November 23, 2020

Rough Cut Roundup - November 2020

Rough Cut Roundup is a monthly Q&A series featuring the Department of Film & Media Arts community. 

What is a book about media or media-making that you would recommend? 

Miriam Albert-Sobrino, Assistant Professor 

Julio Medem’s Vacas (1992) is quite frankly one of the strongest media influence in our film work (Also Sisters). His use of magical realism; his depiction of a rural Spain that is closer to our experience of the North; along with his use of liminal spaces as mirrors of the psychological process, are topics that we strongly connect with. For those interested in getting a flavor of his work, I strongly recommend Dr. Loxham’s text Cinema At the Edges: New Encounters with Julio Medem, Bigas Luna and José Luis Guerín. An extraordinary analysis of the work of three key Spanish filmmakers whose distinct voices have found a dedicated audience that seeks to learn more about art cinema. 

Sonia Albert-Sobrino, Assistant Professor 

Although more of a photographic survey than an actual book, Cindy Sherman, Imitation of Life (ed. Phillip Kaiser) is an extraordinary exploration of Sherman’s cinematic approach to still photography. The powerful stories contained within the borders of her still pictures, as well as Sherman’s direct references to cinema, are incredibly useful in helping young filmmakers understand the importance of symbols and tropes in the context of performance, imitation, mimicry and post-feminism in film. Worth mentioning are the interview with Sofia Coppola and Kaiser’s essay on "Appropriation, the Cinematic Impulse, and Beyond."

Matthew Bettencourt, MFA Student

An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood by Neal Gabler is a wonderful book that I'd recommend if you're into Hollywood history. I found it fascinating to learn about how the major studios became dominating forces in the industry. 

Eden Buxton, MFA Student

I love the book Like Brothers from Mark and Jay Duplass. It's great to read work from some funny boys who love independent filmmaking. They're real nerds, too, which is fun.

Craig Caldwell, Professor

It's always hard to recommend your own work, but my book Story Structure and Development: A Guide for Animators, VFX Artists, Game Designers, and Virtual Reality is available online to all students and faculty via the Marriott Library. 

Michael Edwards, Assistant Professor

A book I really enjoyed is Failed It by Erik Kessels. It’s a nice reminder that all great work has its roots in failure and how it’s an inseparable part of a functional creative process. It also includes lots of interesting examples of artists and work which turn failures into advantages.

Lien Fan Shen, Associate Professor

Susan Napier’s Anime from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle

Chris Lippard, Associate Professor

I have been using Alexander Mackendrick's On Film-Making in various classes for a long time now. He is a bit crotchety but he makes many excellent arguments and hhis writing style and way of telling anecdotes still holds my interest. On the critical side, a relatively recent discovery that I think any film person would enjoy is Michelle Raheja's Reservation Reelism: Redfacing, Visual Sovereignty, and Representations of Native Americans in Film.

James McAllister, MFA Student

In the Blink of an Eye is a fantastic book about film editing from the award-winning editor, Walter Murch. This book has helped me to think about visual storytelling and the power of editing. 

Simon McEnteggart, Assistant Professor (Lecturer) at the University of Utah Asia Campus

I strongly recommend Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics by Michael Rabiger & Mick Hurbis-Cherrier as the go-to book for producing any sort of film. It's an enormous book full of fantastic information, covering the full range of the production process from beginning to end. It's my film bible, and a book that I return to again and again regardless of experience. 

Merritt Mecham, Program Assistant

Although not explicitly about filmmaking, I recently read the classic Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better book on writing and the creative process. It's a must-read for screenwriters. 

Andrew Patrick Nelson, Assistant Professor and Chair

I recommend Edward Buscombe's Injuns! Native Americans in the Movies. Buscombe is the greatest scholar of Western cinema. Here he asks the question, "Where do white people's ideas about Indians come from?" You won't find a more insightful examination of the American Indian's depiction in popular art, literature, and film.

Steve Pecchia-Bekkum, Assistant Professor (Lecturer) 

Feature Filmmaking at Used-Car Prices by Rick Schmidt. 

Parker Rawlins, MFA Student

My recommendation would be the biography George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones. I read it for the first time this summer and was drawn in immediately, reading through it all in a couple of weeks. George Lucas was the first filmmaker who inspired me to want to make movies myself, so reading about his professional and personal journey was fascinating, particularly the chapters detailing the production of the original Star Wars trilogy. If you’re a fan of film history, biographies, or the personal side of the filmmaking process, I highly recommend giving it a read.

Sarah Sinwell, Assistant Professor

I would recommend that all mediamakers read Mark and Jay Duplass's book Like Brothers (2018). Brothers Mark and Jay Duplass are probably most famous for The League, Baghead, Transparent, The Mindy Project, and Togetherness. But, this book also provides a lot of hints about how to make it in the independent media industry, how to collaborate in the writing room and on set, and how to seek alternative modes of distribution and exhibition. Happy reading!

Last modified on November 23, 2020