Well, read these books, actually…

            Cinematography isn’t just about lighting, composition, color, camera movement and the post-production supervision of the work.  It also encompasses a variety of management skills, the mastery of which will determine your effectiveness as an artist and collaborator.  Everything any one of us sets out to achieve revolves around how skillfully we address the money-time-equipment-people conundrum.  As the process can sometimes be akin to a solving a liquid puzzle, any advantage is appreciated.  You’ll find many in each of these volumes.

            Clear, concise and entertaining, each has taught me indispensible lessons as they apply to the less exciting but equally critical aspects of what we do.  I’ve been handing out copies to members of my crew for years and they always receive universal appreciation.  I highly recommend them to you, too.

            If possible, read them in the order listed:

            Extreme Ownership: How Navy SEALs Lead and Win

            By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

            St. Martin’s Press, 2015

            The Dichotomy of Leadership

            By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

            St. Martin’s Press, 2018

            The Big Picture: Filmmaking Lessons From Life On the Set

            By Tom Reilly

            Thomas Dunne Books, 2009

            Jocko Willink’s weekly podcast – aptly titled Jocko Podcast – examines many of the same leadership and management topics in great detail.  He’s a wonderfully entertaining host and his guests are always inspiring.  Check it out when you get the chance.

            Tom Reilly spent his filmmaking career as an Assistant Director and Producer.  I had the great pleasure of working alongside him early in my career and even then I knew he was someone to learn from.  Every crewmember will get some useful information from his book.  But first it should be read by every cinema student – and film executive – on earth.


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