I love books on filmmaking. I devour a few books a month on the topic. Half Price Books and Amazon.com used are my new best friends. I can find rare and hard to find books for next to nothing. This week I’m getting two used books that I’m looking most forward to.

First on deck is ALIENS THE ILLUSTRATED SCREENPLAY. Talk about rare, this was released in the 1980’s and only in the UK. James Cameron’s opus, often forgotten that it’s his because it’s part of someone else’s SciFi series. Storyboards and concept art along with the shooting script in full color; I can’t want to have this one to my collection. I love illustrated screenplays. There’s a new ALIEN ILLUSTRATED SCREENPLAY from 2002 from the UK that I’ll try to acquire next, but it’s still a little too high a price for me.

Speaking of which, a rarity I may never be able to afford is THE ILLUSTRATED BLADE RUNNER with a ton of “Ridleygrams”, thumbnail sketches by the director himself. As well as some Syd Mead graphic design essentials and this is a book that sells used in crappy condition for over $300. I still want it for my favorite film of all time, as I have most of the other books regarding this film.

My 2nd purchase this week came via discovering it even existed by seeing it on Phil’s shelf in his office, as our filmmaking book library is very similar with a lot of the same titles. I fell in love with the Wachowski’s V FOR VENDETTA adaptation of the graphic novel. I had no idea there was even a book covering “from script to screen” for this. Since I watch this movie at least twice a year, I figured I would thoroughly enjoy a book on the making of the movie.

Another hard to find essential reading is another UK only publication. I love my 2 copies of Robert Rodriguez’s REBEL WITHOUT A CREW, but in less than 2 years after its publication, he wrote another book about the making of his 2nd, even harder to find film, ROADRACERS, a Showtime original feature for cable. His book “ROADRACERS : THE MAKING OF A DEGENERATE HOT ROD FLICK” sells also north of the $300 mark and is well sought after being that it was only published in the UK. I know I’ve wanted to read it just to see more about the process of someone’s SECOND feature after having done the first on indie, with a then unknown Salma Hayek. In theory, it should be a fascinating read, but I might never know as the price is extremely high.

And my final rare book mention is the non-fiction book FAST TIMES AT RIDGMONT HIGH by Cameron Crowe. Yes, he is a filmmaker and he wrote the screenplay to the movie, but this book is an expansion of an undercover article he wrote for Rolling Stone that the film and book are based on. Cameron Crowe, at 29 years old, could still easily pass for a high school student and he did research for this article and eventual book for several months. This one goes for $50 on paperback or so because it never got reprinted. I saw a physical copy for sale at a rare book store and that’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to reading it.

I love my MAKING OF STAR WARS coffee table book. Some reviewer sold their copy here in Ohio on Amazon and I snagged it for only a few dollars and it was a $75 hard cover. This fall the comprehensive MAKING OF EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is due out to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of that film. Hopefully I can get this new book on another bargain hunt.

Categories: articles

Peter John Ross

A filmmaker, a dreamer, and the world's only Dan Akroyd Cosplayer


Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder