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Requesting: Books About Film

So I've always loved film... probably more than I do literature, music, or television. I really want to start learning more about it, though, which is why I'm making this post.

Can you please recommend me books about film - history, interesting auto/bios of directors, actors, actresses, etc., Making-of books, film guides... anything related to that. I'm also interested in directing and screen-play writing, so that to haha.

Thank you!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
I liked Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City by Nicholas Christopher and Swordsmen of the screen, from Douglas Fairbanks to Michael York by Jeffrey Richards, about swashbucklers.
Mar. 16th, 2011 08:12 am (UTC)
Best book series ever on film and filmmaking: Projections. http://www.amazon.com/Directors-Cut-Best-Projections/dp/0571233155/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1300263081&sr=1-3
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:15 pm (UTC)
Biskind - Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-drugs-and Rock 'n' Roll Generation Changed Hollywood
Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance & The Rise Of Independent Film

Mar. 16th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
George Lucas's Blockbusting, edited by Alex Ben Block & Lucy Autrey Wilson. Its kind of long, around 944 pages, but it can't be beat for facts.
Mar. 23rd, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
J. Michael Straczynski's notes on Babylon 5, as he was making it, and his scripts are illuminating. Some of these are posted on the internet at JMSNews site , and he has collected some into print on demand books available through his cafepress store. Stracynski wrote almost all of the scripts in the 5 year series, as well as being the executive director, and pioneering online communication with fans when usenet was the most popular way to communicate on the internet. He previously wrote some scripts for Murder She Wrote.

ScriptwritingSecrets.com - an online book back from 1998 when hypertext was newfangled to the general public (there's an explanation of it on the page). This book helped me understand how to format a script into the way it would be done for submission to Hollywood and similar places. It's also a sales pitch for a word processor that automates most of the drudgery, but I was able to use the word processor I already had to achieve the format as described in the book, it just took a bit more work.

The anatomy of story : 22 steps to becoming a master storyteller by John Truby has a lot to say about the structure of plots, and uses stories from films as examples, including The Godfather.

David Gerrold mentions the 2 1/2 act structure for writing for television in his book on writing science fiction Worlds of Wonder. Most of the book is geared to writing books. Gerrold wrote the tribbles episode in the original Star Trek.

Hmm, thinking of Star Trek, Harlan Ellison has published his original script for the City on the Edge of Forever episode of Star Trek, along with a rant about how they changed it to the version that appeared on screen. Ellison can be cranky and curmudgeonly and bitter and is an excellent writer.

One Man's Documentary : A Memoir of the Early Years of the National Film Board by Graham McInnes. By the way, a lot of Canada's National Film Board's documentaries can be viewed for free online at the NFB website.

Actor bios:

Christopher Plummer's autobiography In Spite of Myself was a fun read for me. He's most famous for playing Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, but I wanted to know most about his time playing various Shakespeare roles, and what it was like to be in The Return of the Pink Panther.

Leonard Nimoy's unfortunately titled "I am Not Spock" was actually a playful introspective look at how playing the character had changed his life, mostly in good ways. Most of the controversy was because the title gave people who had not read the book the impression that he hated playing Spock, which was not true. I enjoyed it more than the sequel "I am Spock" which I liked, but thought a bit lacklustre.

Bruce Campbell's autobiography If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor is strange and fun if you like reading about practical jokes. Campbell played Autolycus the King of Thieves in the Hercules and Xena: Warrior Princess tv shows, and Ash in Evil Dead.

The Making of the African Queen: Or How I Went to Africa With Bogart, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind by Katharine Hepburn

Sophia: Living and Loving Her Own Story by A.E Hotchner

My Life So Far by Jane Fonda
Mar. 23rd, 2011 01:27 pm (UTC)

Remake by Connie Willis, satirical science-fictional romance comedy book about Hollywood

I'd like to learn more about writing music for film, and film editing, but I haven't read any books on those topics that I'd recommend. The closest I've come on film music is Henry Mancini's Sounds and Scores : A Practical Guide to Professional Orchestration. Some of the advice is from another technological time and place, for example the advice about how you should give really clean hand written copies of your score to your copyist because making changes later is hard when the parts have been copied out for the full orchestra. No music notation software and laser printers available back in 1962.

Most of what I've learned about film and television has been from watching film and tv making-of things and documentaries, so it took me a while to think of the books that I've read on the subject. I've been seeing if I could think of books that are less North America live action Hollywood focused, and realized that most of what I've learned about, say Japanese animation, has not come from books, but from other sources.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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