On Directing Film Paperback – 30 Jan 1992
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"Passion, clarity, commitment, intelligence--just what one would expect from Mamet."
"Passion, clarity, commitment, intelligencejust what one would expect from Mamet."
From the Back Cover
Calling on this unique perspective as playwright, screenwriter, and director of his own critically acclaimed movies, House Of Games and Things Change, David Mamet illuminates how a film comes to be. He looks at every aspect of directing--from script to cutting room--to show the many tasks directors undertake in reaching their prime objective: presenting a story that will be understood by the audience and has the power to be both surprising and inevitable at the same time.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For Mamet as a script writer, the story is key with his love of older movies for this aspect showing continually. Getting the beats of the acting, visuals, editing of scenes and ensuring these do nothing but support the key motivations and storyline of any scene and script is the key discipline to be learnt under filmmaking by Mamet. While at times he overstates some of his points, and reconfirms his dislikes of Hollywood and its inability at many levels to understand what makes a great movie plus method acting with its over emphasis on "what is my motivation?", there is a major lesson that is pretty well thumped into you by the time you have finished this book. That is be endless in your focus of questioning what are you trying to show or get to in the story through any dialogue/camera shot/visual edit/sound addition. The end result will then become an automatic process of continually challenging your team and yourself with "Do I really need this?" and "If I do this, what does it really add?" on everything and paring down to the essence of the story.
Applying this to each scene in any film will in turn make the whole movie better simply because you will have discovered the overall story you want to tell and how. The loser will be all the superfluous concepts and motives that many filmmakers burden and overload their films with, which in the process simply confuse or are irrelavant. For that very hard to learn lesson alone, this short book is worthy of being read by all filmmakers.
The bulk of the book is based on a series of lectures given at Columbia in 1991, when Mamet was new to the film industry and had ideas which he expressed a little radically. This book has to be read in conjunction with more Mamet, in particular True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor and Three Uses of the Knife (Diaries, Letters and Essays): On the Nature and Purpose of Drama, as well as with an understanding of the principles called into question (eg The Kuleshov Effect and Eisenstein's theory of montage) or it will seem radical and exaggerated.
Despite the above, this book hits one of the most important concepts in film theory and art right in the bullseye, raising the question "Where is the intersection of preparation and freedom, of planning and creativity?".
If read carefully and with an open mind, this book may just set you off on a journey.
A slim book that is very readable, and a must read for budding film-makers (and actors) that will liven up any debate on the subject.
p.s. My favorite Mamet quote (but not from this book): "All human relationships are either coercive or manipulative." Think about that.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book for filmmakers! I use it for study! THE BEST!Published 4 months ago by Alessandro Wingfield
Very pretentious and tediously written. Some good ideas in here thoughPublished 13 months ago by Stoph
An interesting angle on film direction, a good read for any aspiring filmmakers.Published 17 months ago by Jack, the Film student