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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (1 Jun. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571211259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571211258
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 29,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Invaluable... I can easily imagine a college without a film program building a curriculum around these writings' -- Martin Scorsese

'This book is as vital and enjoyable for the watcher of films as their potential maker.' -- The Times

'This eminently accessible collection of teaching notes and sketches lays bare the myth of moviemaking' -- Empire magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Alexander Mackendrick's On Film-making is a masterclass in film-making from the acclaimed director of Whisky Galore and The Ladykillers.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Speech involves the rationalising of our feelings and impulses, something film directors of the silent era discovered they could catch at first hand. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. J. Mcdonald on 16 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
written by someone who obviously has mastered his craft and considered his own techniques. the writing is clear (as you would hope from a film maker, after all film making is about communication!) and the concepts are explanied with examples and anecdotes. loads of gems, ie: definition of drama is anticpation mingled with uncertainty.

I would put it up with Story by Robert Mckee, however, On Film Making deals less with dialouge and formula and more about the craft and the techniques that keep the audience drawn into the story presented as a film.

*****
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 16 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book does not really tell you all you need to make a film. However, it is a brilliant book about writing, and an insight into how films are made. The main focus throughout the book is on storytelling, and how to tell a good story, from the initial conception of the idea right through to considering how it should look on screen. As a writer, I found these tricks of the trade were superbly useful in focusing me on what was truly important, as well as giving me a few very practical ideas on how to go about editing. The examples are often very entertaining as he gives you an insight into his experience without ever being patronising. The only niggle is that he spends a lot of time telling students off for making bad films. But I imagine that he must have been fairly annoyed at the way they kept making the same mistakes. These he highlights with easy-to-memorise slogans. A worthwhile purchase especially for script writers, but not a technical guide by any means.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Ashaye on 24 Dec. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fantastic book, if I had read this years ago I would have saved time and money on lesser books. My copy is full of passages underlined and sections highlighted. His classes must have been amazing. Love this book and cannot recommend it highly enough.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Hackshaw on 3 April 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am currently finishing my final year at university, studying Film Production Technology, and although it is both slightly depressing and a testament to this book, I have learnt more within these pages than my 3 years at university, and I have not yet finished the book!
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in filmmaking, particularly directing and writing.
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Format: Paperback
Alexander 'Sandy' Mackendrick was an acclaimed director whose films include 'The Ladykillers' and 'Sweet Smell of Success'. Mackendrick stopped filmmaking because of disillusionment with the industry and instead went to teach about filmmaking. This book is an edited compilation of his teachings.

The first section is a rich, analytical look at what makes a good story, and therefore a good film, by examining dramatic construction and how good plots work. Mackendrick is never dogmatic, but emphasises that a good film will always convey things visually rather than through dialogue, the latter being used to explain what has already been seen. Mackendrick also advises to begin a story with character studies rather than a rigid plot, because the plot will often follow from character development.

The second section is a great overview of 'Film Grammar', including how shots are composed and how camera angles are used to effectively convey a story. This is brief and basic but is in keeping with Mackendrick's emphasis on individuality and creativity that he stresses throughout the book, and it is an overview, not a prescription. Indeed, he states: "If you are able to understand such things, then you need no longer think in terms of 'rules'" (p. 289). The implication is that by covering the basics, you can increase the scope for creativity.

Mackendrick also claims: "as an instructor, the only things I can teach are what you already know, those ideas and opinions that if you were to stop and consider for more than ten seconds, you would probably intuitively understand at the most basic level" (p. 291).
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. Hardie on 7 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm not joking when I say this could be the greatest film making book ever made. Explaining how good and useful this book is would take hours.

The quality of my work improved so much you have no idea (especially writing) If you think you know a lot about writing this book will teach you 10x more. The quality of your screen writing will go way up!

I cannot recommend this book enough, it's practically a film making bible.
This book covers so much information from writing to production all the way to post production.
Like I mentioned the main thing this book will improve is writing. It will vastly improve your film grammar and the way you think about film as well as your shots.

It covers all the basic and advanced points. I honestly don't know how I got on without it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By li on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Many people recommend this book to me,
and it is a very useful guide in story-telling,
directing and other aspect of film-making.
i highly recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fab on 15 Oct. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is the best book on the subject I've read so far.

This is a masterpiece and I would recommend it to anyone interested in film-making.
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