• Thomas Zoeschg


Hello all you good people! Happy Memorial Day (yes, yes… a few days late; still counts though!)

Today I thought I’d share a few essential books with you that helped me along the way for the past years. I’m a huge fan of books and I always try to build a little library with the essentials. I think it’s wonderfully therapeutic to take the time and sit with a book, a cup of coffee, and forget about the world for a few moments.

I’ll list the books and give you a quick run down of how they helped me, specifically. I’ll link to the Amazon page where you can buy them for yourselves as well - This is not an ad by the way, this is legit gratefulness for these authors and their work!


A LIFE by Elia Kazan Find it here:

This book is a wonderful insight into all facets of life of the legend himself, the actors director: Elia Kazan. He began his career on stage and after a long trial period he became a member of The Group Theatre in New York City. He wasn’t much of an actor but then started directing and took off; no surprise there, with Harold Clurman as mentor. But beyond his early life, the director talks about his career and life in New York City and Los Angeles, with insights into the Broadway and Film industry in those years. It is one of the longer books on this list but absolutely worth it for a behind the scenes look at the entertainment industry.

SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder Find it here:

I’m a firm believer in working very closely with writers in shaping story, structure, and characters. Therefore, Save the Cat by Blake Snyder, is a wonderful introduction to the writing world. Even though the book is laid out super simply, since it’s goal is to give you an absolute formula for the sellable screenplay, the book really addresses all important aspects of screenwriting in an approachable and understandable manner for the newbie.

DIRECTING FEATURE FILMS by Mark Travis Find it here:

I have a special place in my heart for this book! I even wrote to the writer about it. So here it is: This is the single greatest source of inspiration and how-to’s you can find out there! I have used this book as road map and guide from pre-production to post production on my first feature film! I have used this book daily, from bonding techniques with the crew during table reads, to performance triggers with the actors! If you only get one book on directing, make it this one!


This one is pretty obvious! If you go through the indescribable amount of pain of making a film, short or long, you wanna make sure that it gets out there! I found this book to be a wonderful starting point when navigating the first step in your distribution strategy: Film Festivals. And not to worry if the term distribution is intimidating, I’ll suggest a couple books on the matter in the next book list.

YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero Find it here:

Okay, okay - this one isn’t really on directing BUT let me tell you, if you are just embarking on this crazy journey, or you’ve been at it for a while, it’s nice to read something that brings your mood back up! In addition, this book is super entertaining! It’s a quick read with lots of knowledge, feel good moments, and offers just an all around good approach to challenging times in ones life. Check it out, it’s totally worth it!!

This is a great start but as I made this list I realized there are many more books that need addressing. So there will be more book lists for you in the future. I hope you get to enjoy some of these and please let me know what I missed or if you had any experiences with the books above, in the comments below!

Thank you all and I hope you all had a happy Memorial Day!


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