From a question I answered on Quora this morning

by arie posin


Movie Making: What are some good learning resources to learn the movie making process?

The best resources for learning the movie-making process are the movies themselves. 

Take a look at the Sight and Sound list of the "Greatest films of all time." (Many would quibble with this list, or even with the concept of a list of "greatest" films generally... Still, it's as good a place for a beginner to start as any). 

I'd start by watching the top 10 films ten times each. Watch each movie the first time just for pleasure. Then on subsequent viewings, try to determine what it is the movie/director is doing to evoke a certain emotion in you, what is it that you're thinking from scene to scene, what is it that's making you think and feel a particular way (i.e. camera, lighting, design, performance, music, etc). Watch once just for the script and dialogue, watch once focusing on camera and lighting, watch once for editing, watch once for score, etc. 

Keep notes, especially as you discover more and more on each subsequent viewing. And try to honestly assess which element of the process you're finding most interesting. There are many deeply rewarding jobs on a movie besides directing, and learning the one you personally connect with most is critical.

Then I'd pick your favorite movie of those ten, and watch ten of that director's other movies.  What do the movies have in common? What is his technique for eliciting thoughts and emotion from film to film? What are the differences? Also, I'd watch them in the order in which they were made, so you can track the evolution of the director's own process. What is he bringing from one movie to the next? What did he discard? What did he seem to learn?

As far as books, the basic information can be found in "Hitchcock/Truffaut" and in "The Five C's of cinematography". And if there's a book of interviews with whoever your favorite of the ten directors ends up being, I'd get that book too (though I suggest waiting until you've watched and studied all their movies on your own as described above, so you have your own point-of-view before you read what was in the mind of the director).

Remember, all any filmmaking books can teach you is what's teachable, and that's two percent of what you need to know. 

The rest is inside you. 

Watching and discovering the movies will be invaluable to helping your own approach as a director to emerge.