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On Film Making: An Introduction To The Craft Of The Director

995 words - 4 pages

Behind the many actors, producers, and cinematographers within the motion picture industry, there are the film directors: masterful storytellers, skilled visionaries, the glue holding the basis of production together. Among such examples are the Martin Scorseses, Alfred Hitchcocks, and Quentin Tarantinos of Hollywood, well respected icons who are appreciated and studied by those interested in the craft of filmmaking. I, a hopeful amateur currently studying film, do not (and should not) expect to easily reach the ranks of such idols, let alone be lucky enough to have myself compared to them down the road. Hoping to be able to, one day, take my storytelling aptitude into the world of cinema, ...view middle of the document...

Structured into two parts, the first half of this book covers the construction of a story, building on ideas and understanding the narrative structure of the screenplay. The first few chapters are all about discovering the essence of a well put together story; unlike most books I have read on filmmaking, which glossed over the writing process within a chapter or two, this really goes into the details of character, dramatic tension, the “unity of action,” the “act of doing/reacting,” expotition, etc. Student exercises are presented in each chapter to help practice the topic of discussion; for example, in a chapter on dramatic construction, a set of questions ask the reader to establish obstacles for characters put in certain situations to practice cause-and-effect. If I had time, I would have done a few of the exercises because they seemed fun and helpful.Then, when finally getting to the actual screenwriting section of the book, sample script excerpts are given to illustrate the culmination of ideas from this section, which was a nice way to wrap.
Moving on to the second half of the book, titled “Film Grammar,” which covers the
directorial process. Unlike previous books I’ve read, this spends much more time describing the mise-en-scene than the actual process of principle photography. Its amount of detail prepares to reader for the process of filming by spending so much time on the pre-production phase: the pacing of the screenplay, planning out the shots based on location and action (detailed examples of storyboards are provided), the camera used as a tool, etc. Citizen Kane is broken down by a storyboard/script side-by-side comparison to illustrate the details of this section.
What I appreciate the most about this book is Mackendrick’s overall statement throughout, first quoted within the introduction:
“Film writing and directing can not be taught, only learned.”...

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