View Full Version : What are the best books on writing short films?
12 December 2004, 06:54 PM
I am interested in books targeted towards writing
of short films (2m - 15 m).
12 December 2004, 10:05 PM
Have you checked out this relatively new book: "Inspired 3D Short Film Production" by Jeremy Cantor & Pepe Valencia.
Here's the amazon link:
It actually features lots of works of fellow CGTalkers including yours truly and has some good concepts in it. Granted I haven't personally made it through the entire book because it's way thick and loaded but from what I've read, it's good. Check it out!
12 December 2004, 10:25 PM
Extracts from the book are regularly featured on VFXworld.com (http://www.vfxworld.com)
I wish I had had this kind of book before I started three years ago.
12 December 2004, 07:43 AM
i got this book recently,
i found it a good read, although a lot of the same stuff is covered in pretty much any film book.so i found myself skipping some sections.
you can "search this book" on amazon.com, you can basicly browse through an online version of the book (with a bit of creative searching) if you sign up
12 December 2004, 04:53 PM
I recently bought this book also.
I'm still reading it. What I like about it is it's forcing me to think about the whole process
of creating a short film. Especially about time, money and a long term commitment to accomplish the film on a part time basis. I agree there's a lot of stuff in it that's been published before, but in separate books that go into more depth. This book has a good overview so far and lists a lot of resources. The shorts on the DVD also give some good examples to either equal or hopefully surpass if you decide to make a film.
I can't afford animationmentor.com so I'm using it as a guide and a reality check. I'm trying to decide if I can actually accomplish getting a film completed. My planning for 2005 is either kick-off starting a short animated film or continue working on my art fundamentals.
my 2 cents,
PS Thanks for adding these new film forums!
12 December 2004, 03:07 PM
Also look into Developing Digital Short Films (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/073571231X/qid=1103295338/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/104-5271646-8598315) and CGI Filmmaking: The Creation of Ghost Warrior (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1556222270/qid=1103177968/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-5271646-8598315).
The second one, if you've never seen it, is obviously a cross between a "how-to" and "art of" book. Regardless of what you think of Albee's 6 month approach, the book is an invaluable resource that every aspiring CG film maker should read.
The first book has far less to do with the actual process and more to do with the writing end. It covers everything from screenwriting to storyboarding to shot composition. The author's own sample "art" is raw & crappy, but the actual meat of the book is solid. It's one of the better newbie screenwriting books out there.
If you're a 3dsmax user then you might be interested in 3ds max 6 Animation: CG Filmmaking from Concept to Completion (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0072228938/qid=1103295865/sr=2-1/104-5271646-8598315). The info is a little less theoritical here and more about how one man's ongoing process. It's fairly 3dsmax specific, but the concepts behind the techniques are general enough.
12 December 2004, 10:52 PM
I suppose if there were two books...
1) CGI Filmmaking: Kaze Ghost Warrior. Timothy Albee.
Despite recieving some negativity for his pioneering work - Mr Albee shows us that it can be done if we just use our noggins for once... :)
2) An Animated Life: Ray Harryhausen & Tony Dalton.
Not quite a book that focuses on short films, but it does contain a wealth of information that will eventually "put ideas into your head"! I would also like to mention that my copy was PERSONALLY signed by the AUTHORS THEMSELVES! Pwhahahhaha! :wise:
12 December 2004, 06:57 AM
I'll say one thing about KGW. The book is far more brilliant than the end product. The film itself suffers from a weak script, poor sound effects, not enough supporting music, limited voice work, and some oddly choreographed/framed fight scenes. Strictly taken in context of the resultant film, the Kaze book might seem like overkill. KGW isn't the end all of short films. However, taken in isolation, the film stands as proof of a concept proposed in the book.
Get "CGI Filmmaking: The Creation of Ghost Warrior" if you're willing to embrace the philosophy of lone wolf production. In that, it is brilliant. It provides enough proof that creativity can thrive in the garage/cabin/basement/bedroom of one man. One man can go it alone. Whether he should or not is a different story. There's a reason why professional writers, musicians, and sound people exist. Not everybody is up to the task of filling every role.
An inspirational how-to book about a visually impressive, but otherwise mediocre short film - imho, of course. A+ for the book. C- for the movie. Anyway, that's my $0.02 on Kaze. :)
12 December 2004, 07:39 AM
Roberto, I have wondered the same thing about the best book on writing short films. I don't have the exact answer, but at least it shouldn't be hard to find it, because there are very few books dedicated to it. There are probably hundreds of titles on writing feature scripts, but only 4 or 5 on writing short scripts - at least that I have found on Amazon.com.
The one that looks the most interesting to me (based on description and reviews) is "crafting short screenplays that connect" by Claudia Johnson. If you do a search for "short screenwriting" on Amazon, you will find the other titles.
Good luck, and if you check them all out, please let us all know which one is the best! :)
12 December 2004, 06:44 AM
My personal favorite book on storywriting is called "Story", written by Robert Mckee: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0060391685/qid=1104215928/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/002-2787361-0000066?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
It's not specifically for short films but it is an excellent resource on storywriting...
If you want to go right back to the roots, get a copy of Aristotle's Poetics
01 January 2006, 05:00 AM
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