Jun 26th 2012 6:48PM


Howard Suber is not a household name. Most people have probably never heard of him. During his 42 years at UCLA, Suber has taught over 65 different courses in film and television, including screenwriting, directing, producing, film history, theory, and criticism. He founded and chaired UCLA's Critical Studies and Ph.D. program in the history, theory, and criticism of film and television. He was a founding director of the UCLA Film Archive, dedicated to the preservation of American film history, where he helped build the largest collection west of the Library of Congress. He created and chaired UCLA's current Film and Television Producers Program, which is focused on the realities of the modern motion picture and television industries.

Letters to Young Filmmakers: Creativity and Getting Your Films Made is Suber's second book. It is an invaluable collection of letters to aspiring directors, producers, screenwriters and others who want to make independent or studio films emphasizes that what is required of a professional in the world of film is not just technique, but an understanding and ability to deal with the realities of how films get made:

"Howard Suber's understanding of film storytelling fills the pages of this wise, liberating book. Much of it is surprisingly contrary to what 'everyone knows.' A remarkable work."

Francis Ford Coppola

The great thing about Suber's approach is that each letter is a mini essay that can be read like a series of blog posts or reference book. You can pick it up at any point and dive right in. Now, if you are looking for a technical how-to book on filmmaking, this is not the right book. Instead, Suber's Letters offers an insightful and refreshing perspective on the creative process in the context of actually getting films made. From the introduction, Suber explains:

"This book is about the process of becoming a professional filmmaker.

Professional filmmaking involves (1) the creative process, and (2) the process that makes creation possible. Novelists, painters, or poets can wake up every morning, immediately begin creating and continue doing so all day long. If they have the inner resources and will, they can do this every day of their lives. They don't need anybody else's permission or support to begin working, and they can complete their creative works all by themselves.

This book is based on the idea that the combination of creativity and an understanding of the realities of how films get made are what makes one a professional filmmaker."

Here are some additional excerpts:

Strategy and Creative Freedom
I think all creative people should try to figure out where they're going. Creativity is like sailing. You can just embark and see where it takes you, which has a certain kind of appeal. Or you can have a destination. You still have the potential for an interesting voyage, but when you're done you'll know you've arrived someplace. (pgs. 50)

Write what you know? (the answer is no)
The kind of knowing that you need is not gained just through experience or research. It comes from compassion, which is one of the creative person's most valuable tools. With sufficient compassion, you can "know" almost anything well enough to make a movie about it. (pgs.40)

We are giving this book away for free tomorrow! Follow us on twitter and tweet the following message to enter the random drawing:

Enter to win "Letters to Young Filmmakers" from @studionow. Please RT. Info at http://bit.ly/LnZk1a

Full giveaway details available here.

AuthorDaniel Collins