On Film-making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director

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Macmillan, Aug 31, 2005 - Performing Arts - 291 pages
18 Reviews
A priceless examination of the filmmaker's craft, from the renowned director of Sweet Smell of Success

After more than twenty years in the film industry as a screenwriter, storyboard editor, and director of memorable films such as The Ladykillers, Alexander Mackendrick turned his back on Hollywood and began a new career as the Dean of one of the country's most demanding and influential film schools. His absolute devotion to the craft of filmmaking served as a powerful impetus to students at the California Institute for the Arts for almost twenty five years, with a teaching style that included prodigious notes, neatly crafted storyboards, and handouts containing excerpts of works by Kierkegaard, Aristotle, and others. At the core of Mackendrick's lessons lay a deceptively simple goal: to teach aspiring filmmakers how to structure and write the stories they want to tell, while using the devices particular to the medium of film to tell their stories effectively.

In this impressive volume, edited by Paul Cronin, the myriad materials that made Mackendrick's reputation as an instructor are collected for the first time, offering a chance for professionals as well as students to discover a methodology of filmmaking that is challenging yet refreshing in its clarity. Meticulously illustrated and drawing on examples from such classic films as North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, and Touch of Evil, Mackendrick's elegant lessons are sure to provide inspiration for a new generation of filmmakers.
  

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Review: On Filmmaking: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director

User Review  - James Lark - Goodreads

An incredible text by a master, honest enough to acknowledge the limitations of such a book at the same time as being the most comprehensive yet concise guide to filmmaking I have read. Based on a ... Read full review

Review: On Filmmaking: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director

User Review  - Sereena - Goodreads

Useful but a bit waffly. Read full review

Contents

The PreVerbal Language of Cinema
3
What Is a Story?
9
Exposition
22
A Technique for Having Ideas
36
Exercises for the Student of Dramatic
44
When Not to Write a Shooting Script
66
Once Upon a Time
76
Activity Versus Action
86
The Director and the Actor
179
The Invisible Imaginary Ubiquitous
197
Mental Geography
204
Drawing Lesson
218
The Axis
235
ShottoShot Relationships
251
Camera Coverage
258
Camera Movement
272

Dramatic Irony
92
Plausibility and Willing Suspension
111
Cutting Dialogue
160
Citizen Kane
280
Epilogue
289
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Alexander Mackendrick directed several films, including The Man in the White Suit, which earned him an Oscar Nomination for Screenwriting. He died in 1993.

Paul Cronin is the editor of Herzog on Herzog.

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