45+ Best Books On Filmmaking For Every Discipline

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.


 
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Scriptwriting

  • 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

  • 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.

Directing

  • 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 However, keep in mind this process of success is outdated, it's very rare now for indie directors to get the opportunities Rodriguez got whilst at Sundance.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.

Cinematography

  • 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.

Production Design

  • 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.

Documentary Some of the best books on documentary filmmaking Shut Up and Shoot By Anthony Artis, Producing with Passion By Dorothy Fadiman, Ferocious Reality By Eric Ames.

Animation Independent Animation By Ben Mitchell. Directing the Story By Francais Glebas. Dream Worlds By Hans Bacher and Don Hahn.  Stop Frame Animation By Barry JC Purves.

Casting For Actors Audition By Michael Shurtleff, For Casting Directors Casting Revealed By Hester Schell.

Art Department Art Direction Handbook By Michael Rizzo. Production Design For Screen By Jane Barnwell. What an Art Director Does By Ward Preston.

Production Team Producer to Producer By Maureen A. Ryan. Production Pipeline By Renee Dunlop.

Locations Manager On Location By Kathy M. McCurdy.

Virtual Reality Virtual Reality Filmmaking By Celine Tricart.

Makeup Department Make-up Artist Handbook By Gretchen David. Guide to Special Effects Makeup By Tokyo SFX Workshop.

Costume Department Best books on filmmaking for the costume department, Film Craft By Deborah Nadoolman Landis. Costume Design 101 By Richard La Motte. Costume Design In Movies By Elizabeth Leese.

Sound Department Producing Great Sound By Jay Rose. Sound Design and Science Fiction By William Wittington. Sound Effects Bible By Ric Viers.

Camera Department The Camera Assistants Manual By David E. Elkins. The Grip Book By Michael Uva.

Lighting Department Blaine Brown Book Series. Film Craft By Mike Goodridge. Film Lighting By Kris Malkiewicz.

Continuity Script Supervision By Pat P. Miller. Beyond Continuity By Cybulski.

Editor Writing For the Cut By Greg Loftin. In the Blink of an Eye By Walter Murch. A Guide for Managing Post-Production Barbara Clark.

Composer Complete Guide to Film Scoring By Richard Davis. Music Supervision By Ramsey Adams, David Hnatiuk and David Weiss. All You Need to Know About the Music Business By Donald S. Passman.

Film Distribution All Marketers are Liars By Seth Godin, Film Festival Secrets By Christopher Holland and Jarod Neece.

Script Reading Reading Scripts By Lucy Scher, Film Critic Hatchet Job By Mark Kermode, Film Theory What Is Cinema By Andre Bazin, Film Theory and Criticism By Leo Braudy.

For Fun Get Reelisms By Christine Chen, Something Like an Autobiography By Akira Kurosawa, Wonder Women: The Art of Making the Film By Sharon Gosling.

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 -