This is a list of some of my favorite books on film, business and writing.
Please send me your recommendations for your favorites as well. I do check these books out before posting them on this page so it may take a little while before they appear!
I start with books on writing because a producer needs to be a clear, coherent communicator whether crafting a deal memo, a business letter or a simple email. These are presented in no particular order.
The Elements of Style – William Strunk Jr and E.B. White
The classic treatise on clear concise written communication.
Grammar for the Soul – Lawrence A. Weinstein
A fascinating look at the underlying meanings – both intended and unintended – behind words we use all the time.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves – Lynne Truss
An entertaining book on punctuation and how it affects our writing. I am reminded of it every time I use a comma!
Two books on creative writing that I think are helpful to everyone:
Stephen King on Writing– Stephen King The inner workings of one of our great writers.
Reading Like A Writer – Francine Prose
A wonderful treatise on the important role that reading plays in writing by my friend and “Household Saints” author, Francine Prose.
These books are all very good reads and are presented in no particular order.
Cassavetes on Cassavetes – Ray Carney
Also, any books in this series. So much can be learned by reading directors talking about their work. Includes Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, John Sayles and many other directors.
Reel Women – Ally Acker
A ground-breaking history of the major women filmmakers and their role in the development of world cinema. This book and the filmmakers it discusses should be required reading for anyone studying filmmaking.
The Great and Only Oscar Micheaux: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker – Patrick Mc Gilligan
Another piece of required reading for the history of American cinema.
Cinema of Outsiders – Emanuel Levy
An excellent examination of some of the best American independent films from 1977-1999.
Memo: David O. Selznick – Rudy Behlmer
One of the first books I read about producing. A great read to gain insight into the Hollywood system that brought us classics like “Gone With the Wind”. The book contains letters, telegrams and other original documents that reveal an enormous amount about the legendary Hollywood producer and the world of producing.
Shoot to Kill – Christine Vachon
A terrific companion to the Selznick book giving the perspective of a prolific New York indie producer who shares her inner most thoughts and provides a wealth of tips and tricks.
Thinking in Pictures: The Making of the Movie Matewan – John Sayles
A concise guide to the filmmaking process written by our dear friend and mentor, John Sayles.
Voice and Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Film and DV Production – Mick Hurbis-Cherrier, a Hunter College professor, writes a wonderful and concise guide to filmmaking for fledgling filmmakers. A great place to begin.
Producer to Producer: A Step-By-Step Guide to Low Budgets Independent Film Producing – Maureen Ryan, a Columbia University professor does a terrific job of covering the process of independent film producing. Terrific resource.
Beyond Continuity – Mary Cybulski, a top Script Supervisor writes THE book on the subject and then takes it to an even higher level. An excellent filmmaking resource!
Making Movies – Sydney Lumet, one of the great filmmakers gives an excellent account of his work and process. If you’ve never seen it, by the way, please watch DOG DAY AFTERNOON directed by Mr. Lumet.
In The Blink of an Eye – Walter Murch, the best book on editing every written.