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The Director's Idea: The Path to Great Directing Paperback – 22 Mar 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 370 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (22 Mar. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240806816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240806815
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 15.2 x 22.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,197,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"The Director's Idea explains in precise language how cinematography influences every aspect of story-telling and character portrayal in a film--it will certainly help young directors understand the importance of making critical choices along the way. It is especially useful to talk about camerawork in the context of a book about directing--linking the technical and creative aspects is the key to great film-making."
--Michael Ballhaus, Cinematographer, THE GANGS OF NEW YORK and WORKING GIRL

"Ken Dancyger interprets my films accurately, intelligently, but most importantly for me, with a great deal of heart. He allows himself to be gripped by a character, to be moved by a powerful performance, and that is why he so clearly understands the priority of emotion in my films, that the personal journey defines the political story, and not the other way around. The beauty of Dancyger's book about directing is that he writes simultaneously as an impressive intellectual and as a lover of cinema. That is rare and refreshing"
--Margarethe Von Trotta, Director, ROSENSTRASSE and MARIANNE AND JULIANNE

"This book takes a scholarly look at moviemaking...but creates a keen appreciation of the art as a result." - What Digital Camcorder

"The idea behind the book is that each director's unique vision begins with an idea, a unifying principle that will carry through every decision in all of his or her films." - Back Stage West, June 22, 2006

"This book is a compendium of information about directing and what makes a good (or great) director. What kept us reading was the author's use of well-known films and directors to illustrate and complement the concepts he presents in the book." -Camcorder & Computer Video

About the Author

Ken Dancyger is the author of numerous books on screenwriting, editing, and production. He conducts screenwriting forums and workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia. A past chair of Undergraduate studies in the Department of Film and Television at NYU, he is currently Professor of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The first half of this book breaks down the author's view of competent, good and superior directing. The second half then focuses on a dozen or so directors films to illustrate his views.
I didn't find much new material here that I've not read elsewhere, but the breakdown into three levels is very thought provoking. This is the main thing I took from this book as it makes you think about how you might be able to improve your own directing and decisions you make throughout the process.
Not a "how to" book but an interesting read that you can take a lot from.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
some interesting stuff. mostly shallow & redundant filler 24 April 2007
By ginsu - Published on
Format: Paperback
The first 100 pages of this book are interesting. If you are looking at theme. And how filmic language can support theme. THe authors insight into filmic technique and language is a bit obvious. but He has a nice way of looking at theme.

But after that the book gets stuck in the mud and doesnt move forward. The author rehashes and fills up 200 more pages or so with about 5 more pages of new insight.

I would hate to take a class from this guy.

P.S. What you want to read instead is "Making Movies"
by Sidney Lumet. If I compared the two books I would give Dancyger 1 star.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Waste of time 6 Dec. 2007
By Yann Farmine - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have read the first part of the book and I fin the analysis very poor. The kind of books with manay quotations and examples without the in depth analysis. This book can be summarized in probably 25 pages and you would still wonder why bothering wirting a book like that. It's a personal view that could be a blog but not a reference book. Far from it. The movie examples are sometimes to so badly understood...A definitely don't buy recommendation. I can't believe that the editor is not reading this stuff...
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
"I know everything about film. I've seen over 240 of them." 26 Sept. 2007
By TC - Published on
Format: Paperback
look for typos on (at least) pages 7 and 27 (McQ and The Lost Crusade, respectively), and also blatent misinformation about the film Force 10 From Navarone on page 101 (it is not "to Navarone" nor is it by Michael Anderson). dancyger likes to fit directors into his 3 neat little categories: competent, good, and great. it's like the beginning of dead poets society when keating has the boys rip pages from their poetry books that describe a mathematical graph system for rating the quality of one poem versus another. i wanted to rip many pages out of this book. for students who are trying to learn, he chooses obscure and sometimes foreign films to prove a point; that point is then lost on his audience. he also makes a point of listing movies, as if to prove he has seen many films. he has some catching up to do- dwight k. schrute has seen over 240 of them. he imposes his opinion like it is fact. in the world of dancyger, terrence malick is a "great" director, meaning up with the likes of coppola, scorsese, woody allen, spielberg AKA the masters of this generation. not to knock malick, but he averages one film a decade, most of which barely blip the radar, garner a nomination or two for cinematography, but never win. dancyger has never made anything of importance other than write books telling other people how to do it. those who can't do, teach.
I would not recomend this to anyone 14 Jun. 2012
By Thadius Lambert - Published on
Format: Paperback
I got the book to write on a project that I'm working on and for the most part, it gave me insight for a few aspects of a director's vision.
although this book was written for a film related profession,I dont see outside readers even being interested in how he rates movies. It is my opinion it's 10 chapters of ranting and another ten of clear idol worship.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Don't waste your money! 2 Nov. 2006
By TheMatador - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is one of the worst books I have read on directing.

Do yourself a favour and don't waste your time with it.

It basically involves the author giving a rundown on his favourite films and if he likes the film he claims they are great directors.

He rates his films according to directors being competent, good or great.

If you want to learn about directing read any of Judith Weston's books or Lenore DeKoven's Changing Direction for working with actors or some of Steven Katz books for blocking and shot selection.

Don't waste your time on this one.

Hey Ken, how about giving me my $29.95 back!
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