“See, the sad thing about a guy like you is in 50 years you’re gonna staht doin some thinkin on your own and you’re gonna come up with the fact that there are two certaintees in life. One, don’t do that. And Two, you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on a fuckin education you coulda got for a dollah fifty in late chahges at the public library” 

Now the difficult thing is with a self prescribed education, is that it’s hard to know what to put on your own curriculum – so what I would like to do is share some of my favourites  – while asking for you, in response, to recommend what books you feel fit in the following criteria…

  • Are written by people who amalgamate a life time’s experience of experiments who got to the top of their game
  • That are written by people who not only know their stuff – they know how to structure and teach it
  • Has at least one major life changing epiphany
  • Are about storytelling at it’s core – whether this is through technology, art, psychology… etc.
  • You feel they are so good you will force others to read them until they agree : )

So please write to me your recommendations to add to the reading list and I will add yours to the growing curriculum…

My first six are…

  1. The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook – this thing is thorough and goes beyond theory covering the whole practical step by step of getting a film made – from the real world of funding to the breakdown of distribution
  2. Understanding Comics – this is my bible – not only does it explain every aspect of how to tell a story visually, it is an amazingly structured lecture that goes on to define what art is – and it’s all in comic book form!
  3. Directing the Story – Taking the concept of The Arabian Nights and having to tell a compelling story with a cliff hanger to stay alive  – this teaches storyboarding through the neat adaptation of having Scheherazade as a mute so that she has to draw her stories in the sand to captivate the dictator and use stories to compel his mercy – awesome!
  4. The Animator’s Survival Kit – The writer on this is someone who has pushed himself to become one of the leaders in understanding how to master the illusion of emotion through movement – the illustrations show he knows his stuff  (as well as the fact he drew a lot of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ and proves that ultimatley animation is acting!
  5. The Visual Story – This can be a bit dry in a text book way, but it has some of the best epiphanies in terms of how to compose an image to tell a story – understanding that we are using a 2D screen to confuse the brain… a lot of the fundamentals that often get missed are in here and make for a much better grasp of cinematography…
  6. Reading Screenplays – When you write a really good script that could make money you want to have a firm grasp of who the people are who judge it (and how they judge it) so that you know how to package it – also this book breaks down genre in a way that goes beyond the icons of it and in to the human psychology of what sets it apart, allowing you to understand what you have made and why…

So there you go – do check them out – and please add your own to the evolving reading list… : )


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