Adventurers at USC Film School
Graduate Production | Spring 2002



Wendy's Recommended Books on Filmmaking

Topics discussed:

  • Wendy's recommended books for the aspiring filmmaker
    Lights, camera, action! .. at USC Graduate Film School

The Books

Fade up & zoom in...

After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Critical Studies from the world's finest Film school, and after finishing five semesters in USC's graduate Production program, Wendy has listed the TEN BOOKS she found most helpful over the years. These books are listed in order, with the most helpful ones listed first.

Wendy enjoys directing, writing & editing best. If you prefer different aspects of filmmaking, such as cinematography or sound, these books may not apply to you.

1. In the Blink of An Eye

Walter Murch. Packed with useful information about understanding what makes a film work, focusing primarily on editing. [Link] Now available in a revised edition with Francis Ford Coppola.

2. On Directing Film

David Mamet. Insightful guidance into understanding the nuts and bolts of directing. [Link]

3. Stealing Fire from the Gods

James Bonnet. Understanding mythic story elements and applying them to your script/film. [Link]

4. The Writer's Journey

Christopher Vogler. Understanding mythic story elements and applying them to your script/film. [Link]

5. Directing Actors

Judith Weston. Good exercises for rehearsal and working with actors. [Link]

6. The Tools of Screenwriting

David Howard & Edward Mabley. Great tools for understanding the structure of a script. [Link]

7. A Challenge for the Actor

Uta Hagen. Insightful look into the psychology & emotion of the actor. [Link] I've heard that the phrase, "Let's go talk to Uta," was an inside line among studebt filmmakers that referred to smoking pot.

8. Making Movies

Sidney Lumet. Inspiring stories about making movies. [Link]

9. Film Directing Shot by Shot

Steven Katz. Practical advise for composing the visual frame. [Link]

10. Avid Digital Editing Room Handbook

Tony Solomons. Self Explanatory. USC uses Avid workstations almost exclusively. [Link]

Fade to black...