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Directing on a Dime: Summer Reading List

Directing on a Dime: Summer Reading List

Blog - Directing on a Dime

Welcome to Directing on a Dime, where indie moviemaker Andy Young provides tips and insight for moviemakers whose budget is more The Blair Witch Project than Avatar. Have questions for Andy about low-budget (or no-budget) moviemaking? Ask away at .

After pulling a 33-hour sprint through post-production on my final project, I am now officially done with my first semester of film school at the University of Texas! As you can tell from the start of the sentence above, it was a bit of a doozy.

But now summer is here, and I’ll be busy seeing new movies, doing interviews for MovieMaker, taking some summer school classes and shooting my next short film (tentatively called The Crime Of The Century). And, of course, catching up on some books I’ve been meaning to read. That being said, for this week’s article I decided to make a “Summer Reading List” of books I want to recommend to other low-budget moviemakers. These are some of my favorite books of all time, books I’ve read and studied a thousand times over that have really influenced the way I watch movies and work on set.

Andy’s Summer Reading Recommendations:

  • Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen, Steven D. Katz
  • The Total Film-Maker, Jerry Lewis
  • Making Movies: The Inside Guide to Independent Movie Production, John Russo
  • Making Movies, Sidney Lumet
  • Make Your Own Damn Movie!: Secrets of a Renegade Director, Lloyd Kaufman
  • Extreme DV at Used-Car Prices: How to Write, Direct, Shoot, Edit, and Produce a Digital Video Feature for LessThan $3,000, Rick Schmidt
  • On Film Directing, David Mamet
  • The Portable Film School: Everything You’d Learn in Film School (Without Ever Going to Class), D.B. Gilles
  • Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes, John Pierson

Director’s Production Journals:

  • Rebel without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player, Robert Rodriguez, on El Mariachi
  • Do the Right Thing, Spike Lee
  • Sex, lies, and videotape, Steven Soderbergh (I read this in conjunction with Do the Right Thing. Spike doesn’t talk about Cannes that year, but Steven does, and it’s interesting to hear about the two different experiences with that context in mind. )
  • Shpadoinkle: The Making of Cannibal: The Musical, Jason McHugh
    As for me, I’m planning on reading these (most of which were recommended by my film professor Steve Mims):

  • Thinking In Pictures: The Making Of The Movie Matewan, John Sayles
  • Hitchcock, François Truffaut
  • Scorsese by Ebert, Roger Ebert
  • Who the Devil Made It, Peter Bogdanovich
  • On Film Editing: An Introduction to the Art of Film Construction, Edward Dmytryk

Have any other recommendations? Feel free to post some of your favorites or ones you want to check out in the comments section below. Have a great summer!

Andy Young is a director, editor, writer and composer who lives in Austin, Texas and studies in the University of Texas at Austin’s film program. At the age of 21, he has directed over 150 short films and one feature, The Legend of Action Man, which he shot on a budget of only $200. Andy also has experience directing for theatre, television and animation, and he continues to make low-budget shorts with his sketch comedy group Dingoman Productions.

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