Here is a list of books that I've read and that have helped me with film production and online entrepreneurship. Maybe they can help you too. I've gotta lot more books to read, as learning never stops.
*Full disclosure. Film Trooper provides Amazon affiliate links on this resource page. If you choose to purchase any items from this list, please know that Film Trooper will receive a little bitty bit of earnings for sending you to Amazon. Cool thing is that you will NOT be charged any extra, it's just an affiliate commission for sending peeps like you to Amazon. Every little bit helps and we thank you 🙂
If you've ever seen the film Adaptation with Nicholas Cage, you'll get a better reason why Robert McKee's book and courses were so inspirational to thousands of screenwriters. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click this link: STORY (Kindle Version)
This is by far my favorite book on screenwriting. Although Blake Snyder passed away a few years ago, he left behind, what I think is the best series of books and teachings on screenwriting. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this great book, click here: Save The Cat (Kindle Version)
After reading the original Save The Cat book, be sure to pick the 2nd book up from Blake Snyder. In this book, Snyder does a tremendous job at simplifying the basic story structure that formulate so many of our favorite films. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Save the Cat! Goes to the Movies (Kindle Version)
After Snyder's books had been out in the market for a few years, he began teaching workshops from his Save The Cat principles. During this time he had an opportunity to do some real world tests to see if his teachings were helping other writers. He was essentially performing what Eric Ries of the Lean Startup calls, the Build-Measure-Learn process of developing a sustainable business. Anyway, Snyder, shares the obstacles that faced his teachings and how he refined his approach to give us a final polish of his legacy that is the Save The Cat trilogy. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click this link: Save The Cat! Strikes Back (Kindle Version)
So, here's the deal. I tried to get through Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces. It reads like an insane text book. It's obvious that Campbell is brilliant ... and I am not. Thank goodness for Christopher Volger's book, which in some ways simplifies most of Campbell's works into a very informative and useful book on story structure for writing great screenplays.
This is the granddaddy of books on story telling. But as I was saying, it's a beast to read. Tons of footnotes and references to almost every ancient civilization and their cultural fables. It gives you a fascinating overlook that just maybe we aren't writing anything new at all.
This is a quick read, but Michael Hauge does a good job of giving you some great tips and techniques at how to craft your elevator pitch to get to the "heart" of what makes your story sellable and interesting. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds (Kindle Version)
Beyond just a great book for screenwriters trying to pitch their story to Hollywood, Stephanie Palmer, who is a former Hollywood Executive has been in the room for well over a 1,000 pitches. Stephanie shares some amazing tips to help you the filmmaker, as well as, small business owners, freelancers, and business executives. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Good In A Room: How To Sell Yourself (And Your Ideas) And Win Over Any Audience
*Bonus! You can listen in to my exclusive interview with Stephanie Palmer here: https://filmtrooper.com/39
Although this book is a bit out of date, Dov Simens does a great job of constantly updating his teachings. Simens also teaches a two-day workshop and gives you everything you need to know on how to make a film and sell it. I love the fact that Dov pulls no punches in his teaching approach. I met Dov years ago at the American Film Market (AFM) and he was approachable and truly someone who loved to give. I used his teachings to make my feature film THE CUBE.
This book can be a bit dry to read at times, because it's about looking at Hollywood from a entertainment lawyer's perspective. Schuyler M. Moore is one of the most respected law professionals in the business. The greatest takeaway that I got from this book is that Hollywood is NOT in the film business, they are in the business of exploiting licenses and the control of those licenses.
Again, this book is a tad outdated, but the approach of scheduling and budgeting haven't changed and I found myself going back to this book over the course of planning my film projects. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Planning the Low-Budget Film (Kindle Version)
This is a funny but quick read if you want to get an idea of how nutty the side of being an agent in Hollywood is like. Although author, Rima Greer primarily represents writers, her stories are entertaining and wild. I read this book long before I moved to Portland, Oregon. When I got up to the North West, I got to know screenwriter, Randall Jahnson, who wrote The Doors and The Mask of Zorro films. I found out that Randall's agent is none other than Rima Greer!
This is an easy reference book for all things legal as it pertains to your film project. I used the advice from this book to inadvertently squash a relationship I had with a Hollywood producer. Didn't mean to burn a bridge, but what done is done ... So, note to self, be sure to just pick up a phone and call someone who you may inadvertently offend. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: The Pocket Lawyer for Filmmakers (Kindle Version)
If you need a good all around book on the technical understandings of what a film director should know, then be sure to pick up these simple books from Steven D. Katz. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Film Directing: Shot by Shot (Kindle Version)
You can't have one book without the other. Again, Steven D. Katz does a good job of illustrating the basic technical concepts that every film director should know. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Film Directing: Cinematic Motion (Kindle Version)
I really enjoyed this book and a lot of the tips and techniques taught by Judith Weston really worked! I think it's a definite must read for any director working with actors. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Directing Actors (Kindle Version)
After listening to the Internet Business Mastery podcast, Jeremy and Jason referenced this book. If you need a good change in "mind-set" type of book, this is a good one. Robert Kiyosaki opens your mind of how the game is played by the rich and how to get in on that game. Although, Kiyosaki over glorifies the rich at times, his overall view of how wealth works will help you understand where your film, business, and even lifestyle fits into the whole wealth schematic. If you want to buy the Kindle version, click here: Rich Dad Poor Dad (Kindle Version)
Robert Kiyosaki's teachings revolve around the concept of understanding cash flow. In this book he elaborates his teaching. It's vital for any Film Trooper (Filmmaking Entrepreneur) to understand how basic business works and how cash flow affects them in their abilities to earn financial freedom to do what? Make a living making films.
Eric Ries draws observations from the Lean Manufacturing techniques used by Toyota company to rise as industry leaders and implore that technique onto the world of tech startups. This concept has revolutionized companies world wide and is often cited as a major influence for all online businesses. You'll start to hear the Lean method referenced in some of the newest film companies that are sprouting up. A must read and you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: The Lean Startup (Kindle Version)
Ever since this book hit the market, they've created a weekly radio show and podcast show it, as well as, made it into a movie. The great thing about this book is that it changes your perspective on almost everything that we assume is general knowledge. The greatest takeaway for me is that everyone is motivated by incentives. If you can understand what incentivizes people, then you'll understand why the world works the way it does. Mind-set change is crucial for becoming an entrepreneur and critical for becoming a Film Trooper,since we are treading on new ground. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Freakonomics (Kindle Version)
I loved this book, as it too analyzes the psychology of why we pay for things at certain prices. Any book that can shift your understanding of how things work and get into the deeper psychology of our habits is a thrill. My greatest takeaway from this book is the psychology of the anchor price and what that does to us on a deeper emotional level. If you want to buy the Kindle version of this book, click here: Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (Kindle Version)
When I look at blogs, they are our current day copy writing. Although, this book is about older direct mail marketing, much of the principles can be applied in today's blog-a-sphere. My big takeaways from this book is to start with a great headline in order to get the audience to read the sub heading, then create an inviting environment where the audience (customer) goes down a slippery slide to your call to action (your sale). Great book. Buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Advertising Secrets of the Written Word (Kindle Version)
Written by the team over at the Film Collaborative, both Jon Reiss and Sheri Candler are active advocates for alternate marketing and distribution methods for indie film. This is a good case study book of how different filmmakers handled their film distribution strategy. Buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul (Kindle Version)
*Bonus! You can listen in to my exclusive interview with Sheri Candler (Co-Author) here: https://filmtrooper.com/32
Stacey Parks has been helping indie filmmakers navigate the distribution landscape for years through her Film Specific membership website. On top of being a super friendly person, she penned this book opening up the world of film distribution from the perspective of the international buyers and sellers of film. A must read and a must follow if you want to fully understand how the whole system works. If you want to buy the Kindle version, click here: Insider's Guide to Independent Film Distribution (Kindle Version)
MORE BOOK LINKS TO COME!
*Full disclosure. Film Trooper provides Amazon affiliate links on this resource page. If you choose to purchase any items from this list, please know that Film Trooper will receive a little bitty bit of earnings for sending you to Amazon. Cool thing is that you will NOT be charge any extra, it's just an affiliate commission for sending peeps like you to Amazon. Every little bit helps and we thank you 🙂