This article is a complete list of the best books on filmmaking. I personally own many of these books below. Otherwise, I have included the highest rated books for specific industry disciplines.
We are lucky these days to have the internet with an abundance of video tutorials. However, it is always handy to have a professionally written book for reference.
During my first film crew jobs, I frequently relied on Pat P. Millers book Script Supervision & Film Continuity. Despite the book being written in the 80s, the content was still relevant, and it was a great go-to guide.
Listed below are the top books filmmakers should read.
This blog post is supported by Get Reelisms 100 things to know and say if you want to be a cool and smart filmmaker. The book contains information on film set terminology, etiquette and on set know-how, a perfect gift for an aspiring filmmaker.
Save The Cat By Blake Snyder.
The most famous book on screenwriting, this teaches you a storytelling formula and is especially for those who are writing Hollywood studio screenplays.
Story Robert Mckee.
A highly regarded screenwriting book which focuses on narrative structure, with reference to both Hollywood and world cinema.
On Writing By Stephen King.
A writing memoir by Stephen King, not a scriptwriting book but good for motivation and inspiration if your goal is to write on a full-time basis.
Producing By Geoffroy Macnab and Sharon Swart.
Film Craft is a well-made book series which covers many film job roles. They breakdown each job role in detail using interviews and film examples.
Filmmakers Handbook By Steven Ascher.
The so-called filmmaker's bible, this new edition has been updated for the digital age. Very much a script to screen guide how to make a film.
Producer to Producer By Maureen A. Ryan.
An honest business guide for producers on how to get the job done. Perfect if you're serious about becoming a professional producer and want to know what to expect.
Rebel Without a Crew By Robert Rodriguez.
One of the best books for directors, perfect for career inspiration. However, keep in mind this process of success is outdated, it's very rare now for indie directors to get the opportunities Rodriguez got whilst at Sundance.
On Directing Film By David Mamet.
A well-reviewed book on directing looks specifically at how to do the job from pre-production to distribution.
Hitchcock By Francois Truffaut.
A transcription of conversations between Hitchcock and Truffaut, on filmmaking career, techniques, tips and the art of cinema.
If It's Purple By Patti Bellantoni.
One of the best cinematography books which explores colour theory in film. How the use of colour creates emotion and helps tell the story, great for all visual job roles.
Theory and Practice By Blaine Brown.
A full breakdown of what is required on set by the director of photography. Blaine has written several books about camera and lighting techniques for filmmakers.
Mastershots By Christopher Kenworthy.
A breakdown of techniques that filmmakers can use to tell a story with camera angles and movement. This book series is particularly helpful as it provides lots of pictures and diagrams to learn from.
Film Craft By Fionnuala Halligan.
The film craft book series cover many disciplines, one of which is the production design. Unlike many art department books, this one has plenty of photographs to help you understand the context.
If It's Purple By Patti Bellantoni.
Colour theory is not just for cinematography, production designers need to fully grasp how they can use colour in their work. My personal favourite book for filmmakers.
Guide To Production Design By Vincent LoBrutto.
If you after a more comprehensive breakdown of the job role, this book is for those serious about pursuing a career in the art department. Includes interviews with top production designers.
Of course, as well as the above-the-line job roles, there are many other disciplines. Below is a list of best books on filmmaking, specifically for other industry sectors.
Locations Manager On Location By Kathy M. McCurdy.
Virtual Reality Virtual Reality Filmmaking By Celine Tricart.
These are likely the best books on filmmaking, both read, recommended by myself and others via reviews online.
Are there any other filmmaking books that you would recommend? Lets everyone know in the comments below -