BOOK | Books To Start With For Aspiring Filmmakers

It doesn’t go unnoticed that a lot of those who appreciate my work are aspiring filmmakers. I see you guys and just want you all to know I was once in your position too. When I knew I wanted to one day be a director, I honestly didn’t know where to start because I had ZERO.. as in ZERO knowledge of filmmaking. I just knew I liked editing and making “vibes”. I didn’t know anything other than “record”.. So I obviously needed to be educated. And no, you don’t need to go to film school – I didn’t. It’s way too damn expensive, I only did a 1-week workshop. How I really learned was through Youtube University and BOOKS. Let me tell you, YOU DON’T NEED FILM SCHOOL. All you need to do is study hard on your own and most of all, PRACTICE. So I got you guys, here are the four books that I started with and I’ll put them in the order of where you should begin.

Complete Film Dictionary
By Ira Konisberg

This one’s something you should have first if you want to begin studying terms such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, types of lenses.. I didn’t know any of these things when I started out. It’s imperative you get familiar with terms because there are MANY. You’re going to encounter many terms you’ve never heard of so it helps to have this as a reference whenever you hear something unfamiliar. If you want to become a director or cinematographer, you’re going to have to learn how to communicate in the language or else no one will understand how to execute your vision. This is a technical art, so you must learn how to speak it.

101 Things I Learned in Film School
By Neil Landau with Matthew Frederick

This one’s such a great one to start off with simply because every page is one lesson in the basics and foundations of filmmaking. Simple things like what the 180 degree rule is or what the three stages of filmmaking are or what “mise en scene” means. It’s all concisely told in one page and it’s great to run through it sometimes to have it ingrained in your brain. It’s a breeze to go through and it’s almost like taking a month of filmmaking class. Absolutely worth it!

How To Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck
By Steve Stockman

This would be the equivalent of Filmmaking for Dummies. Again, this one takes you through all the basics and foundations of filmmaking. It teaches you how to prepare your shots, how to brainstorm, how to edit, how to shoot scripted video.. And all told in layman’s terms. It’s also pretty wittily written so you’ll enjoy going through it and learning. It teaches exactly what the name implies.. How to shoot video that doesn’t suck!

Cinematography: Theory & Practice
By Blain Brown

Now this one is for the big boys and big girls! This is the serious masterclass. So if you’re taking your craft and dreams seriously, you MUST have this one. I learned the most from this book, and still am learning! This gets nitty and gritty with all the terms, kinds, types. As a director, I really needed to know the language more so I can communicate the visions I have to people I work with. So knowing things like design and visual principles, the language of lighting, kinds of shots, cinematic techniques, and so much more, really solidifies my knowledge on my craft. This book really feels like you’re taking film school. It’s so worth it.

I hope you guys learn a lot from one of these! I sure did. I can’t wait to see you all blossom into filmmakers one day. Dream big and work hard, y’all. It took me five years to reap the benefits, but it was all f*cking worth it.

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