. The first Oliver Stone interview (him and Clint Eastwood get 2 interviews) has him talking about his experiences as a soldier in Vietnam, which as we know fuelled Platoon. I highly recommend this book despite the Playboy connection. No, no interviews with porno directors included.

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