Maybe you are looking for the perfect gift for an aspiring filmmaker or perhaps just looking to deepen your knowledge of a passion. This blog post summary and guide of the best filmmaking books will help you make the right choice. There are hundreds of filmmaking books on Amazon, but many are unreliable sources written by unexperienced filmmakers and writers. After some reading, research and help from some renown filmmakers, we filtered through and hand-picked the must-haves.

While blogs might still be an excellent place to find specific information of certain elements, many professionals believe the best way to learn is when the information is taken in from one single source. An in-depth book written by an expert can help digest the information more easily, and in turn become easier to apply on the field when the time comes.

On Film-making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director

On Filmmaking

Known to be one of the best ever filmmaking books, ‘On Film-Making’ is a priceless examination of the filmmaker’s craft. Edited by Paul Cronin, the book is a collection of notes from the reputable and renown filmmaker Alexander Mackendrick who’s more than 20 years in the industry as a screenwriter, storyboard editor and director brought such memorable films such as The Ladykillers and Sweet Smell of Success.

Mackendrick later moved to teaching, where he brought his knowledge and experience to the classroom. After his death in 1993, the handouts given out to his students were collected by Paul Cronin witch he edited into the book. Some might call the book a little “dry” and certainly won’t turn you into a successful filmmaker overnight, but Mackendrick knowledgeably explains the hard and beautiful work of being a director while covering elements like screenwriting and bridging the classes. On Film-Making should become an essential in your filmmaking book collection.

Making Movies

Making Movies
Sidney Lumet is a decorated filmmaker with over 40 years of experience who’s brought us movies like Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Dog Day Afternoon. In ‘Making Movies’ Lumet explains the painstaking labor that results in two hours of screen magic.

Taking a wider look at the filmmaking industry, ‘Making Movies’ hovers over roles as varied as script writing, locations, set design, costume design, lighting, camera, directing, editing, sound design as well as advertising the finished product, all seen through the director’s eyes.

The Filmmaker’s Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age: 2013 Edition

The Filmmaker's Handbook
Designed to be the “Bible” of video and film production, and now updated and republished with the latest advances in HD digital formats. ‘The Filmmaker’s Handbook’ is used in filmmaking courses all around the world to cover all aspects of movie making.

Another essential and comprehensive book for your shelf.

On Directing Film

On Directing Film
Looking at every aspect of directing through the words and eyes of David Mamet, screenwriter and director of critically acclaimed movie House of Games and Things Change. Despite drifting with a couple of rants (which some might take as constructive information), Mamet understand and transcends the importance of structure and technique in a book that can be informative and entertaining.

The Digital Filmmaking Handbook, 5th Edition

The Digital Filmmaking Handbook
A book for the aspiring filmmaker. The one-stop resource to guide you in taking your digital film project from initial concept to finished project. ‘The Digital Filmmaking Handbook’ covers everything from pre-production to editing, while even preparing you for the shift towards digital distribution. The book is deemed as ‘easy to read’ and is excellent for filmmakers looking to create short films, taking you through the process of making a film look great on a very small budget.

Filmmaking For Dummies

Filmmaking For Dummies
We all start off as dummies somewhere. Highly recommended for beginners, ‘Filmmaking for Dummies’ highlights the entire filmmaking process from concept to distribution along with tips and industry secrets, expert advice on choosing equipment and formats, and the latest on digital technology.

How to Make a Movie in 10 Easy Lessons: Learn how to write, direct, and edit your own film without a Hollywood budget (Super Skills)

How to Make Movies in 10 Easy Lessons
Get the kids started! Learn how to write, direct, and edit your own film without a Hollywood budget. Is your story a comedy? A drama? Are you documenting an event? From the “pre-production” basics of plot and script to the fun of getting to know cameras, camera angles, moving shots, and lighting, How to Make a Movie in 10 Easy Lessons takes you through the full production process. Discover tips for sharp editing, learn the difference between long shots and wide angles, explore tips for writing a clever script, and much more.

How Not to Make a Short Film: Secrets from a Sundance Programmer

How Not to Make a Short Film
The negative title makes us cringe a little, but the harsh reality is true; there are many ways NOT to make a film, and although the book does go over many ‘How To’s’, the most helpful tips are Roberta’s ‘Do Not’s’. Roberta Munroe is a writer/director/producer and former Sundance programmer, and her experience can help you craft a film for the eyes festival programmers (no mention of online programmers however).