It was the great Groucho Marx who said: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”. I’m hoping that anyone reading this post has not mastered reading inside a dog, but I think Groucho’s assessment of the magic of books is correct. And if you are an indie filmmaker, books can be a wise investment on your journey. Whether it’s technical texts or books to inspire, having a resource library at your disposal is very useful. Quite often when conversing with filmmakers, if there’s a book I know of that I think will be useful or that they will find interesting, I definitely make a recommendation. I also try and do an update on this subject on the blog as I find books that I know filmmakers, producers, people aspiring to work in the film industry, or entrepreneurs may find useful (and most importantly enjoyable).
Here’s an updated list of reading recommendations for filmmakers, people wanting to broaden their film industry knowledge base, entrepreneurs and dreamers everywhere.
Crowdfunding for Filmmakers: The Way to a Successful Film Campaign- 2nd Edition- John T. Trigonis
If you want to gain funds for your indie film via crowdfunding, this is THE book to read. John T. Trigonis knows his stuff. Filmmaker, strategist and so much more besides (check out his exceptional bio on his website), he has successfully crowdfunded his own projects, given a TEDx talk, and mentored some incredibly high-profile crowdfunding campaigns with successful results. This is the book I recommend to every single filmmaker who is about to undertake crowdfunding. It’s also an enjoyable read. Think of it as like having John sitting you down for a quick consult to make sure you’re prepped and ready to go.
Success in Film: A Guide to Funding, Filming and Finishing Independent Films- Julia Verdin and Matt Dean
This is an excellent guide for anyone getting involved in independent films in any capacity. Whether you’re a producer, director, publicist or actor, it’s a guide I thoroughly recommend, especially if you’re just starting out. It’s also a guide that will interest film-lovers who want to know more about the filmmaking process (and in particular the world of independent film). Julia and Matt detail the steps involved in independent filmmaking: from finding your script, through to creating a business plan for potential investors and/or distributors, right through to publicity and marketing of your film and the filmmaking process. It’s a dynamic and inspiring read with practical, no-nonsense advice. And it’s advice that comes from a deep well of knowledge: Julia Verdin is one of Hollywood’s leading independent producers/directors, so the knowledge comes from a wealth of experience. It’s definitely the kind of book you can read in one sitting.
Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: Why That Is And What You Can Do About It- Steven Pressfield
So, why should you believe Steven Pressfield when he says nobody wants to read your sh*t? Pressfield has had the benefit of having a career that has spanned advertising, screenwriting, fiction, narrative nonfiction, and self-help. His debut novel, The Legend of Bagger Vance, became a Dreamworks film, but it took seventeen years for his first writing cheque. He’s someone who has been ‘in the trenches’ and knows his stuff. Whether you’re writing a screenplay, aspiring to be a novelist or wanting to know how to connect with your audience authentically through your narrative, this book is excellent. You can read a sample on the Black Irish Books website.
Choose Yourself! and Reinvent Yourself!- James Altucher
Choose Yourself! and subsequently Reinvent Yourself! are two books I recommend to anyone. If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, an entrepreneur, or if you’re currently striving for your goals but have nagging doubts about how things are going to pan out, these books are for you. We’re no longer living in a world where we take one job in a little cubicle for the rest of our lives. Society has changed, technology and communications have changed. These books are a rallying cry to the self-starter, the indie filmmaker, the dreamer and anyone willing to take a chance on themselves and make things happen.
1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die- Steven Jay Schneider (editor), updated by Ian Haydn Smith
I’ll never forget receiving the first edition of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I pored over it time and again until it became dog-eared, coffee stained and with a cracked spine. I would put little red ticks on the top corner of the pages of the films I had seen and aimed to see all 1001 films in the book. Unfortunately, I can’t recall how many I managed to see in that edition! Updated with each edition, film critics from around the world write magnificent entries for the films they believe require inclusion into the list. It also contains gorgeous colour photographs and vital statistics about each film. This is one resource that is always a cause for great discussion, especially when it comes to debating the merits of one film over another, or arguing for a beloved film that didn’t “make the cut” in the latest edition (pun fully intended). It’s such a gem of a book that I recommend it to every single cinephile.