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Filmmaking Books: Our Top Picks

Photograph of the blog post author, Evelyn Sandoval

Evelyn Sandoval

11.9.2020

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In the filmmaking industry, as in life, we can always learn new things. Whether you are an aspiring filmmaker or already a professional filmmaker, books can always level up your skills. To be a good filmmaker you need to learn different skills to understand the project needs and be helpful to your crew. You don’t need to master every role, but it is important to be informed about the different things that the crew does.

film crew on set

Filmmaking books are a great way to learn about the different roles in the filmmaking industry. There are many must-read books for filmmakers but we’ve whittled it down to the best books for filmmakers. 

What Are Filmmaking Books?

Filmmaking books are any books with information or tips on filmmaking! There are loads of aspects of filming, therefore there are tons of books! There are filmmaking books for beginners and there are specialized books, both kinds of books are very helpful for every stage of your film career. Many people are trying to decide which career to choose. Maybe you want to study and wonder if you should go to film school or if self-education is enough to enter the film industry.  

film camera

Many of the best film directors, film producers and film writers start on their own. Many of them start independently and need to learn how to do their projects on their own. This is why you need many skills. Let’s say you are a film writer and you finish writing your screenplay, the next step is to find a producer or investor interested in making your movie. Since that can take a lot of time, maybe it’s better that you learn some skills with these filmmaking books and start that film on your own. In both cases, as an aspiring filmmaker or as an independent these books recommendations are going to help a lot. 

Best Filmmaking Books For Beginners

Let’s start with some of the best filmmaking books for beginners in the film industry. Here are the top three for you: 

The Ultimate Introduction To DSLR Filmmaking By Danny Yann

Ultimate introduction to DSLR filmmaking Danny Yann

When you are starting out in film, it’s hard to acquire a film video camera or the most expensive gear. These days, we have the great opportunities of DSLR and now also SLR cameras that offer great image quality and video, so no need to worry about expensive gear. 

Start with this book to get the most of your camera and use it as a professional filmmaker. In this book on DSLR filmmaking, you will learn about the basics of DSLR videography and acquire the techniques to shoot better video on your camera. With this filmmaking book, you’ll learn about shot composition, lens choices, lighting for video and some basic correction.

This is a book for beginners in filmmaking who want an easy guide to shoot stunning videos and be able to produce their own short films or portfolio to start in the industry. This really is the best book on DSLR filmmaking.

You can find this book on Amazon or Google books. 

Film Studies By Ed Sikov

film studies filmmaking book

The author of this film book offers an appreciation of several types of narrative in film, detailing the elements that form a film and training the reader to be critical with any kind of film. This filmmaking lecture offers many factors that would help improve your critical vision on film. You will read about editing, composition, lighting, use of colour and sound, and very importantly, about narrative. 

This is a very helpful book to study film theory and the popular culture of cinema. It gives practical advice about technical filmmaking stuff and helps to understand the formal language in the industry.  

This book is easily found on Amazon, it’s a little more expensive than the first but totally worth it. 

Rebel Without A Crew By Robert Rodriguez

rebel without a crew book

A book is written by the Independent director and screenwriter Robert Rodriguez. This is a great inspirational story for all the aspiring filmmakers and independent filmmakers on a tight budget. 

This book is an essential guide for anyone who dreams of becoming a film director. Part of the book is in the form of a diary and part a manual. The acclaimed director unveils how he came to make his first film on only a $7,000 budget. It tells how to save thousands of dollars on film school and teach yourself the ropes of film production, directing and writing. 

As said at the beginning of this article, this is the perfect book for any aspiring filmmaker that has the doubt on whether or not to go to film school.

Best Books For Professional Filmmakers

Now, if you have already started your filmmaking career and want to acquire new skills or improve them here are some other great filmmaking books for you.

Save The Cat For Aspiring Screenwriters By Blake Snyder

save the cat book

Are you interested in a screenwriting job? Then this is the right book for you. Save The Cat is an amazing book that has so many examples of other great films. This book has been a best-seller for many years. It’s used by screenwriters from all over the world because of its simple way to explain how to write for film.

Blake Snyder tells all about the film writing job in a practical, funny way that is very easy to understand. It explains how to make your story a film that can sell, and your script well-formatted and well-written. It explains four elements to write a logline and the seven basic laws of the screenplay. You will find this book very entertaining due to the famous examples of popular films. 

This book is also available on Google Books and Amazon.

A Filmmaking Mindset By Kelly Schwarze 

a filmmaking mindset Kelly Schwarze

This is the perfect book for indie filmmakers. If you are dealing with the rejection of big production companies or struggling to make your way onto the Hollywood path (or any that represents success in your country) then you have to read this film book and change that mindset. 

There is a lot that a producer or screenwriter can do to skip all the dealing with big studios or having to change all your ideas to fit in the specs for others. This filmmaking book is perfect to develop your independent film career and scale-up until you film your movie and take it to the big screen. It also has great information and tips on how to finance movies for independent filmmakers. 

Directing: Film Techniques & Aesthetics By Michael Rabinger and Mick Hurbis-Cherrier

Directing: Film Techniques & Aesthetics By Michael Rabinger and Mick Hurbis-Cherrier

If you have been in the film industry for a while but now you want to take the director’s chair then this is a must-read filmmaking book on the art of directing. Filled with real film industry advice, this book covers all the stages on how to make a film, from the pre-production stage up to the days of production. It includes examples of popular films and explains how to produce well-constructed films. 

It covers the techniques and methods that a film director must use through the process of making a film. This filmmaking book has practical notes and activities for better comprehension of the book content. All of these filmmaking and screenwriting books can be found on Amazon on the digital version for Kindle. Most of them can also be bought in the physical version.

Now It’s Time To Get Your Film Done

filmmaking books

Now that you have all these filmmaking books recommendations, it’s time to start improving those skills! Be sure to take the best notes from these filmmaking books and practice all the knowledge you get from them. 

As Robert Rodriguez says in his book, ‘Rebel Without A Crew’: 

¨If you are someone who is already

creative, and then you become technical, then you are unstoppable.¨  

Robert Rodriguez. 

Gather your best crew and start producing your story. Remember as we said at the beginning of this article about the DSLR Filmmaking, there’s no need for expensive gear or a giant budget. 


If you are interested in the crossover between music and film, check out our article on music supervisors. With our concierge and service and extensive music library, allow us to help you find music for your film. Sign up free for Music Gateway now!



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