Sunday, 30 November 2014

1001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die)

Film editor, Jonathan Keogh started piecing this together in February of 2013. It was finished in 2014. The video contains over 200 more titles that those featured in the book, 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, edited by Steven Jay Schneider, because Keogh felt they complemented the video.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Interview with Paul Schattel

Paul Schattel is an American screenwriter, director, producer, editor, lecturer and a trained journalist. He is based in Asheville, North Carolina, where he founded Harrow Beauty Motion Pictures, a boutique video production company. Paul has made three feature films, Sinkhole, Alison, and Quiet River. He has also lectured and taught classes in directing, screenwriting, acting and video editing in university settings across the Southeast, as well as in NYC and Los Angeles.

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I was raised in 1970s rural Alabama, in the US. It was a cool place to grow up, actually, but, like anywhere else, it could be troubled. Alabama has a unique sort of low self esteem—it has a problematic past and is often characterized as backwards, and sometimes it really does earn that description. So I have a love/hate relationship with Alabama—so much unrealized potential, so many misguided priorities. I remember reading about sensitive little Kurt Cobain growing up in rural Washington, and identified with him quite a bit. We were about the same age.

What kind of a family did you grow up with?

I had a loving mother, but there was a darkness, a mental illness—paranoid schizophrenia, actually—that kind of took over my family. It's hereditary, and just by genetic luck I seemed to have been passed over. But my mom's side of the family were devastated by it—my aunt was full blown mentally ill; my mother's illness progressed as she got older, and even my brother was afflicted. He died just this year, from a very basic, treatable condition that got much worse because he refused
to see a doctor.
   As a matter of fact, I addressed my family's illness in a script for an upcoming movie—Your Ass Is Grass, which is in development now with True Blood's Carrie Preston. It's about a woman struggling with mental illness who is caught up in a brutal home invasion. And when she impulsively decides to get even, things start getting really dark. But it was my way of addressing the affliction which damaged my family.

Where did you go to school?

I am a product of public school in Alabama in the 1970s. I attended a Catholic high school for two years but then was asked to leave. College was a public school in Alabama—the University of Montevallo. It was kind of like the Athens, Georgia of Alabama—a place where freaks and hippies and artists were welcomed. Most of my lifelong friends came from this place.

When did you first take an interest in storytelling?

Thank you for using that term, rather than the more typical 'writer' or 'director.' Storytellers do their thing across various media, and that's what I do, too. I've always wanted to be a storyteller—I have little elementary school notebooks with drawings and stories in them.
   The very first story I ever wrote was about a fly fisherman who gets swept down a raging river. He almost drowns and then somehow wakes up on the shore, wondering how he was saved. He looks over to briefly catch a Sasquatch disappearing into the trees.

What was your first paying job (in any field)?

First paying job was a dishwasher in an ice cream/fast food parlor in Hoover, Alabama. I quickly moved up to cook and have enjoyed cooking ever since. But then I was fired for goofing off.
   The weirdest job I ever had was as a night cleaning person in a small town KMart in Alabama. Let me tell you, there is no more desolate feeling than eating lunch at 2AM in an KMart employee break room in Jasper, Alabama.

You’ve made three feature films. Which of them taught you the most?

My debut film Sinkhole (2004) taught me the most, just by virtue of being the first. It was also the most ambitious—it was shot on 35mm and tightly plotted and very precise and all that.
   My second film, Alison, was more loose—it had a more non-linear, Gus Van Sant kind of energy, and my third, Quiet River, is a chamber piece—an eco-thriller set in small town North Carolina.
   I like regional films—I think of them almost as literary thrillers, like mystery novels from a prolific writer. All of the films were back door pictures, meaning I made them when a larger budgeted project fell through. I've been chasing bigger budgets for a while but they tend to collapse (or get delayed) before they truly get going. It's been frustrating, which is why I created a Kickstarter project for my fourth feature film, American Breakdown. You can talk about making movies, I've learned, or you can just go ahead and make movies.

Do you include Hitchcock-like cameos of yourself in your films?

Ha! Actually, I am in Sinkhole, but only because we needed another extra onscreen (my back is to the camera). I really dislike being in front of the camera, and have a great respect for those who can do it well. It ain't easy!

Your film Sinkhole has been described as a “rural noir.” We’re more accustomed to noir stories played out in a big city. Does noir work in the countryside? Was this a case of you making your story fit the available resources, rather than the other way round?

Sure, noirs can work anywhere—look at the recent Cold In July, which is also a rural noir—it takes place in East Texas. Or Inherent Vice, which is kind of a beach noir. I do like the countryside—it's my territory. I can own it, so I'm confident there.
   I'm really drawn to darker, rural stuff—bands like The Drive By Truckers and Uncle Tupelo get me going. I like the clash of modern sensibilities against rural structures that may have been in place for decades, which is one reason I now live in Asheville, NC. Ten minutes outside town, down the right road, and you're suddenly decades in the past. You can make stories anywhere. If you've had dance training, for instance, you can make a great film set in that world—look at Black Swan.

You have a Kickstarter campaign running until December 3, aimed at funding another feature film called American Breakdown. Could you tell us a bit about that project?

American Breakdown is a dark comedy about a struggling country musician, who gets stranded in a small Southern town, and how he has to come to terms with both the town's eccentric residents and his own screwed up psyche. I like to call it a 'redneck Woody Allen film' or compare it to something the Coen Brothers might find worth shooting. But you can see the same patterns—small towns, incongruous psychology, identity fluidity and even gender fluidity. It's a mind trip.

What are three things you wish someone had told you about making films when you were starting out?

One: Take your time. There's no rush, and putting out hurried work is certainly not the best way to proceed. Be patient.

Two: Even though it may seem you're working in a void, you're not. The film world is a small town; everyone knows everyone, and you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Three: Study story more than you think you should. I trusted myself and my talents (and did okay with it), but if I had had more preparation and storytelling sophistication, I would have made more of an industry splash. Trusting your talents is

great, but knowing technique is important, too. You can't be a noble savage in film.

If you had to suggest just one screenwriting book to a newbie writer in Adelaide, which one would it be?

I really liked John Truby's The Anatomy of Story. It has a pretty neat 22 point breakdown of story considerations that seems to be fairly comprehensive. It's not a blueprint, but more of a methodology of looking that digs deep in a simple way.

What are your ten favourite (favourite, not ‘best’) movies of all time?

Most (not all) Kubrick films are mandatory.
Blue Velvet (1986)
Boogie Nights (1997)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Eraserhead (1977)
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
Wise Blood (1979)
Badlands (1973)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)
Repulsion (1965)
So many wonderful movies.

What’s next for Paul Schattel?

I'll move on to American Breakdown, then Your Ass Is Grass. I also have a twisted historical fantasy novel I'm working on—In The Dark All Cats Are Grey. It's about a kid from (guess where) rural Alabama who gets caught up in the early 20th Century boom in spiritualism and then goes down the crazy occultist rabbit hole. It's dark and kinda gothic, and completely unfilmable.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bruce Joel Rubin on 'My Life'

My Life did not have a huge following. I don't know the actual numbers of people who saw the film, but the power of the connection between those who did and me was enormous.
   The reviews were beyond-belief cruel. The studio sends you a packet of all the reviews from your movie across the country, and I started reading those reviews, and one after another was a below-the-belt punch. I was on the floor for
months after that movie came out. I thought it was the biggest failure I had ever been involved in.
    And then, about nine months later, a woman comes up to me at a party, and she says, "My husband died of cancer a year ago, and my son couldn't speak about it. He was twelve. He's now thirteen. I now have cancer, and I have six months to live."
   I'm just kind of reeling as she's saying this.
   She says, "About a week or two after your movie came out, my son and I went to see it. When the movie was over, we went back home, and he was sobbing. He crawled into my lap, and he and I had the dialogue that I needed to have to leave this world. It would not have happened without your movie, so thank you."
   Something happened to me at that moment: I realized I made the movie for her. And it was enough.

Bruce Joel Rubin, as quoted in Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories

Thursday, 27 November 2014

"Resonant Chamber" -

Animusic was founded by Wayne Lytle back in 1982, after he envisioned algorithmically synchronized music and animation. Virtual instruments perform with precision timing. It's like records where you can see the music.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Empathy, Neurochemistry, and the Dramatic Arc

The emotionally charged story recounted at the beginning of Dr. Paul Zak's film—of a terminally ill two-year-old named Ben and his father—offers a simple yet remarkable case study in how the human brain responds to effective storytelling.
    As part of his study, Dr. Zak, a founding pioneer in the emerging field of neuroeconomics, closely monitored the neural activity of hundreds of people who viewed Ben's story.
   What he discovered is that even the simplest narrative, if it is highly engaging and follows the classic dramatic arc outlined by the German playwright Gustav Freytag, can evoke powerful empathic responses associated with specific neurochemicals, namely cortisol and oxytocin. Those brain responses, in turn, can translate readily into concrete action—in the case of Dr. Zak's study subjects, generous donations to charity and even monetary gifts to fellow participants.
   By contrast, stories that fail to follow the dramatic arc of rising action/climax/denouement—no matter how outwardly happy or pleasant those stories may be—elicit little if any emotional or chemical response, and correspond to a similar absence of action. Dr. Zak's conclusions hold profound implications for the role of storytelling in a vast range of professional and public milieus.

Monday, 24 November 2014

J.J. Abrams: On Filmmaking

J.J. Abrams (Star Trek Into Darkness, Lost, Super 8) fills us in on balancing intimacy with hyperreality, why TV leaves room for surprises and the best advice he's ever been given.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

What makes a screenplay "work"

Gordy Hoffman published an interesting article on the Bluecat Screenplay Competition website recently. The thrust of the article is that every successful movie is successful because it taps into some key element of what the mass of people have on their mind at a point in time.
   I'm not sure I agree with all the analysis, but this makes interesting reading nonetheless. The conclusions are all fresh reminders of what we, deep down, already know.

  • Don’t be afraid to give the audience what they want.
  • Have stakes that make the conflict in your story matter.
  • Theme is an essential element to conveying an even tone throughout. 
  • Meet and exceed your audience’s expectations of what a movie can be.

What do the 10 Highest-Earning Original Screenplays have in common?

Of the top thirty-seven highest grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation), only ten are original screenplays that aren’t sequels, prequels, or Fantasia. Read on to see what they have in common.

10. Independence Day (1996)
box office $564,541,300

What made it work?
Cultural zeitgeist.

Writers will forget sometimes that they products of their environment. With only four years until the new millennium, Independence Day was the doomsday movie that no one realized they wanted. Sure it’s hokey and the science is silly, but at the end of the day that’s how most of the world was in 1996. Don’t be afraid to give the audience what they want. 

9. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969 )
box office $575,046,500

What made it work?
Likable Characters.

The characters of Butch and Sundance are altogether iconic, relatable, and nuanced. When you’re writing your characters, don’t neglect to give each the attention they deserve. Every character should feel like a real person.

8. Ghostbusters (1984)
box office $579,957,500

What made it work?
Genre transcendence.

On its surface, Ghostbusters could be an action movie. Or horror. Or comedy? Sci-fi? Instead Ghostbusters transcended genre completely, telling an original story with clever world building and amazing characters. Without Ghostbusters, who knows if we’d have films like Galaxy Quest or Shawn of The Dead.

7. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
box office $721,493,300

What made it work?
Reverence for the classics.

Raiders of the Lost Ark takes the best of classic films like Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, and Treasure of the Sierra Madre, and combines them with the pulp action of the 1930′s serials. The result is a film that is often lauded as the finest ever made. When writing your original spec, be prepared to borrow from the best.

6. The Sting (1973)
box office $726,514,300

What made it work?
Reveals that are surprising yet inevitable.

This is the second George Roy Hill directed film to make this list with Paul Newman and Robert Redford starring. The advice there is to stick with what works. Storywise, The Sting is best known for its complicated yet engaging plot. Following the exploits of two confidence men and their vendetta against a gangster played by Robert Shaw, every scene leaves the audience guessing and wanting more.

5. The Lion King (1994)
box office $726,543,300

What made it work?
Emotional range.

The Lion King would be a completely different movie if it was only a story of animals getting along and singing about the food chain. Thankfully the writers pushed a more ambitious story. With Mufasa’s death, Timon and Pumba’s antics, Nala and Simba’s love story, this little animated movie about lions touched upon very human emotions. Don’t be afraid to use a range of emotions to further your story.

4. Avatar (2009)
box office $792,630,400

What made it work?
A fully realized world the audience has never seen before.

Most great films are a classic story set in a wholly original world (Lord of The Rings). Others are original stories set in a classical world (The Artist). Other films are neither, pushing an incoherent mess (The Room), or a tired by-the-numbers formula (Home Alone 3). People go to movies to be entertained, and in the film making process the screenwriter is the first “at bat.”

3. Titanic (1997)
box office $1,104,116,900

What made it work?
High stakes.

All stories have conflict. What separates good storytelling from bad storytelling are the motivations of the characters. It’s one thing to write a movie about the sinking of the Titanic, it’s a far greater thing to write “Romeo and Juliet on the Titanic” as James Cameron once pitched his movie. Each of the movies on this list have stakes that make the conflict in their story matter. This is a good reason why poorly written action movies can feel boring. If there’s no reason to care about the characters’ wants/needs, what’s the point?

2. E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
box office $1,156,112,800

What made it work?
Universal themes.

E.T. isn’t just a story about an alien trying to get home. It’s also about a boy coping with his parent’s divorce and the inherent loneliness of being a child. Nearly everyone can relate to the fear of being lost and alone as a child, and while many films have tried to emulate E.T., no film has done it better. Theme is an oft-overlooked element of screenwriting, yet essential to conveying an even tone throughout. The more universal your theme is, the more likely your screenplay will have mass appeal.

1. Star Wars (1977)
box office $1,451,674,700

What made it work?
Epic storytelling.

Everything about Star Wars is epic. From the costumes to the periphery characters, the movie makes no apologies for being larger than life. The same can be said for all the movies in this list. They met and exceeded their audience’s expectations of what a movie could be and as a result, became cultural phenomenons.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Brit List 2014

The Brit List, the industry selection of hot unproduced screenplays, is compiled by a combination of UK producers, agents, distributors and sales companies. This year there were 140 entries with 34 scripts making the grade.
   In order to qualify scripts must receive three or more votes, be unproduced (not shooting) at the time of the list’s circulation, be written by a non-US writer and not have featured in previous Brit Lists.
   Romantic comedy Matinee Idol by writer Richard Galazka and sci-fi Gateway 6 by Malachi Smyth lead this year’s List. Both scripts recorded nine industry votes to top the list.
MATINEE IDOL by Richard Galazka (unrepresented)
Producers: Rooks Nest Entertainment
Genre:  Romantic Comedy
Summary:  Inspired by his favourite rom-coms, a cinephile tries to win a girl’s heart by pretending to be someone he’s not, only to learn that it takes more than grand gestures to turn fantasy into reality. 

GATEWAY 6 by Malachi Smyth (JAB Management)
Producers: Sentinel Entertainment
Genre:  Sci-fi
Summary:  Set in the future, on a war-ravaged Earth, four soldiers man the last bastion – an outpost in a sea-covered continent – awaiting relief or the enemy, whichever comes first.  But as the empty weeks turn to months, a paranoia descends that tests relationships to breaking, especially with the arrival of a mysterious boat…
You can read the logline for all the Brit List finalists here.

Interview with Alli Parker

Alli Parker is an Australian writer, script reader, filmmaker, production secretary in TV production, a beater with the Blackburn Basilisks Quidditch Club, president of the Victorian Quidditch Association, and an international silver medalist (2014 Global Games) at quidditch. Also, she likes chocolate.

Where were you born, and where did you grow up?

I was born in Melbourne, Australia, and that’s also where I grew up.

What kind of a family did you grow up with?

I feel I am incredibly lucky to have a family that is so relentlessly supportive— everyone backs each other one hundred and ten percent, every time. Looking back, I was brought up in a family that had a lot of passion for things, and I feel that that’s certainly rubbed off on me.

Where did you go to school?

I went to school in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

When did you first take an interest in storytelling?

I was always an avid reader—from a very young age I always devoured books and stories. I wanted to write novels, but whilst I started with great gusto, I lost steam through the middle and could never figure out the endings. After I discovered Harry Potter, I found a Harry Potter role-playing site that let you create a character and write the stories from their point of view. I wrote solidly there for several years, and during that time I discovered screenplays and realised I’d found my medium.

What was your first paying job (in any field)?

My first ‘proper’ paid job was at Hoyts Cinemas. But the very, very first job I had was working in the canteen at my local football club.

These days you work as production secretary on TV. What was the career progression that landed you in that job?

That’s a tough one—in actuality, I’ve been working in the industry for years now. For this specific circumstance, I returned from London in 2012 and exploited contacts that I had to get a hold of several email addresses of various line producers in Melbourne. I managed to get a gig as a runner on the end of the first series of House Husbands, then was fortunate to piggyback my jobs, one onto the other, until I was offered the role as a production secretary on a film called Healing. I’ve continued on as that role since, although I do detour into script assisting at various points and hope to stay there more permanently.

• You keep fit by playing quidditch. You play for Blackburn Basilisks, you’re president of the Victorian Quidditch Association, and a member of the 2014 national side (the Drop Bears) that won the silver medal in Canada earlier this year. I don’t know anything about Quidditch (other than it looks unusually violent for something invented by literary types). Isn’t it irritating to have to lug a broom around everywhere?

Mrs Doubtfire practises for a game of quidditch
Quidditch is a wonderful distraction. For someone who has no background in sport, to be involved in a game that needs no experience to start playing, it’s been a fantastic adventure. The broom is not a weapon, you just have to stay on it (not as hard as it seems) and, as a Beater, I play an adapted form of dodgeball—throwing balls at people to stop their attempts at goal. It’s probably too wordy and lengthy to describe on the page, but I can guarantee you that there is likely a quidditch team near you—so get down to a game and check it out if you’re interested!

The Drop Bears in Canada, 2014.  Alli is back row, sixth from the left,
not counting the tall gentleman standing immediately behind her.
Alli in action back home.

You attended the London Screenwriters’ Festival in 2012. Give us your impressions of the Festival.

I’ve attended four out of five Screenwriters’ Festivals, the only one I’ve missed being earlier this year (2014) as I was working at the ABC
   As a result, I can’t be too specific because there is always so much going on! I’ll give you some condensed highlights: 
   The first year I went was 2010. I met the people who became my core group of writing friends whilst I was in London, including my future co-writer, who I now am convinced I can’t live without! 
   The second year I went was 2011. I was fortunate enough to meet David Reynolds (who wrote Finding Nemo and The Emperor’s New Groove) in between sessions, and proceeded to gabble uselessly at him about how much I adore The Emperor’s New Groove, only to have him respond with equal vigour and excitement, to the point where we quoted the same line of the movie together. 
   The third year I went was 2012. I proved to myself my dedication to writing when I snuck out of a session with David Yates (director of the last four Harry Potter films) to queue up for speed pitching! 
   The most recent time I went, in 2013, I think the biggest highlight was seeing how far delegates I’d met in the first year had come since we first piled into Regent’s College and decided to introduce ourselves.
   It’s a fantastic experience and an amazing community of people, but I’ve learnt that if you’re going from Australia or America, it really pays to have something properly ready or something that you really want to get out of it. And take advantage of all the opportunities that come your way.

With your heavy schedule, do you get much writing done these days?

It’s tough to manage writing around a (minimum) 50 hour working week and quidditch at the weekends, but I’ve long since discovered I get intensely grumpy when I don’t write, so it is really for everyone’s benefit that I do. It’s really become about making it a priority.
   I’m lucky in that my co-writer is based in London, so usually by the time I get home from work, his day is starting so we can do a few hours of writing before I’m completely wiped out. Then I generally play catch up on the weekends and, because I’m often restricted in what writing I can get done during the week, manage to get a lot of things done in one hit, if I’m having a particularly disciplined day.
   At the moment, I’m working on a rom-com feature script as well as a sitcom pilot. Then there are all those other ideas that are bouncing around and being developed—there’s always something on the go.

What are three things you wish someone had told you about working on a TV show when you were starting out?
  • People are unpredictable, so just try to roll with the punches.
  • If you enjoy your job, make sure you really enjoy it, because the next one might not be so good.
  • Relish the breaks—the time you get off between jobs can be a distant memory when it’s 1am and you’re still in the office, waiting for them to call wrap.

If you had to suggest just one screenwriting book to a newbie writer in Adelaide, which one would it be?

Up until a few years ago, it would’ve been Screenwriting Updated by Linda Aronson, which covers all the basics of most structures that are around these days and is a fantastic introduction to screenwriting. But these days, it’s definitely Into the Woods by John Yorke, which is my absolute saving grace when it comes to structure, character and development.

What are your ten favourite (favourite, not ‘best’) movies of all time?

In no particular order (and for all differing qualities): 
Adventures of Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (1994)
Mary Poppins (1964)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
500 Days of Summer (2009)
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Love Actually (2003)
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
What If

What’s next for Alli Parker?


Here's the last few minutes of Australia's match against Canada at the Quidditch Global Games 2014. If Australia win, they have a guaranteed silver medal.

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Friday, 21 November 2014

Ron Shelton on 'Bull Durham'

Bull Durham was a first draft. Only one draft has ever been written. I wrote it in about ten weeks. I wrote it without an outline, without any notion of where I was going. I went down to the Carolinas and drove around to see the minor-league ballparks. I wanted to see if that world had changed since I had played in the minor leagues years earlier, and I discovered it hadn't. It was as unglamorous as when I played: Women came to the ballpark, these players were heroes in these small towns, everyone was afraid of being fired, and these dreams were probably never going to be realized for most of these guys.
   I drove from Durham down to Asheville, North Carolina. I drove on the back roads,
and I had a little mini-cassette recorder. I said, "Well, if this woman tells the story, what would the opening line be?" And I wrote, over a 140-mile drive, "I believe in the church of baseball." I'd drive five miles. "I've worshipped all the major religions, and most of the minor ones." I'd pull over for a hambuger, keep going. By the time I got to Asheville, I had dictated that opening two-page monlogue. A couple months later, I got back and pulled that out, and I transcribed it. I gave her the name Annie because of "Baseball Annie," and I had a book of matches from the Savoy Bar that I'd been at. That was Annie Savoy. I just kept writing, and I wrote the whole script. Gloriously, the producer read it and said something that producers are incapable of saying these days. He said, "I want to shoot it now," as opposed to, "I'll give you my notes next week." A few days later, we were shooting.

Ron Shelton, as quoted in Tales from the Script: 50 Hollywood Screenwriters Share Their Stories

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Ridley Scott on filmmaking

This all audio, no moving pictures. Okay? The (muted) sounds in the background come from Thelma & Louise, which Ridley Scott directed and here discusses at length.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Pixar list of recommended books for interns

I received a request for a link to the Pixar list of recommended books for interns, but failed to locate a copy on Google.
    So, I contacted Brian McDonald, who, I knew, has a couple of his own books on the list. And, prompt and helpful as always, Brian sent the following the next morning. The original version is numbered 1) to 25), but pairs the books by William Goldman together as one, and the same for Brian McDonald. I have given each book it's own number.

1) The Art of Dramatic Writing, by Lajos Egri

2) On Film-making, by Alexander Mackendrick

3) On Directing Film, by David Mamet

4) In the Blink of an Eye, by Walter Murch

5) Adventures in the Screen Trade, by William Goldman

6) Which Lie Did I Tell?, by William Goldman

7) Hitchcock, by Francois Truffaut

8) 20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them, by Ronald Tobias

9) The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media, by Bruce Block

10) Film Directing: Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen, by Stephen Katz

11) Invisible Ink, by Brian McDonald

12) The Golden Theme, by Brian McDonald

13) Making Movies, by Sidney Lumet

14) Conversations with Wilder, by Cameron Crowe

15) Final Cut: Art, Money, and Ego in the Making of Heaven's Gate, by Steven Bach

16) Comics and Sequential Art, by Will Eisner

17) Understanding Comics, by Scott McCloud

18) Cinematic Motion, by Steven Bach

19) The Five C's of Cinematography, by Joseph Mascelli

20) Film Editing, by Karel Reisz

21) The Conversations, by Michael Ondaatje and Walter Murch

22) Trickster Makes This World, by Lewis Hyde

23) A Short History of Myth, by Karen Armstrong

24) On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft, by Stephen King

25) The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp

26) The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim

27) The Writers Journey, by Christopher Vogler

If you haven't read these, take advantage of the commercial Xmas season to buy yourself a present. (Maybe buy a different book for a friend who writes. You can swap later and get double the value.) I'd recommend reading them all, starting with the book covers shown, in sequence. If you don't know Invisible Ink, you'll be out of the conversation at any number of screenwriting get-togethers. Buy it now.