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ahoydysh
10-20-2004, 06:45 PM
I am a first time director. Will someone please recommend a simple book that discusses the fundamentals of directing. Thanks.

Adam

glassblowerscat
10-20-2004, 07:13 PM
What I say is: Forget the fundamentals of directing! Go for Rebel Without A Crew by Robert Rodriguez (see left) and learn how to do things the crazy way!

Jim Brennan
10-20-2004, 09:15 PM
Film Directing Shot by Shot by Katz. It goes over basic things like not crossing the line, dolly shots, panning, composition.

I liked Rodriguez's book as well. It was very inspirational, but there's not a whole lot of practical stuff in it about directing.

HansK
10-20-2004, 11:26 PM
Yes, Steven Katz's books are great. Highly recommended.

Rodriguez's book is inspirational.

Gil Bettman's book "first time director" is very good. A well written and complete book with many examples and techniques.

J_Barnes
10-21-2004, 07:02 AM
Two books that I would recommend.

Sidney Lumet’s Making movies, and AFI put out a book that was simply comprised of quotes from directors arraigned by subject.

Both were better then any other book I’ve ever read about directing.

glassblowerscat
10-21-2004, 02:57 PM
I agree: Rodriguez is more inspirational than instructional.

I guess that was actually my point (and his): it's better to just do it any way you can, because paying attention to how other people make movies will make your movies just like other people's.

But I'm a learn by doing kind of person.

Ryan

Jim Brennan
10-21-2004, 03:08 PM
I admire Rodriguez for what he did, as well as his attitude. But he did it "his way" after spending some time in film school and making lots of shorts, both on 16mm and video. Now, I've never been to film school, and I did my first short having never read a book about the technical aspects of filmmaking. Believe me, it showed. I am a "just go and do it" kind of guy myself, but it doesn't hurt to understand how things have been done before. You don't have to do them, but at least you can understand why they were done that way. A little reading would have saved me some time and disappointment.

Educating yourself is never a bad thing. You can do t on your own, which can work if it doesn't kill you, or you can try and learn from other people's experiences; which might help you get where you want to go a little faster. Knowledge rarely hampers creativity, it usually enhances it.

amoildani
10-21-2004, 09:15 PM
I have Shot by Shot by Katz, it's a pretty good book, a lot to read, but he's an interesting guy

glassblowerscat
10-21-2004, 09:27 PM
Educating yourself is never a bad thing. * You can do t on your own, which can work if it doesn't kill you, or you can try and learn from other people's experiences; which might help you get where you want to go a little faster. *Knowledge rarely hampers creativity, it usually enhances it.

That's true. I tend to be reactionary about that just because I am exactly the kind of person who will read lots of books and do things like—oh, I don't know—hang out on forums reading what other people think, and never actually get out and make stuff. So I force myself to spend less time studying and more time doing.

Some people are the opposite way, as I think we can all agree from some of the clips we've seen around here. ;) Everyone has different learning techniques, hangups, and pitfalls. That just happens to be one of mine.

Ryan

J.R. Hudson
10-21-2004, 09:39 PM
This will sound weird and I have said this before. I have tried this technique quite a few times and it works.

Find a movie you love and in particular a scene. Now shoot it. Shot for shot. Now put it into your NLE and go to work. Recreate this scene that so inspires you.

Look at it like this. When I was younger I jammed in a band. But getting to that band level required alot of time learning chords and scales from songs I loved and was inspired by. I found that by learning these songs (self taught through Guitar tab) that one day I knew all of these damn things. I could play guitar. Not other songs but make up my own using what I have learned.

The point Im making is. The books are great (particulary what someone mentioned above in terms of crossing the line and blah blah). But the key is to drop the book and get out and start making films. Start shooting. Start composing. Give it a try. Recreate a scene (something realistic NOT PEARL FREAKIN HARBOR ATTACK SEQUENCE) and see what you learn.

amoildani
10-21-2004, 09:41 PM
awesome advice, i never thought about recreating one of my favourite movie scenes...i think i just might

Jim Brennan
10-21-2004, 09:45 PM
I couldn't agree more. There's nothing worse than the paralysis of analysis. When in doubt, shoot it. That's the great thing about DV. Your only investment is time and a few bucks worth of tape. There certainly comes a time when you have to put what you know (or think you might know) into practice.

I like the musician analogy. I've been playing for 25 years. I tried learning other people's stuff, and although I had some success, what it really made me do was go out and write my own music. I based what I wrote at first on the foundation of what I had mimiced (sp?), and it grew from there. I do the same thing when I shoot.

glassblowerscat
10-21-2004, 10:11 PM
Off-topic, but I have to know:

John, is your signature quote from the upcoming movie, Saw?

Jim Brennan
10-21-2004, 10:13 PM
I believe that's from the Road Warrior, no?

Barry_Green
10-21-2004, 10:29 PM
Road Warrior quote.

moe_snodgrass
10-24-2004, 08:04 PM
Find a movie you love and in particular a scene. *Now shoot it. *Shot for shot. *Now put it into your NLE and go to work. *Recreate this scene that so inspires you.


I agree with John. The DVD player is the new film school. Watch all the sequences you love until you can shoot em, *direct the actors, do the make up, wardrobe -- all of it in your sleep.

But I say take it one step further. Go a head and transplant the sequences you love into your own film. Plagarist? Maybe. But yours is a different film with a different script and different dialogue and different actors. And the blocking will end up being different. And you'll have to use a different lens and filters, etc. etc. etc. It will be almost completely unique.

People noticed that DePalma copied Hitchcock right out of the book but nobody really cared. DePalma's and Truffaut's riping-off of Hitchcock was critisized as admiration (which it was) as much as "copying" (which it was). Quentin ripped off for "Reservoir Dogs" but there's no question that he made it his own with the script and casting and his own unique way of working.

Who was the first to use a match cut on two different pairs of legs walking? No one knows. Who cares? It's now part of the vernacular. Who was the first to use a traveling automobile as a transitional wipe instead of a lab-created wipe? In the end it will end up your own because your film is your own. There's nothing (or little) new under the sun.

Jim Brennan
10-24-2004, 08:57 PM
It's not plagiarism, it's homage. Ask Tarantino.

J_Barnes
10-25-2004, 05:13 AM
It's not plagiarism, it's homage. *Ask Tarantino.

Homage is just plagiarism in a fancy hat.

Jim Brennan
10-25-2004, 06:22 AM
Well, no. Plagiarism is an illegal and unethical copying of what someone else has done, in an effort to pass it off as your own. Homage is a creative reference to your admiration for someone else's work. If doing something someone else has done was plagiarism, the first time we did an over the shoulder or two shot, we'd be guilty of it.

J_Barnes
10-25-2004, 07:16 AM
There's a big difference between copying an over the shoulder shot and copping an entire sequence. I don't care what the legal implications are for copying creative work either legally or illegally...it's still copying. Is it legal? Mostly. Is it ethical? That depends on your ethics.

For a lot of people, it is perfectly ethical to rip an entire sequence/character/plot/scene or other creative touch...for a lot of people it isn’t. It really depends on how you view your particular instance of thievery.

Was Warhol paying tribute to the Campbell’s Soup can when he used it in his painting? Yes. Would Campbell’s also be ethically permitted to be pissed at such an unauthorized usage? I think yes as well.

That’s why I say homage is just plagiarism in a fancy hat. It’s directly or indirectly taking from another artistic work, usually without credit or public acknowledgement. But since we include it within the body of another artistic work, we afford it the title of homage rather then plagiarism. We say that we’re paying tribute to another artistic work by copping part of it and using it as our own.

Following that logic, every hip hop producer should be unlimited in their right to sample creative works…but they aren’t. Uncredited, unauthorized, uncompensated sampling is not homage, it’s theft. (and yes I understand that an homage in a film would not use the actual footage, but producers wouldn’t get off by having a band re-record the samples in question either)

It’s an arbitrary difference between the two, but one is almost always permitted where the other is almost never permitted. That’s why I say homage is just plagiarism in a fancy hat. (my opinion, not my fact)

Jim Brennan
10-25-2004, 07:28 AM
What we regard as the format of filmmaking, (Establishing shots, 2 shots, voice overs, POV, crane shots, whatever you want to use as an example) were all done first by somebody. *It's just that some of them worked so well they have become a part of the process. *We are all influenced by what we have seen, and it's bound to show up in what we've done.
I will concede that this is not the same thing as consciously mimicing something specific. *But all of what we now take for granted was once copied directly and deliberately. *It's just that it's been plagiarised so often, we just think it's a natural part of filmmaking.

HansK
10-25-2004, 06:07 PM
Homage is a creative reference to your admiration for someone else's work.

That's stretching it's definition a bit. It's really just paying respect, such as bowing down, to somone of "higher" authority.


For a lot of people, it is perfectly ethical to rip an entire sequence/character/plot/scene or other creative touch...for a lot of people it isn’t.

Oh poor Shakespeare... I wonder how he feels? :D

IsraelHoudini
10-26-2004, 01:08 AM
david mamet 'on directing'

fantastic

cuts through alot of the artsy bull crap in alot of other books and very good info on how to deal with actors.

as far as set ups and compositions, thats from experience and talent and instinct. figure out what you want and then look up how to get that in books such as 'directing film', etc.

Voytek_Stitko
10-26-2004, 01:11 PM
Just shoot your first short with two actors in a public place with a guy holding boom and another shooting.

You will learn much more than reading hundreds of books. And you will learn faster.

If you really want to read something I would reccomend:

David Mamet, "On Directing"


have fun!

jweeks
10-28-2004, 07:12 PM
Ernest Pintoff, "Directing 101"

Gotta start with the basics...

Jim Brennan
10-28-2004, 08:39 PM
Yes, that one was good.

J_Barnes
10-29-2004, 06:36 AM
I'm surprised that no one has suggested any acting books in addition to the standard directing texts.

Anything by Stella Adler, Sanford Meisner, Uta Hagen, Stanislavsky or Lee Strasberg will give a hopefull director a solid edge over their technicaly inclined counterparts.

Reading a book oriented towards actors rather then directors will often get you a more pure view of the acting process then a book about directing can give. *Books about directing are written less objectively because they approach acting from the writer's specific experience and interperetations. *Books about acting, because they are written for the actor, all you to form your own opinions and assumptions without assuming someone else's perspective.

EDIT: and I mean these to be considered in addition to books about directing and filmmaking. It's all part of a well-balanced diet of direction.

Woodson
10-29-2004, 12:24 PM
If you want to learn about actors, and directing them and understanding both sides, these books I recommend..

Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television
by Judith Weston

The Film Director's Intuition: Script Analysis and Rehearsal Techniques
by Judith Weston

other good books...

Making Movies
by SIDNEY LUMET

What They Don't Teach You At Film School : 161 Strategies to Making Your Own Movie No Matter What
by Tiara White, Camille Landau

Directing Feature Films: The Creative Collaborarion Between Director, Writers, and Actors by Mark W. Travis


My all time fave..

Rebel Without a Crew: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker With $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player
by Robert Rodriguez


But I agree with Voytek_Stitko, best thing to do is go out there and do it yourself. Find out your style, how you want to do your thing and be yourself.

edmessina
11-06-2004, 02:11 PM
Certainly, "Shot by Shot" is a must, as is "Directing Actors" by Judith Weston, plus "The Visual Story" by Bruce Block and "The Set Lighting Technician's Handbook" by Harry C. Box. In my experience, a good director had better know everyone else's business as well, at least enough to know what they can do for your vision and so you at least know their lingo. Needless to say, especially for the non-technoids who want to direct, you had better know about photography and how to use a lightmeter, even if most of us are using mainly digital tools these days. You can complete your education when you try to edit your first directing effort...

Jim Brennan
11-06-2004, 05:15 PM
ALso the 5 C's of Cinematography. It's not in front of me, so I can't tell you the author. It's not only good, but it has tons of pictures from old films. See how many you can name.

sojrn
11-08-2004, 04:38 PM
Books can teach the technical aspect, but they can't teach you how to truly mold a perfomance from an actor such as Gregory Peck and director John Mulligan's "To Kill a Mockingbird". *This takes an understanding of interpersonal dynamics and psychology of the human condition.

To me, there are three types of directors: technical and humanitarian and combination. *The technical types are John Woo, John McTiernan, Paul Rodriquez, etc. *Now don't get me wrong, these men have made some memorable, fun films.

The humanitarian types are Frank Capra, Mike Nichols, Albert Brooks, etc. *

The final is a combination of the previous two and the membership is small: *Steven Spielberg, Roland Emmerich, James Cameron, etc. *These men can craft well between
action and characters.

Someone on another thread remarked that "if you don't have a DP you don't have a film."
Actually it's "if you don't have characters that the audience likes and roots for, you don't have a film.







A very talented director once said something like, "If you have a great script that is cast with great actors, 70% of the directors job is done." *:)

Woodson
11-08-2004, 10:37 PM
Yes yes, stories matter. But not always. Depending on what your goal is. There are a lot of bad films with shitty stories, even straight to video and the filmmakers are bringing in lots of dough for themselves.

And what happend to making films for yourself and not for the audience. Well that depends. Maybe if you want to be a producer. I don't know.

Can you explain me more of the The humanitarian type director?
Never heard of these things, and that Directors have labels.

sojrn
11-09-2004, 03:57 PM
Hey Woodson,

Yes yes, stories matter. But not always. Depending on what your goal is. There are a lot of bad films with shitty stories, even straight to video and the filmmakers are bringing in lots of dough for themselves.

Yes, if the goal is only dough, then one shouldn't concern themselves too much with story, but if one wants a ton of dough and to be recognized and to be proud of themselves in that "I tried my best to rise above the chaff and make something fresh and new" - stick with story.

I believe that everyone at heart sets out to make something great, but most of the time it just doesn't happen due to personal or professional or financial limitations.

When home video was in it's infancy, anyone and I mean anyone could make a film and it would get bought, just because dime store distributors had to fill a void. Today it's the complete opposite, first timers trying to get any disributor is very hard work and a lot of luck. *There are still "bottom feeders" - distributors that will take a film (usaully a film that has been turned down by every other) and receive a nice tax write-off while not paying you a dime.

And what happend to making films for yourself and not for the audience. Well that depends. Maybe if you want to be a producer. I don't know.

I think you always have to make a film for yourself (though this in no way excuses you from trying to make it the best it can be) then hope the audience likes it too.

Can you explain me more of the The humanitarian type director?
Never heard of these things, and that Directors have labels.

The humanitarian director strives to understand the complex dynamics of human realtionships and the human condition. Then they incoporate these insights into the evolution of his/her characters. *I believe this is what makes the audience like the characters and it's what makes them root for and cry for the characters.

These are my own labels and I would like to hear your ideas on the subject.

Woodson
11-09-2004, 04:15 PM
Yes I agree with you, and if you gotta a great story you have a better chance at getting it out there. But there is crap out that that still makes tons of cash, not saying I rather do that, I'm just saying there is no story out there and even distributed by majors also.

And people do make great films and bad films. Both are successful and not successful, I think the buttom line is who you know and who you have contacts with, hey just like any profession.

Well I know there are films that still make money with straight to video, even if it's crap, is still does get distributed, more in the international market that is.

Sure, hope that the audience will like it, but don't stress about, if ppl hate your film and you think you made the best thing possible and you love it, be happy. That's success if you are happy with yourself, same goes with musicians.

Well I'm not familiar with these labels, but I did hear of Surreal, Imperalist, Visionary Directors. Are Humanitarian any of those. I'm not familar with these terms, but I love to find more about this. Do the technical directors usually don't tell a great story? but have crazy effects and cinematography? Shouldn't all directors be technical, at least a little bit so they know what the camera does and what he would like it to do.

Moonwind
11-09-2004, 07:42 PM
sojrn here. I didn't realize I was in under my wife's user name.

Agreed, crap still exists, but then one man's crap is another man's popcorn, wouldn't you say?. *Marketing is very good with the unknown films that come out to the Blockbusters, etc. *Great copy, nice artwork and/or photographs on the DVD cover, but when you get them home you find out that the best thing about the film is the great DVD cover. (LOL)
Personally I know a movie (tv or rental) is doomed for me when I pick up something to read instead.

A lot of times with the major studios, a film being made is political. *The script may not be great but they'll greenlight anyway to keep the star or director or producer happy, because they (the studios) know another hit may be with them just around the corner. *

I remember an interview with Steven Soderbergh in which he was asked "what happened to your career." *He remarked that after Sex, Lies and Videotape, he thought he could pick any project and make it a hit. *After a string of bombs, it took
Erin Brockovich to finally get his career back on track.

Humanitarian is my own label for the type of director I described earlier. *They are also known as the "actor's director."

Yes, technical (another one of my own labels) directors can tell great stories, but alot of these films are supported or even overwhelmed by the action. *
I think of over a dozen action films right now that are masterpieces.

You wouldn't hire Mike Nichols to direct (he would turn it down anyway) Die Hard V, just as you wouldn't hire John Woo to do a romantic comedy. *But I think Quentin Tartino might be interested in a combination of the two!

Woodson
11-09-2004, 08:14 PM
So Sidney Lumet would be a Humanitarian. Actor's director correct? What other directors?

So these Humanitarian directors work more with actors right? and the technical directors don't care much about the actors and focus on the technical and visual sides more that for the actors. ?

Also I got a question about the directors that stick to the same style of films that they direct for example Tarantino and the ones who direct different styles for example Ridney Scott. What is your opinion on that.

J_Barnes
11-10-2004, 07:27 AM
I think it's not so much a matter of caring...it's a matter of how their brains are oriented and how they learned to do what they do.

I think there are just some directors that think in terms of sequence, picture, color, sound, pacing, and technique, while others think in terms of intention, motivation, mood, subtext, emotion and conflict.

As stated, there are a few that cross between.

Robert Altman would be a character director. *He approaches films with intentions set upon story, character, conflict and subtext.

David Fincher would be a camera director. *He approaches films with intentions set on camera angles, CG, lens choices and lighting mood.

I don't think one orientation excludes the other...it just indicates a director's creative interest and technical strengths. *

A hybrid between the two is someone like Terry Gilliam...who personally storyboards every frame of his own films, yet also approaches them very much oriented towards the character and story.

Jim Brennan
11-10-2004, 09:00 AM
...and whose vision often flies right over my head.

It's usually easy to spot a writer/director as well. Their films are usually pretty chatty and are focused on the dynamic between people. The circumstances are a device to move the story along, while focusing on the growth of the character(s)....Usually.

sojrn
11-10-2004, 04:40 PM
Yes Sidney Lumet would and as J_Barnes suggested, Robert Altman, along with Sidney Pollack and Mike Nichols. *These men for the most part choose character-driven scripts to direct.

There are very good technical (action-driven) directors but I think they focus primarily on what they like and do best and there certainly is a market for it. *
Personally, if I don't like characters in a film, I don't care what happens to them and this goes for all genres of movies.

I think the best directors are hybrids. *James Cameron IMO is one of the best with his ability to create well developed, likable or hated characters within action oriented films. *T2 and Titanic are prime examples.
Ron Howard has also hit box office gold with BackDraft, Ransom (Gary Sinise was brilliantly evil), and Apollo 13.

Taratino is in a genre that he compliments extremely well and he knows this. *I think his following wouldn't accept anything else from him *I loved Kill Bill 1 & 2.

I used to be able to spot Ridley Scott films within seconds of viewing them, but ever since his brother Tony got into the business, it's hard to tell them apart visually. *I think Tony Scott is the better director when it comes to characters, though.

So I believe that any genre script, to be the best it can possibly be, must have likable or love to hate, well developed, three dimensional characters.

J_Barnes
11-11-2004, 05:27 AM
If I might disagree a slight bit with what I assume is your take on this...

I think what you're describing is largely character driven plots versus action driven ones, which really has very little to do with directing methods. Sure, it has everything to do with what a director likes to work on, or the genre they like to work in, but it doesn’t necessarily say anything about their actual approach to the process of direction.

Well-developed or likeable characters are really more created by writing and the actor's character development, both of which can happen long before a director begins the first discussions. Obviously there are directors with a strong hand in the writing process, and others who have the luxury of an extended development or rehearsal period before shooting, but it isn't the rule in the industry today.

What I'm suggesting is that there are directors who think in terms of character, writing, plot and subtext...absent of any real assumptions of the genre. I don't suggest that these are directors who seek out character driven plots as a rule, I'm saying that this style of director approaches the process of directing in terms of how he can get the character to exist.

The pursuit of that goal leads them to interact and focus more on acting then camera. And thus, perhaps I should describe them as performance-oriented directors. Realistically this directing style can be employed on any genre of film successfully regardless of the focus of the script.

Older directors are more likely to assume this style of working, as their process is more likely to extend from the theater. Frankenheimer and Lumet cut their teeth in Playhouse 90, with very theatrically oriented actor-centric productions.

The most blatant example of this kind of director is Woody Allen who employs extensive actor-centered direction while allowing his films to ultimately take on the a lot of the visual style of whatever cinematographer works on them. Thus you’ve got a film like Manhattan and a film like Deconstructing Harry with vastly different filmmaking techniques employed in each, yet a strong body of performance in both.

Both Frankenheimer and Lumet have made films that are extensively character driven and films that are extensively plot driven, with a wide variety of visual presentations between.

I think of camera-driven directors as those that approach directing in terms of focusing on the visual means to present and capture a story. The actor’s performance is a setpiece in their presentation, but their minds really are intent on telling the audience where to look.

These directors are far more likely to be younger, with little to no education in drama or theater. Many of them come from other visual media, including photography, effects work, music video and commercial work, and they tend to pick very strong, independent actors to be the caretakers of character.

Someone like David Fincher is a perfect example of this kind of director. He comes from the music video world, he has extensive camera experience and he directs in a completely visual way. Of course, I think the distinction that must be made here is that Fincher has chosen some very character-driven scripts, but he has directed them in a very camera-oriented fashion.

A film like Fight Club, for all it's visual appeal, it's essentially a character-driven film. It's completely about conflict, subtext and intentions...but his directing style on that film was not oriented towards the performance, it was completely concerned with the camera...so much so that he dictated every lens to be used in every shot.

Still, with very capable actors and a very strong script, it evolves into a very visual character-driven film.

I think I just mean to say that there must be some distinction between a director's methods of directing and the genre of script that is being directed. I think they're very exclusive in many cases and the choice of one does not always indicate a specific method of direction.

Finally, while I think James Cameron has made a couple of fun action films, I don’t see any ability in character portraiture. He is purely a technical director, so much so that he’s never made a film that wasn’t entirely centered around a gimmick or effect. Aliens comes close, but in truth is almost a purely action film as the two main characters are Sigorney Weaver and a rubber alien mask.

The Abyss is really his only character-oriented film, that is…until the cosmic jellyfish shows up.

If I may suggest a better “cross over” example: Richard Donner.

Donner turned out a vast variety of films, including Lethal Weapon 1, 2 and 4, Scrooged, The Goonies, Radio Flyer, Conspiracy Theory and The Toy among others. All very different films, including some very action and plot oriented films and some very character oriented films….all with a different visual look.

Woodson
11-11-2004, 11:58 AM
variety of visual presentations, thats the words I was looking for.

For example Tarantino, Kubrick, Godard,Truffaut, Hitchcock, Christopher Nolan would stick to one and only visual look, there are a lot of others.

What other directors use different visual looks and same looks?

What would Sergio Leone and Takashi Miike fall under?

J_Barnes
11-12-2004, 05:27 AM
Hmm...great question. I think in some cases, it's as much a "feel" as it is a look. Tarantino films feel like tarantino films more then they look like them...which is funny, as Guy Ritchie films also feel like Tarantino films.

Wes Anderson's three films all feel the same and look similar.

Woody Allen's films have some wide depth of feeling and look, but as stated, he relies a lot more on cinematographers then most modern directors.

David Lynch has turned out some very different feeling and looking movies. Comparing Dune to Wild at Heart and then to The Straight Story shows you very different films.

Maybe this discussion should be restricted specifically to directors whose films LOOK the same...as there are so many whose films FEEL the same, even with vastly different styles.

sojrn
11-12-2004, 09:56 PM
Finally, while I think James Cameron has made a couple of fun action films, I don’t see any ability in character portraiture. He is purely a technical director, so much so that he’s never made a film that wasn’t entirely centered around a gimmick or effect. Aliens comes close, but in truth is almost a purely action film as the two main characters are Sigorney Weaver and a rubber alien mask.

Hey J_Barnes

For me good character portraiture's ultimate goal is to resonate with the audience. Cameron's Titanic was a love story set against a historical disaster, which ultimately took a back seat to the story between the two main characters that were separated by the class system. This is what sent it to the 2 billion dollar mark, sent there by an audience comprised heavily of women of all ages.

When I watch Aliens, it is Weavers character that makes the film (for me). Her emergence as leader of the marines while at the same time showing her motherly side with the little girl is wonderful.

Arnold in T2 was taught by the boy not to kill, and to be more "human". A father/son type relationship developed between them and was even remarked on by his mother Sarah as she watched them toss a ball to each other in the desert.

I agree with you that Abyss was his best character effort, but I was disappointed by the ending.

Lenses, steady cams, cranes, filters etc. are all in the directors bag of tricks and are used extensively by directors to create their "style." There is nothing wrong with this, but many a film falters in the forced pursuit of technical style. When I was working in LA, I heard too many filmakers say, "but at least it looks great."

For me a real director brings out the best he/she can from their actors and puts it down effectively in cohesive narrative form, with tricks only being used if truly needed. Some of best films ever made never got the camera off of the "sticks".

Woodson
11-15-2004, 03:45 PM
How do these directors learn how to be a actor's director?

I'm really interested in this because I love working with actors.
I don't act, and I don't want to, but I love rehearshing scenes and doing things with the actors.

sojrn
11-15-2004, 08:40 PM
How do these directors learn how to be a actor's director?

You said you like working with actors, so next time don't tell them exactly what to do, rather give a slightly broader direction and see what they come up with on their own. Then gently mold their performance.

An "actors director" gives the actor leeway to interpret their character (under the gentle guidance of the director.) They understand the actor's needs as a professional and an individual.

Woodson
11-15-2004, 10:18 PM
How do these directors learn how to be a actor's director?

You said you like working with actors, so next time don't tell them exactly what to do, rather give a slightly broader direction and see what they come up with on their own. Then gently mold their performance.

An "actors director" gives the actor leeway to interpret their character (under the gentle guidance of the director.) They understand the actor's needs as a professional and an individual.


I never do tell them exactly what to do, the short I've done we did excercises, rehearshing, etc. but they all came up with stuff. I want this to be a creative team effort and not me telling everyone you gotta do this like that.

Just trying to find resources where I can find out and learn morea about this process.

J_Barnes
11-16-2004, 05:03 AM
My favorite quote about directing, and I can't remember who it's attributed to...(might have been renoir?)

"Never tell an actor what to do because once you tell an actor what to do, that's the only thing that they will do"

Meaning specific direction tends to take the life out of a character. I knew an actress that was in an episode of an 80's action television show, and in once scene she was required to try and break out of a room through the window.

While she was preparing for the scene, she was thinking of exactly what she was going to do and where she was going to go (it was a wide shot, no blocking). The director came up to her and suggested a couple of actions before she finds the open window:

"maybe you come over here and try and open this door, maybe you come over here and look through this shelf for something to help you escape, maybe you come to these boxes and look through them, then go over to the window and try it..."

Although before the shot she had all these ideas she wanted to try in the context of the scene, sure enough...as soon as action was called, she walked over to the door and jiggled the handle, then to the shelf and looked through the items, then to the boxes and then finally back to the window and out.

It was only in retrospect that she realized the direction, while only suggestions of what to do, became exactly what she did. All the great character work she'd done before the scene was tossed out the window in favor of the director's suggestion.

I've found this to be almost universally true with actors, thus it becomes important to talk more in intentions then in actions. Rather then tell an actor to look through a shelf for something, tell them to look for anything in the room that might help them escape. Give them an intention rather then an action..."search the room, find a way out, make sure no one hears you" will always get a more creative response then "look through this pile, look through that shelf, try the exits in this order, and be quiet when you try the doors"

You have to allow the character to be a real person in a real situation, but if you program them with specifics, they're less able to apply logical thought and reasoning while in character. They become an actor trying to follow your script of actions rather then a character trying to acomplish something.

Just my two cents.

Woodson
11-16-2004, 06:33 PM
You any resources about this kind of thing?

books? articles?

sojrn
11-16-2004, 08:00 PM
Try Amazon under books on direction-an especially good one is "Directing the Film" by Eric Sherman. You might even find it in half.com. In it questions are posed, then short answers follow by the likes of Reiner, Berman, Friedkin and Altman just to name a few.

Woodson
11-17-2004, 12:21 AM
Nice, thank you....

I just love working with actors, I have a style of my own that I follow, but it's not that big.

I want to learn more about this cause I love doing it. :)

sojrn
11-17-2004, 04:01 PM
If you want to help yourself stand out from the rest, hold on to your style and make it big.


carpe diem - "Seize the Day"

Woodson
11-17-2004, 09:45 PM
If you want to help yourself stand out from the rest, hold on to your style and make it big.


carpe diem - "Seize the Day"


Nice... is that a quote from the movie - Seize the Day?

J_Barnes
11-18-2004, 05:16 AM
Directing the Film is one of the better books out there about directing, and it really holds a wealth of anecdotal information as it's culled largely from the AFI archives.

Woodson
11-18-2004, 01:57 PM
Directing the Film is one of the better books out there about directing, and it really holds a wealth of anecdotal information as it's culled largely from the AFI archives.


Are you guys talking about ... this ..

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0918226155/qid=1100814869/sr=8-12/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i12_xgl14/002-4231306-7968836?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

sojrn
11-18-2004, 09:01 PM
carpe diem - "Seize the Day"

Robin Williams in "Dead Poets Society"


And yes, that is the correct book.

Jim Brennan
11-18-2004, 10:50 PM
That line was used in the DPS, but it's been around a couple thousand years.

sojrn
11-19-2004, 11:05 AM
Yes, and I think that was its most recent incarnation in a movie.

J_Barnes
11-19-2004, 11:30 AM
And the Virgin Mary's most recent incarnation was as a grilled cheese sandwich...what a crazy world.

Jim Brennan
11-19-2004, 11:39 AM
MMMmmmm. I just had grilled cheese for lunch.

sojrn
11-19-2004, 12:51 PM
What about the Dill? *Can't forget the Dill!