Saturday, March 5, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions #2

What books about film/animation can you recommend?

This is a lie of course.

No one in the animation business has ever asked me to recommend a book. No animation student I have ever met has ever even given me the slightest indication that he could actually read. I have had a couple of exceptionally promising ones bang rocks together in a way that made me think they might like me to recommend a book about the art form. Or maybe just get them bigger rocks.

What the heck, here’s a fast list anyway.

My favorite book about film is, Frank Capra: Name Above the Title

After that in no particular order (cause you should read/memorize all these at the very least)

Donald Graham’s Composing Pictures

John Ford: the man and his films

The Illusion of life: Disney Animation

Anthony Mann (Weseleyan film)

MGM: When the Lion Roared

Ernst Lubitsch: Laughter in Paradise

The Animator’s Survival Kit.

Hitchcock's Notebooks: An Authorized And Illustrated Look Inside The Creative Mind Of Alfred Hitchcook

Hitchcock's Secret Notebooks

John Huston, Interviews

The Vilppu Drawing Manual

Hawks on Hawks and Howard Hawks, Interviews

The Cinema of Michael Curtiz

Drawn to Life: 20 golden years of Disney master classes

Conversations with Wilder

50 years and Only One Grey Hare.

Dream Worlds

The Five Cs of Cinematography

Film Art: An Introduction

ART by Gardner (all of em. Don't be afraid. You'll like knowing what your talking about for a change.)

Film History; An Introduction
Any Autobiography of any Director whose work you like.

At least a book or two about the work of each of the artists listed below.

Michelangelo, Pontormo, Rubens, Titian, Da Vinci, Delecroix, Giotto, Vermeer, Manet, Poussin, Degas, Rembrandt, Caravaggio (a personal favorite for MANY reasons), Goya, Botticelli, Monet, Raphael, Friedrich, Giovanni Bellini, Munch, Picasso, Cezanne, Kandinsky, Durer.

Stay away from “how to” books by folks that don’t “how to” themselves. Remember, most “animation historians” have an ax to grind when they start to write the book. They make a living by getting access to a studio’s material and often (perhaps unknowingly) turn into little more than PR men for a studio’s library. How the material is presented can have a huge influence on a fresh artist. And not a good one.

Let the materials speak to you for themselves without someone telling you if it’s “great”, “classic” (what does that even mean?), or “the right way”. You’ll know which materials feel effective to you. Trust that feeling and press your studies in that direction.

That is a list off the top of my head of books and artists I constantly refer to. I’m sure I left off twenty that will wake me up tonight. I’ll add to the list now and then.

Now get off the internet and read a book.