The Top Five Educational Books on Filmmaking

Anyone who has the drive and ambition to begin filmmaking needs to start with the basics of the business and work upwards. There are several educational texts about this topic. In fact, there is a virtual sea of good information available. It may be difficult to decide where to start. Here are the top five educational books related to filmmaking to get you started.

1. “American Cinematographer Manual” (editor)

This text is also referred to as the “Filmmaker’s Bible.” It has been in use and highly recommended for beginning filmmakers for many generations. It is a comprehensive compilation of reference for cinema work with constant updates. The tenth AC Manual is the most current edition. It’s development was overseen by the former ASC President Michael Goi. He currently delivers seminars about the latest technology along with cinematic history. Within the pages of this book you’ll find information about the terminology used in today’s digital technology; digital camera preparation; the use of ACES (Academy Color Encoding Specification; LED lighting fixtures, 3-D; previsualization, prosumer cameras and their professional use and much more.

2. The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age (2013 Edition) by Steven Ascher and Edward Pincus

This book has been in use for more than ten years. It has become a staple in the collection of many filmmakers. It is recommended for all beginners because it contains the essential knowledge that is required for new and seasoned filmmakers. Each new edition of the book contains the latest information about advances in cinema technology. Every filmmaker should have a copy of this book in their shelves.

3. “On Directing Film” (1992) by David Mamet

Although this text addresses the topic of directing film, it is a must have for anyone working in the industry. The author, David Mamet is established as a professional, known for his work on-stage as well as his screen work. He is a Pulitzer and Tony prize winner as well as a nominee for multiple Oscars. In this book, he shares his wisdom on directing, which is a vital aspect of creating a top notch film.

4. “Filmmakers on Filmmaking: The American Film Institute seminars on motion pictures and television” — (1983) Edited by Joseph McBride

This text covers a wide variety of topics about making films. It includes seminars on topics of television as well as motion picture filming. It is a must have for anyone who wants to hone their skills and learn how some of the leaders in the industry have achieved awesome results in the films that they created. This book looks at the hows as well as the whys.

5. “On Filmmaking: An Introduction To The Craft of Director” (2005) by Alexander Mackendrick

Mackendrick has written this volume that is dedicated to the art of filmmaking. The text has become the “industry standard” and is a seminal volume about filmmaking that has helped multitudes of people to develop their own unique eye for cinematography and find their niche. This text begins with a foreward written by the great Martin Scorsese.

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