10 Best Books on Filmmaking to Read in 2021

Books recommendation on Filmmaking

In this article, I’ll discuss the 10 best books on filmmaking that are very important in understanding the whole film industry. Moreover, I will also answer some of the very popular questions that are commonly asked by people in the FAQ section.

“Filmmaking is a chance to live many lifetimes.”

Robert Altman, American film director, screenwriter, and producer.

No matter who you are, what your occupation is, reading a book is very important for everyone. When we talk about a filmmaker, he is entirely responsible for the development, production, distribution, and management of the film. So, it is very important for him to be aware of almost everything in the film industry that is not an easy task. But one thing that makes it easy for him is reading the books by most successful filmmakers.

There are many advantages of reading books for a filmmaker. The first and most important thing is that a filmmaker can familiar with the experience of successful filmmakers by reading their book. Since these books are basically filled with motivation, much good information, facts, realities of the film industry that help the filmmakers to aware of new challenges, technologies, and trends. He can follow the tactics of successful filmmakers in his own film or take ideas for his brainstorming.

There are many books that are only for filmmaking and every book has something new. You can’t read all of those books but you can read the best filmmaking books out of them. So, after decent research, I have mentioned the 10 best books on filmmaking below that you should read.

Are you curious to know those books?

Okay, let’s explore the best filmmaking books-

List of 10 best Books on Filmmaking

Lights, Camera, Sell

AuthorAlec Trachtenberg
Rating4.9 out of 5

Lights, Camera, Sell” is one of the best books on filmmaking that provides fascinating actionable insights and takes some of the mystery out of the world of independent film-making. The author teaches how to perform the five stages of film-making well through this book. The book is also good for TV Direction & Production.

Kazan on Directing

AuthorElia Kazan
Rating4.8 out of 5

Kazan on Directing” is basically a movie director biography that provides an excellent opportunity to deepen our understanding of Kazan’s achievements. The author described all the new challenges that every filmmaker has to face, as well as explained how to easily overcome these challenges. If today’s directors had that kind of knowledge, we would have much better plays and films.


AuthorFrancois Truffaut
Rating4.8 out of 5

Hitchcock” is an iconic and groundbreaking interview of Alfred Hitchcock by film critic François Truffaut that gives good insights into the direction and the filmmaking industry. This book is created after the fifty-hour of interviews with Alfred Hitchcock. Since the author spent enough time with Hitchcock, he asked everything about the film industry and Hitchcock answered everything that he experiences in his long director career.

Making Movies

AuthorSidney Lumet
Rating4.7 out of 5

“Making Movies” is one of the best books on filmmaking by Sidney Lumet that discuss the nuts and bolts of making a movie. Lumet tells what he’s learned about making movies in the course of the last 40 years through this informative book. The author has covered all essential things that come in filmmaking to directors, filmmakers, and producers. Although this book is dated yet it is good in explaining how to create a unique film.

Rebel Without A Crew

AuthorRobert Rodriguez
Rating4.7 out of 5

Robert Rodriguez’s “Rebel without a Crew” is the perfect gift for an aspiring filmmaker. If you are struggling financially with your film, this book is for you. This book best guides on how to create a budget-effective film. There are lots of examples of how to work on a tiny budget and get high profits.

The Filmmaker’s Handbook

AuthorSteven Ascher, Edward Pincus
Rating4.7 out of 5

The Filmmaker’s Handbook” is a bible of video and film production. This indispensable handbook covers all aspects of movie-making for students and teachers, professionals, and novices. From the development phase to the distribution phase, the author explained all points perfectly. Moreover, it covers all the new techniques for making dramatic features, documentaries, and short videos and films.

Adventures in the Screen Trade

AuthorWilliam Goldman
Rating4.7 out of 5

Since William Goldman himself was a screenwriter, he wrote many stories for different movies. On involving in the film industry for decades, he had good knowledge about the film industry which he portrayed in this book. This book is quite informative and it is filled with many facts about films. In any event, if you are an aspiring screenwriter or no, this book will entertain and inspire you.

Filmmaking For Dummies

AuthorBryan Michael Stoller
Rating4.6 out of 5

Filmmaking For Dummies” is a great introduction book for getting started in filmmaking. In this book, you will learn how to compose your shots and when to move the camera, how to make the perfect pitch to sell your story, how to take advantage of helpful contacts, etc. In addition, it is well written and well organized that is easy to read, and easy to understand.

Shooting to Kill

AuthorChristine Vachon, David Edelstein
Rating4.6 out of 5

Shooting to Kill” has a great inside look into the independent film business by one of the best producers that cover all the aspects of film production. Although it is a little dated, the tactics are still very relevant which is the best part of it. In addition, it is very practical and to the point, with specific examples and multiple anecdotes from her projects.

On Directing Film

AuthorDavid Mamet
Rating4.5 out of 5

On Directing Film” is indispensable not only to students but to anyone interested in an overview of the craft of filmmaking. This book mainly details the “who” and “why” of filmmaking from a playwright’s point of view. Moreover, it is useful and it’s got a lot of wisdom and practical advice.


Filmmaking or film production goes through 5 stages that are-

  1. Development Stage (Planning, creation, writing, organizing)
  2. Pre-Production (Casting, Choosing locations, Budget Estimation)
  3. Production (Shooting started)
  4. Post-Production (Editing)
  5. Distribution (Releasing, Marketing, Promoting)

Although filmmaking is a very risky business, there is no guarantee that the film will succeed or not, yet it is still very lucrative. It can give 10X, 50X, 100X returns, on the other hand it also may not give as much as it costs. Instead of this, the career opportunity in filmmaking is very high and it is also a general to high paying job.

In the career of more than 50 years, John Ford had won total six Oscar awards. Four of them were for best director and the other two for the best documentary. He won his first Oscar in 1935 for "The Informer" and then he won in 1940, 1941 and 1952 for "The Grapes of Wrath", "How Green Was My Valley", "The Quiet Man" respectively.

DP or DoP is called the director of photography who is responsible for all the camera activities. Many times he is also termed a cinematographer.

Oscar is the most prestigious award in film industry. It is organised by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is made up of professional people in the film business.

Dudley Nichols - 1935 Oscar for Best Screenplay, George C. Scott - 1971 Oscar for Best Actor, and Marlon Brando - 1973 Oscar for Best Actor were the most popular people who rejected Oscar.

Mary Badham(1962), Quinn Cummings(1977), Abigail Breslin (2006), were nominated for Oscar when they all are 10 years old. But they didn't win the Oscar. Tatum O'Neal, a 10 years old girl won the Oscar in 1973 for "Paper Moon" and she is still the youngest Oscar winner in any category.


These are the 10 best books on filmmaking that are written by the most successful filmmakers. These books not only give insight into filmmaking but also explain how the film industry works, how the film succeeds, how the film is planned, how the actors are cast, how to create a budget effective film and how to get maximum reach, etc.

So, it is the most important thing for any filmmaker to read these books. After reading these books, you will get a lot of information. Therefore, take the book in the above sequence and start reading. We wish you all the best.

One more thing, if this article added any value to your knowledge, share it with your friends so that they also can take advantage of it and can be familiar with these best filmmaking books.

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