Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics

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Elsevier/Focal Press, 2008 - Performing Arts - 572 pages
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Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics is a comprehensive manual that has inspired tens of thousands of readers worldwide to realize their artistic vision and produce well-constructed films. Filled with practical advice on every stage of production, this is the book you will return to throughout your career.

Directing covers the methods, technologies, thought processes, and judgments that a director must use throughout the fascinating process of making a film. It emphasizes low-cost digital technology, which allows cutting-edge creativity and professionalism on shoestring budgets. And, recognizing that you learn best by doing, the book includes dozens of practical hands-on projects and activities to help you master technical and conceptual skills.

Just as important as surmounting technological hurdles is the conceptual and authorial side of filmmaking. This book provides an unusually clear view of the artistic process, particularly in working with actors. It offers eminently practical tools and exercises to help you develop credible and compelling stories with your cast, hone your narrative skills, and develop your artistic identity. This book shows you how to surpass mere technical proficiency and become a storyteller with a distinctive voice and style.

This edition has been streamlined and thoroughly revised for greater ease of use. Other updates include:
* current information on digital technology
* an expanded section on directing actors that cross-references thirty exercises
* new questionnaires to help you pinpoint a film's aesthetic needs and assess where your vocational strengths lie; and much more.

The companion web site includes teaching notes, checklists, and useful forms and questionnaires:

* Comprehensive manual on the creative, technical, and interpersonal aspects of directing
* Includes dozens of practical exercises and projects to help you improve your work and gauge your progress
* Realistic advice and encouragement from a highly regarded filmmaker, mentor, and teacher

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This is a well written, comprehensive book on directing techniques, BUT, take it from a film student who knows, it won't have much relevance if the reader has not attempted to make at least one short film at professional production standards and has gone through all of the production stages: pre-production, production and post-production. This was my text book in film school and frankly not much sunk in until I made my first 15 min. short film (as opposed to student projects). I have since re-read parts of this book and now I totally get what the author was talking about. Also, missing in the discussions on pre-production is the power of pre-visualization software which is now available at affordable prices for starving filmmakers. 3D pre-vis software can produce a combination shot list and storyboard with scenes and shots in shooting order rather than story order and with both the floorplan and key shot printed on the list as well as camera height and lenses. This new technology makes much of the discussion about three separate reports: shot lists, floorplans and storyboards obsolete. The new Story/shot list will become the Director's and DP's bible when production starts. All the other discussions about shot choices, scene staging, lighting designs, etc. are timeless. They will always relevant. 

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About the author (2008)

Michael Rabiger has directed or edited over 35 films, founded the Documentary Center at Columbia College, Chicago, and was Chair of its Film/Video Department. Now Professor Emeritus, Rabiger has also been presented with the Preservation and Scholarship Award by the International Documentary Association. He has given workshops in many countries, led a multinational European documentary workshop for CILECT, the international association of film schools. As Visiting Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he taught idea development, directing, and advanced production. When he retired 2001 to write full-time, Columbia renamed its documentary center "The Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary." In 2002 he was made Honorary Professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; in 2003 awarded the 2003 Preservation and Scholarship Award by the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles; in 2005 the Genius Career Achievement Award by the Chicago International Documentary Festival, and also in 2005 was made Professor Emeritus by Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of the enormously successful, Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics (Focal Press), now in its fourth edition, and Directing the Documentary (Focal Press), now in its fifth edition. He is also the author of Developing Story Ideas (Focal Press), currently in its second edition. He is currently writing a biography of Thomas Hardy.

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