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Letters to Young Filmmakers: Creativity and Getting Your Films Made Paperback – February 1, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions (February 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615930639
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615930630
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,299 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Letters to aspiring directors, producers, screenwriters, and other creatives from one of the world’s leading teachers of film. Suber 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.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

If anyone can be called the “Yoda” of filming, it’s Howard Suber. For 46 years, Howard Suber has taught generations of screenwriters, directors, producers, and film scholars at UCLA’s celebrated film school, and his former students are today creating films and television programs and teaching film studies throughout the world.

He created and for many years chaired UCLA’s current Film and Television Producers Program, which is focused on the realities of the modern film and television industries. He has team-taught with, or brought into the Producers Program, many of the most important movie studio heads, agents, producers, lawyers, and executives in the industry.


More About the Author

Howard Suber was the founding chair of the Film and Television Producers Program at UCLA, where he has been a faculty member for more than 47 years. He has taught thousands of young filmmakers in more than 65 different courses covering most areas of film and television as both arts and industries. In recent decades, 2/3rds of his students have been screenwriters. He has also taught a several-week workshop for the winners of the Independent Feature Project, West's screenwriting competition.

Suber's book, THE POWER OF FILM (thepoweroffilm.com), produced reactions such as these:

"Howard Suber is one of the foremost teachers of film in the world."
--Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival

"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

"For years students in Howard Suber's legendary classes at UCLA begged him to write a book. Now that he has delivered it, filmmakers, scholars and anyone else with a serious interest in film can rejoice. A fascinating and thought-provoking work."
-- Alexander Payne, Director/Screenwriter, Sideways, About Schmidt

"What Aristotle did for drama, Howard Suber has now done for film. This is a profound and succinct book that is miraculously fun to read."
-- David Koepp, Screenwriter, War of the Worlds (2005), Spider-Man, Mission Impossible, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."

Suber's book, LETTERS TO YOUNG FILMMAKERS/CREATIVITY AND WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET YOUR FILMS MADE produced reactions such as these:

"Letters to Young Filmmakers is full of wisdom, insight, anecdote, and knowledge distilled from years of experience, relationships, and contempla­tion. His genuine understanding of how the film business operates makes his advice to young filmmakers sound, inspiring and, above all, useful."

-- Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival, 1990-2010; Chief Creative Officer, Tribeca Enterprises.

"Wise, kind, and direct. Howard Suber's advice is as piercing as Don Corleone telling Michael who not to trust, and just as vital. I LOVE this book!"

-- David Koepp, screenwriter Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible, Spider-Man, War of the Worlds, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

"This master teacher of film provides us with a multitude of brilliant insights and sound, sage, advice. He has mentored generations of writers, directors, and producers with his intelligence and compassion for the art of film and the industry that sometimes manages to produce it."

-- Tom Sherak, President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

"Those of us lucky enough to work in film exist at an often vexing inter­section between art and commerce, but also between creativity and achievability, idealism and practicality, inspiration and dogged persever­ance. The maddening contradictions of what we do to make movies are explored in Letters to Young Filmmakers in a way you won't find anywhere else. Howard Suber was the single most influential professor I had at the UCLA film school. In this sometimes painfully honest and always wise book, he brings decades of filmic and life experience to questions that everyone working in film, whether beginner or established professional, must deal with."

"Suber's in-depth knowledge of film is simply unmatched. This is 50 years of cinematic wisdom expressed with wit, precision and philosophical elegance. An indispensable, inspiring piece of work from a truly legendary teacher who has somehow still managed to remain one of Hollywood's best kept secrets. Not anymore!"

-- Sacha Gervasi, director, Anvil! The Story of Anvil!; screenwriter, Steven Spielberg's Terminal.

Suber has been a consultant and expert witness for every Hollywood studio and several networks and cable companies, especially dealing with issues of screenplay copyrights and creative control, and he has been employed to advise a major studio on screenplays being considered for production.

He was been an Associate Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film, Television and Digital Media, and President of The Society for Film Studies, the national scholarly organization in the field, and has been awarded UCLA's Distinguished Teaching Award and life achievement awards from two film festivals.

Before being asked to develop UCLA's Producers Program in 1987, he devoted nearly 20 years to developing and chairing UCLA's program in film history, theory, and criticism, including creating and chairing the Ph.D. program in film and television. He was also a member of The National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress, which selects 25 films each year for national recognition and preservation.

Suber was the Director and one of the founders of the UCLA Film Archive, which became the largest such institutional collection outside the Library of Congress during his tenure.

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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Elegant and compassionate, this book is more than about making film.
Amazon Customer
Howard Suber's book offers the most wise advice on getting into and surviving Hollywood that I've ever read.
Cynthia Swaeby
From the first page, I knew this one would be the most informative and useful book I've ever read.
Anthony C

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Lund on March 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book has made impact on my life. I have a hard time to know where to start, but let me put it this way:
1 - READ THIS BOOK. You will not regret it - No matter who you are.
2 - Try to understand the concept of Fate and Destiny - It has completely changed my life.

So many "secrets" of Hollywood or the film industry revealed. Secrets about becoming successful and happy. As an example, I want to share a quote from the book - The last paragraph in chapter Rules vs. Principles. It's simple in a way that makes me embarrassed I never thought of it:

"Filmmakers need to figure out which things are principles, which are rules, and which are merely matters of etiquette. Those who break rules tend to acquire fame and glory, while those who violate principles are likely to never understand why they don't succeed."
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jason on April 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As an aspiring screenwriter, I've read too many books on the subject, even books that aren't directly about it. This book is not limited to screenwriting, however, but to any major entity in the business so to speak. If you're reading this review, then I'm assuming you're one of us...one of us...one of us...

Anyway, do yourself a favor and buy this book. This is NOT a how to book. This is zen-like, philosophical book that offers advice on how to survive the cruel, cruel world that is known as Hollywood. Think of Phil Jackson writing a book on basketball (oh wait, he did) and there you have it. If you're looking for a magic pill that will win the big fight, I'm sorry, it doesn't exist. But if you wanna learn how to throw a punch (or dodge one!), check this book out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Swaeby on March 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
Howard Suber's book offers the most wise advice on getting into and surviving Hollywood that I've ever read. He takes the worries and wonders of every young filmmaker and divvies out answers in bite-sized, intelligent, and often humorous responses.
Suber does not offer just a how-to book about film and "the biz," he gives us an eloquent and thoughtful hand to hold, making us just a little wiser as we weather this crazy dream of filmmaking.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By jennifer on March 1, 2012
Format: Paperback
Howard is one of the great minds in filmmaking. His insights into our business are not only true, but useful. Many books will attempt to tell you "how to" but this book gives examples that help you figure out your own path through the business. No one else's road will lead you where you need to go. Instead this great book shows you the lay of the land so that you can make the least amount of missteps along the way. From now on, when anyone asks me about getting into the movie business I will be directing them to this book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Stone on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is by far the most instructive, insightful book about filmmaking I have read in a long time. Most importantly, it is full of PRACTICAL advice and tips which keep the reader on a solid and realistic foundation in an industry which is founded on fantasy, fiction and the impossible i.e. getting a motion picture financed and produced.
It's a great read and not didactic or full of hubris in the way so many books about filmmaking are. Suber tells inexperienced filmmakers how to maintain the integrity of their dreams, their careers, their lives as they practice and make strides in their craft. It's just a very, very good book about succeeding in a very, very difficult industry.

Jeffrey M. Freedman
Screenwriter 'Vivaldi'
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By Padu on March 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Howard knows what he's talking about and doesn't beat around the bush or nothing. He tells you exactly how it is, whether you wanna hear it or not, and he manages to make it beautiful on the way.
I loved it.
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By unnamed on May 27, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a nice follow up to his previous book. wish this author would wirte more and or record more audio commentaries for films
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I must admit, I approached this book with apprehension as I find most "advise" books about the film industry to be nothing more than a narrowly focused how-to look at the author's choices that got them to whatever amazing job they have, or how they made their project, etc.

This is not that book - it's SO MUCH BETTER! Reading each short letter is like eavesdropping on a conversation in the hallway of one of the best film schools in the world, hearing a seasoned mentor talking with a student. But it's not the do this than that sort of story I was expecting. Each letter is about setting realistic expectations, thinking a strategy through, evaluating your options, and breaking down a problem so the student can find their own solution. The book finishes strong, with a very realistic look at the life of a professional in the film business, and a wonderfully succinct look at the complexities of copyright.

This is a must read for anyone seriously considering a career in the entertainment industry.
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