"You are what you read." Some pretentious dude said that once. Nobody liked him, but people do like books. So out of pure curiosity, I asked several people involved in all aspects of WV film for a book they would recommend to people trying to make things. Enjoy the list, and be sure to follow their social links to show your support! (Seriously, follow them. I love everyone on this list...including myself.)
Do the Work - by Steven Pressfield
Angel Wallace (Producer: Wake Up Dorothy (2020) | @angeldawn1198)
This book was actually recommended to me by a close friend when I had hit a bit of a creative speed bump. It is concise, honest, and encouraging. Pressfield explores creative works and what holds us back from creating them; as well as providing the necessary tools to overcome these challenges. This little book is perfect for someone who needs a kick in the pants but is too stubborn to ask for support (as I am known to do). However, I think it contains valuable tools and lessons for creatives in all stages.
Daily Rituals - by Mason Currey
David Smith (Writer/Director: Various | @smith10406)
I mentioned this book in the blog I wrote about making feature films, and it is an invaluable resource of motivation and inspiration for creators. It contains 161 brief descriptions of the routines of successful writers, directors, scientists and artists. The ultimate takeaway which is that there is no one way to make things is helpful in itself, and the common threads are useful in developing your own keys to productivity.
I actually just found out that Currey released a sequel to the book last year called Daily Rituals: Women At Work in which all of the creators profiled are women. I’m over halfway finished with it, but I don’t want it to end because these profiles are so motivating.
How Not To Make A Short Film - by Roberta Munroe
Tijah Bumgarner (Writer/Director: Meadow Bridge | @videoproductionMU)
A book I always encourage students to read is How Not To Make A Short Film by Roberta Munroe. She was a programmer for Sundance and a filmmaker, so she witnessed a lot of successes and mistakes. I encourage (and sometimes assign) students to read this book because it speaks to learning from what others have done. After making Meadow Bridge I wanted to teach a class called “What not to do when making a film” because I learned so much in the process of making the film and thought it could be valuable for others to learn from. With this book, I am able to incorporate that theme into filmmaking classes at Marshall.
The Great Acting Teachers & Their Methods - by Richard Brestoff
Story Moosa (Actress: Various | VTV Interview)
I love this book because it gives great overviews on the most predominant methods used in the West in training programs. If you have an interest in the teaching of acting, or simply just to objectively view the different methods, it's a great short read that could lead you to other resources. The voice it's written in is also very easy to read, so it's not a bunch of acting jargon that is difficult to understand from the outside. For actors, it's a great way to put names and techniques together, especially since most training programs in the US are not necessarily one technique-based.
On Writing - Stephen King
Nate Cesco (Writer/Director: Various | @natecesco)
This book has nothing to do with filmmaking, and everything to do with approaching writing seriously. Stephen King covers rejection, being diligent, self doubt, and everything you may encounter when trying to get a story to a page. Whether that’s a book or a script, it’s all storytelling. This book really conveys the mechanics of writing as a craft. It’s easy to be a victim of your muses, or wait for inspiration. Hearing one of the great literary greats convince you to just sit down and get the dang stories out frees you of that nagging voice telling you all the reasons you can’t.
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