by Tanya Mar,

Useful Books

Here is my list of books, which impacted my perception of video creation, creativity and life in general.

1. About filmmaking

Robert Rodriguez “Rebel Without a Crew”
I got this book in my hands for the first time in my first year at university and it inspired me with the fact that most of the ideas in it were ALREADY clear to me. 
When Robert told how he was running on the set with a broken tripod and an old camera —it didn’t seemed so hard to go and shoot something by yourself.

The book consists of a detailed description of Robert’s whole cinema-journey.
Don’t be afraid when he’s explains how he suffered editing with a VCR — we don’t have those problems nowadays. At the same time he gives plenty of useful tips and tricks which are still topical today.
Also in this book you will find his diary which contain a comprehensive description of the creative process he went through making his first theatrically released movie “El mariachi” which was shot for pennies (he got the money by selling his body to science — drug trial) in a small Mexican town and this gave Robert his ticket into the world of big-time movies.

I have reread this book twice: once on the 4th year of my studying at university and, again, 3 years after graduation (that’s not so long ago) and each time I saw new facets to Robert’s story which I noticed thanks to my own real world experience of making videos.

Here is a video with some highlights from book.

David Lynch Catching the Big Fish
I read this book not so long ago. If you are familiar with works of David (I was his big fan while I was in high school) — you definitely have to read this book.
It contains extremely practical & interesting thoughts on the movie world, searching for ideas and implementing them. At the same time he praises transcendental meditation, which he has been practicing for more than 30 years, but you can easily ignore that theme if it is not of interest to you. (I think nowadays it will be enough if you at least sometimes make some physical exercises, walk in the open air and don’t sit whole day in social networks or with a gadget in hands.)

Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei is one of the greatest Russian directors who is respected in the international arena too. There are even rumors that somebody, strongly inspired by Tarkovsky, won an Oscar as a result.

Here is a page where you can find some books about Andrei’s life, ideology and method and here is a short video for those who would like to take their first steps as filmmakers.

2. About Art

Julia Cameron “The Artist’s Way”
I read this book recently and was impressed! Practically on every page I caught myself thinking ‘hell, yeah!’ because the author had found a way to express those experiences and feelings I’d already had, but could not put down into precise words.
On the one hand this book is very easy to read, but on the other it contains a tremendous number of principles which help to wake your Inner Artist (it doesn’t matter if you were not “linked” to art before).
I use a few methods from this book in my everyday life.

Austin Kleon “Steal Like An Artist”
Don’t be confused by title. It is intended to attract attention.
This is a small book, with a lot of illustrations. At the same time it contains a lot of new ideas which you can use and compare to your own vision.
Also check out his new book,“Show Your Work!” — really useful advice how to share your works and details about artistic production. Probably you know most of these tips or at least heard before, but the value of this book in a systematic approach.

3. About Life

All the books listed below contain NO mysticism, religion, NLP, etc.
These books are mainly based on people’s life experiences and their attempts to find patterns which repeat from generation to generation, or newly emerging trends that we should try to identify and to be prepared for ASAP.

Meg Jay “The Defining Decade”
I regret so much that I hadn’t read this book until I was 27; I wish I had read it much sooner.
Nevertheless, I happen to follow instructions from this book instinctively, in many ways. The author writes that decisions which you make and things that you experience before you are 30 will define your whole life.
It demonstrates the examples of different people who were interviewed by the author over the course of many years.
Fast and easy to read. Highly recommend.

Stephen Covey “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
I found this book on my last year at university. I threw it aside a few times but each time I came back to it. Honestly, I haven’t mastered all the skills from the book (also I read only a third of a book). BUT! There are a few intro chapters, which contain ideas that have significantly impacted me.
So you can follow my way: just start to read it and “take” the thoughts which you will find useful. Then, we’ll see.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb “Antifragile”
This is a comprehensive book explaining the fragile and antifragile features which many objects and events in the world inherit, including health, work, creativity, the economy, etc.
This book’s genre could be described as “practical philosophy” so you should not expect an easy reading. At first I found it pretty hard going: I encountered terms and illustrations which required analysis and THINKING, but step by step I adjusted to it and it became easier. I can assure you that this book has contains so many helpful ideas and instructive stories.

P.S. This is just my short list of recommendations; I will gladly expand on this list if you leave your recommendations in comments below. Thank you!

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