Ah, summer reading. Whether it’s your high school’s cadre of classics like The Scarlet Letter or Invisible Man, or an editorial’s best beach reads replete with Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner’s latests, something about the summer makes us want to read, read, and read some more.
And if you work or want to work in the entertainment industry, there are certain books you must read. We have a full list of our favorites on the resources page of our website, but we wanted to highlight a few top picks for you to add to your bookshelves this summer!
FOR INTERNS AND ASSISTANTS: The Hollywood Assistants Handbook is a quick and easy guide to becoming a kick-ass assistant in Hollywood. It’s funny, accessible, and co-written by Peter Nowalk (creator of How to Get Away With Murder) -- so you know his tips work!
FOR TV HISTORY BUFFS: Top of the Rock: Inside the Rise and Fall of Must See TV by Warren Littlefield takes you back to Thursdays on NBC, before there were a zillion streaming platforms and 500 shows in “peak TV.” This insider history of the broadcast network at its height will not only take you down memory lane, but educate you on how the TV business works. Another interesting read that will give you a better sense of how theHollywood studio system operates is DisneyWar by James B. Stewart.
FOR LA NEWBIES & RECENT GRADS: For good measure, you should probably read The Mailroom by David Rensin, the book every person employed in the industry read when they were first starting out. For something a little broader and more fun, check out Adult Stuff: Things You Need to Know to Win at Real Life by Matt Moore and Robert Boesel. It’s cheeky but helpful -- full of hard truths about what it’s like to have student loans, a low-paying job, and live in one of the most expensive cities in the country. Adulting is hard! Cuddle up with it when you need that fun friend who just gets you.
FOR ANYONE WORKING IN TELEVISION: What the heck is a rating? No, seriously...for something that makes or breaks a TV show and is responsible for the livelihood of hundreds of people, you’d think we’d all have a better understanding of it! The TV business is complicated, but Chad Gervich breaks it down in layman’s terms in Small Screen, Big Picture.
FOR STORYTELLERS: Save. The. Cat. Seriously, if you’re a writer, development executive, producer, agent, manager -- or aspiring to be any of the above -- you need to understand storytelling and specifically, storytelling within a screenplay. There are a ton of books that do this, but none more tried, true, and easy-to-read as Blake Snyder's Save The Cat. This is the screenwriting book you’ll pull off your shelf on a regular basis throughout your career for quick dose of inspiration and sanity.
FOR INSPIRATION: Speaking of inspiration and sanity, sometimes you need a book that’s a little less “How To…” and a little more “Someday, that’ll be me!” We have a tie here, and it was hard to narrow this down to two. But there’s no limit to how much you can read! Created By is a great anthology of interviews with TV creators. It’s an inside look into how different writers mastered their craft and some behind the scenes stories from some of your favorite shows. Our other favorite is Sit, Ubu, Sit. You may remember that as the vanity card from Family Ties -- but it’s also the title of writer/showrunner Gary David Goldberg’s memoir. When you’re pondering how you’ll ever make it in the industry, just think about a man who lived in his van, struggling beyond struggle, but went on to create beloved TV shows and movies. Plus, there’s a dog in the story! And if you follow us on Facebook, you know we’re big dog fans here at Hollywood Resumes!
-- Angela Silak & Cindy Kaplan