View Full Version : need to read about directing more than DPing

06-23-2005, 12:56 PM
My photography skills are pretty good at this point. I can make pretty pictures through comp, light, and camera moves. But I need more information about more director specific skills, specifically but not excusivley, dealing with actors.

Anyone have a "short list" of material they feel reall helped them? or something they wish they had read before that would have helped them?


Larry Rutledge
06-23-2005, 01:21 PM
I am currently reading "Direcing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film & Television" by Judith Westin (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0941188248/102-6622760-6168931?v=glance)

I am only in the second chapter, but so far I am really enjoying the book ... and more importantly, learning a lot.

06-23-2005, 01:34 PM
Thats what EVERYONE says! cant find a single library that has it so looks like im going to have to pny up the $15 or whatever. DAMN! :)

06-23-2005, 01:48 PM
Film Directing Shot By Shot by Katz.

In the Blink of an Eye by Walter Murch (yeah, it's an editing book, but for me having knowledge of the editing process helps in my directing).

Those are the big two for me.


06-23-2005, 02:04 PM
i keep over looking shot by shot, since i think it covers stuff i already know, but I'll give it a second chance (or a first i guess)

havnt heard of blink of an eye, but Murch is cool, i'll check it out. THANKS!

06-23-2005, 09:02 PM
There's a lot of stuff in Shot for Shot that was more or less review for me as well, but I still found it to be beneficial.

Murch is way cool. He's kind of a hero of mine (he's even in my signature!). In the Blink of an Eye is the best "instructional" book by him. If you enjoy it, then you can also check out "The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing" by Michael Ondaatje and "Behind the Seen" by Charles Koppleman.

I highly recommend both of those, and they will teach you about editing / filmmaking, but they're more biographical non-fiction type books than classroom type books.

Happy reading!


06-23-2005, 10:47 PM
Get in some acting classes. It was the best thing I ever did for my directing. Learning how to communicate with actors, who often have different styles, makes life on the set so much easier for the director.

Jim Brennan
06-24-2005, 06:09 AM
I'll throw in my bid for the Weston book as well. I had no isea how badly I was dealing with actors until I read it. So much of what is commonly referred to as "directing" only hampers a performance. It is without a doubt, required reading.

We focus a lot on the tech side of filmmaking here, and that's a necessary and interesting thing. Achieving a level of competence is mandatory for lighting, sound and cinematography. But if I had to choose between the perfect camera angle, and a great performance, I'll take the performance.

06-27-2005, 11:47 PM
that murch book is great. i loved every page.

if you need to direct actors, then you need to know how to communicate with them. learn what they do and why they do it. they have a jargon and lexicon all their own, just as a dp or editor.

"acting for the camera" by tony barr will help you trememdously. especially for inexperienced talent.

"auditioning" (by whom i forget) is good.

read the books on acting by the famous acting teachers...learn about sense memory, the method, etc. read david mamet also to help balance out the esoteric qualities of the artsy acting instruction books.

06-28-2005, 10:21 AM
I think Audition is by Michael Shurtleff... I've heard it's brilliant. Westin's book is really good as well.

I'd echo the taking an acting class or two. Even a beginner's class will give you some of the shorthand to communicate and understand what the actors need. Plus it's a great place to find new talent. =)

And if they feel you understand them, they will trust you. And trust is one of the foundations of great performance.

Woohoo, first post!

06-28-2005, 12:07 PM
I've read Audition and Weston's book, and they are good starting points. Another interesting book I've read recently is Friendly Enemies by Delia Salvi.
As the others have pointed out, an acting class is good, and it will teach you things that you will never learn from a book.
Bear in mind that there are different forms of acting, too, just to complicate matters, but most of them go back to Stanislavski --you might want to read some of his writings given his influence on acting (look for writings by or about Strasberg, Meisner, Adler as a starting point). And if you're into comedy, standups and improvisors also have their own methods of working, too.

Ed Miller
Toronto, Canada

06-28-2005, 10:02 PM
I recently finished Making Movies (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0679756604/104-2489841-8535938?v=glance) by Sidney Lumet. It was a lot of fun... biographical in nature and a quick easy read.

06-29-2005, 06:50 AM
Yeah, I didn't think to list Making Movies. That is an excellent book. Lumet does touch on working with actors quite a bit in it, but the book is more "a day in the life" sort of read. Still, highly recommended.

06-29-2005, 11:28 AM
yeah, I've read Making Movies.

I have also taken a small acting class, so I guess I do have a little experience there

Thanks for the suggestions, Let me know if you have anymore :)

07-03-2005, 11:38 PM
I agree. Acting classes.

07-17-2005, 07:27 PM
Try Friendly Enemies, it is one of the best,and most helpful texts that I have read. Very insightful, nd there were no specific ways of directing that are pressed upon you, it lets you choose your own unique style of directing as opposed to other texts that tell you there is only one way to be a director


07-17-2005, 08:55 PM
Audition, Directing Actors, Total Directing (tod kingdom). Try to gain access to a couple of community acting courses it will not only help you with how to speak to actors and get what you want, but could also help you locate some talent. I acted for 8 years before ever picking up a camera and I can say from experience that actors appreciate a director that knows how to communicate in their own language! Good luck. Are you taking on your first project as a director? or is this something just out of interest? The DP for my last film went to USC thinking like everyone else that he wanted to be a director even though he was already a skilled photographer only to find that he could really not communicate with actors!" "he's now a skilled director-of photography.

07-19-2005, 04:00 AM
Uta Hagen...Respect for Acting...A challenge for the Actor....masterclass in Acting...seriously...its fantastic...

Michael Rabiger...Directing...My bible...

Tony Barr...Acting for the camera....Not too shabby...

07-24-2005, 04:56 PM
if I can throw my 2 cents into the mix...

reading a book on directing is like reading a book on how to be yourself.. doesn't quite make sense.. directing is very personal(well for me it is) and is something I think you only learn by doing.. and only get better at by doing..

It is all about interacting with your crew and actors and how deal with situations. Reading a book on how the book "thinks" you should direct is a waste of time.

Something like being a DP.. you can read about and learn from a book.. but then that is only half the equation since that is also an artform(your style)... and books can't teach your style...

things that can be useful from a directing book, would be things to do in pre-production... like overhead scene diagrams.. the 180 rule... proper framing... and blocking character movement.. but even those things can be related to personal taste..

my two cents. CDN (1.02 cents American)