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Passion projects operate within their own economy. One where financial gain is beside the point, investments are expected to be lost, and purity of vision is valued above all else. Passion projects are pieces of art. They exist to exist. Getting them to exist can be the problem, too.

Animation has been with us for a very long time now. People have been drawing sequential, motion-mimicking frames for thousands of years. (Go look at some ancient Egyptian burial murals when you get a chance.) And for the past few hundred years, we’ve been figuring out ways to bring those frames to life ⎯ through spinning discs, flipbooks, and, ultimately, online video streaming services. You might say animation was the earliest form of filmmaking. It’s the medium that first taught us the power of moving pictures. And it continues to be one of the most innovative forms of filmmaking today.

We’ve compiled a list of eight books every filmmaker should read this summer. Some are directly related to the craft. Others are simply examples of great craftsmanship themselves. But all of them will make fantastic companions whether you’re unwinding on the beach or head-down inside your latest project. These suggestions were compiled from our own reading and from the reading of some of our talented filmmaking friends. We hope you find one that, in the words of J. D. Salinger, “Really knocks you out.”

For a lot of people, Vimeo’s launch changed the game. And for a talented few, Vimeo Staff Picks launched careers. Since their inception, the clout of the Staff Pick has only grown. Its influence now extends far beyond Vimeo’s servers. Major Hollywood directors like Wes Ball (The Maze Runner) and David Green (Earth to Echo) got their starts thanks to Vimeo’s nod of approval. And more than a few of our friends have had their lives changed by that now-hallowed seal in the top-left corner.

When things are going well, film ideas lead one to the next. You’re working on one project, and something sparks an idea for another. A perpetual motion machine. But sometimes that machine breaks down, and you’re left trying to pedal your bicycle uphill. Every once in a while, we all need a little boost.

The quickest way to do bad work is to worry about doing bad work. It’s that well-known truth all over again: We move toward what we focus on. At some point, the people who make great things stop worrying so much about making bad things, and they start getting work done, getting projects finished, getting pieces out there. They eschew perfectionism in favor of productivity. They work fast — and fearlessly.

We’re suckers for great documentaries, and there’s no shortage of them right now. From incredible true-crime podcasts (sup, Serial!) to the latest Herzog masterpiece, Lo and Behold, this really is the golden age of documentary. These films are not only fascinating and beautiful, but they’re creating actual change. Recently Brendan Dassey, one of the subjects of the documentary series Making a Murderer, was released from prison after more than a decade. (He was supposed to serve a life sentence.) Serial’s Adnan Syed is getting a new trial. That’s part of what’s so addicting about the form. These stories make a real difference. They throw their weight around.

Movie magic happens in an instant. It’s an alchemy of elements that, for whatever reason, creates something much more valuable than the pieces themselves. And like alchemy, the formula has been sought for generations. So far, no luck. But if there’s one thing we know movie magic does not require, it’s a lot of time.