You are previewing Directing, 5th Edition.
O'Reilly logo
Directing, 5th Edition

Book Description

This comprehensive manual 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. The core of the book is the human, psychological, and technical knowledge that every director needs, the enduring elements of the craft that remain vital.

Directing also provides an unusually clear view of the artistic process, particularly in working with actors and principle crew to achieve personally expressive storytelling and professionalism on any budget.

Directing explores in detailed and applicable terms how to engage with the conceptual and authorial sides of filmmaking. Its eminently practical tools and exercises show how to: discover your artistic identity; develop credible and compelling stories with your cast and crew; and become a storyteller with a distinctive voice and style.

The companion website includes teaching notes, dozens of practical hands-on projects and film study activities to help you master technical and conceptual skills, film analysis questionnaires, and all the essential production forms and logs.

New to the fifth edition

* Virtually every chapter has been revised, updated, and re-organized for a streamlined and integrated approach.

* Expanded sections on the basics of drama, including thorough analyses of recent films

* Discussions of the director’s approach to script analysis and development

* New discussion exploring the elements of naturalistic and stylistic aesthetic approaches.

* New discussion on the narrative power of lighting and the lens - including many recent film examples for shot size, perspective, focus and exposure

* Greater emphasis on the implications of composition, mise-en-scène, continuity shooting and editing, long take shooting, point-of-view sequences, and camera handling

* Expanded discussion of collaboration between the director and principle creative crew

* Updated coverage of workflow and comparative advantages to digital or film acquisition

* New section on film production safety, set protocol and etiquette

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Full Title
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. CONTENTS FOR THE COMPANION WEBSITE
  8. Introduction
  9. PART 1: THE DIRECTOR AND ARTISTIC IDENTITY
    1. 1 THE WORLD OF THE FILM DIRECTOR
      1. Cinema Art and You
      2. The Director
        1. Who Directs
        2. Basic Responsibilities and Personal Traits
        3. Leadership: Collaboration and Vision
        4. Art, Identity, and Competitiveness
      3. Identifying Your Themes
        1. Identity, Belief, and Vision
        2. Temperament Affects Vision
        3. Find Your Life Issues
        4. Subjects to Avoid
        5. Displace and Transform
        6. The Artistic Process
    2. 2 DEVELOPING YOUR PATH AS A DIRECTOR
      1. Starting Out
        1. Short Films or Features?
        2. Working within Small Budgets and Limitations
        3. The Good News
        4. The Bad News
      2. The Director and Technology
  10. PART 2: THE STORY AND ITS DEVELOPMENT
    1. 3 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DRAMA
      1. Duality and Conflict
        1. Defining Conflict
      2. Elements of Conflict and Action
        1. The Objectives and Throughlines
        2. The Stakes
        3. The Obstacles
        4. Action and Character
      3. From Story to Dramatic Narrative
    2. 4 SHAPING THE STORY INTO DRAMA
      1. Shaping the Story into Drama
      2. The Beat
      3. Dramatic Units
      4. Dramatic Unit and Beat Analysis
      5. The Dramatic Arc
        1. Levels of Action
      6. The Three-Act Structure
        1. The Three-Act Structure Caveat
      7. Essentials of Dramatization I: Making the Internal Visible
      8. Essentials of Dramatization II: Questions and Revelations
    3. 5 PLOT, TIME, AND STRUCTURE
      1. What is Plot?
        1. Cause and Effect
        2. Flow and Inevitability
      2. Character-Driven and Plot-Driven Stories
      3. Organizing Time
        1. Where to Begin and End
        2. Options for Organizing Time
      4. Structure
      5. Premise and Theme
      6. Short Films and Story Scale
        1. Short Films and Flexibility
  11. PART 3: THE DIRECTOR AND THE SCRIPT
    1. 6 SCREENPLAY GROUND RULES
      1. The Writer is the Writer, not the Director
      2. Choosing What is Right for You
      3. Screenplay Stages
      4. Standard Screenplay Formatting
    2. 7 RECOGNIZING THE SUPERIOR SCREENPLAY
      1. Script Language and Technique
        1. Stage Directions
        2. Dialogue and Personal Directions
      2. First Assessment
        1. Getting Specific with Margin Notes
      3. Assessing Cinematic Qualities
        1. How is the Story Told?
        2. Integrity of Characters and Motives
        3. Uncover Character Subtext
        4. Metaphoric Detail
      4. Checking the Embedded Values
      5. Viability and Working within limitations
        1. Determine the Story Givens
        2. Determine Project Resources
        3. Viability and Safety Issues
        4. Working Within Limitations
    3. 8 SCRIPT ANALYSIS AND DEVELOPMENT
      1. Collapsing the Screenplay for Analysis
      2. Analyzing Plot and Story Logic
        1. Subjective or Open Point of View
      3. Character Development
        1. Static and Dynamic Character Definition
        2. Character and Voice
        3. Development
        4. Internal Through-Line
      4. Character Analysis
        1. Establishing Character
      5. Dialogue and Verbal Action
        1. Verbal Action
        2. Replacing Dialogue with Action
        3. Testing Dialogue
      6. Checking Exposition
      7. Assessing Environmental Detail
        1. Locations
        2. Sound
      8. Inviting a Critical Response
        1. Incorporating Criticism
        2. Assess and Reassess
  12. PART 4: AUTHORSHIP AND AESTHETICS
    1. 9 CINEMATIC POINT OF VIEW
      1. Telling Stories on Film
      2. Point of View in Literature
      3. Point of View in Film
      4. Central Character, One Point of View
        1. Implied Character POV
        2. Subjective Character POV
      5. Multiple Characters, Multiple POVs
      6. The Director's POV: From Concerned Observer to Storyteller
        1. Observer into Storyteller
      7. Audience POV
      8. POV is Like Russian Dolls
      9. Planning a Point of View
    2. 10 FORM AND STYLE
      1. The Storyteller's Vision
        1. Visual Design
        2. Sound Design
        3. Performance Style
        4. Editorial Style
      2. Rhythmic Design
      3. Directorial Style
    3. 11 TONE: NATURALISTIC AND STYLIZED APPROACHES
      1. Genre and Style
      2. Naturalism
      3. Stylization
      4. Distancing and Suspending Disbelief
  13. PART 5: A DIRECTOR'S SCREEN GRAMMAR
    1. 12 FILM LANGUAGE
      1. Film Language and Storytelling
        1. The Shot and Mise-En-Scène
        2. Creating Complex Meaning in an Image
        3. The Edit and Montage
      2. Cinematic Space and Time
      3. Authorial Point of View
    2. 13 THE FRAME AND THE SHOT
      1. Compositional Axes of the Frame
      2. Essential Principles of Composition
        1. Closed and Open Frames
        2. Deep Frames, Shallow Frames
        3. Balanced and Unbalanced Frames
        4. The Rule of Thirds
        5. Camera Height
      3. Common Shot Sizes
      4. Shot Selection
    3. 14 THE MOVING CAMERA
      1. Camera Movements from a Fixed Position
      2. Dynamic Camera Movements
      3. Motivating the Moving Camera
    4. 15 LANGUAGE OF THE EDIT
      1. Shots in Juxtaposition
        1. Juxtaposing Sound and Image
      2. The Continuity System
      3. The Basic Shots of Master Scene Technique
      4. The Six Principles of Continuity Editing
      5. Not Just for Two People
      6. Visual Point of View
      7. Storytelling Style and Coverage
      8. Movement and Screen Direction
        1. Changing Screen Direction
      9. Editing and Time Compression
      10. Real Time and Expanded Time
      11. Shot Duration, Information and Perception
    5. 16 THE HUMAN VANTAGE OF CINEMATIC LANGUAGE
      1. Human Vantage
      2. The Concerned Observer and the Storyteller
      3. Conflict, Attention, and the Concerned Observer
        1. The Actor, the Acted-Upon
      4. Different Angles on the Same Action
      5. Abstraction
      6. Subjectivity and Objectivity
      7. Sequence and Memory
      8. Screen Language in Summary
      9. The Filmmaker and Research
      10. The Filmmaker and Practice
  14. PART 6: PREPRODUCTION
    1. 17 EXPLORING THE SCRIPT
      1. Interpreting the Script
      2. Two Types of Film, Two Kinds of Preparation
      3. Homework
        1. Script Breakdown
        2. Define the Subtexts and a Metaphor
      4. Tools to Reveal Dramatic Dynamics
        1. Storyline Analysis
        2. Graphing Tension and Beats
      5. First Visualization
    2. 18 CASTING
      1. Overview
      2. Post a Casting Call Advertisement
        1. Active Search for Actors
      3. Setting Up the First Audition
        1. The Actors Arrive
      4. Conducting the First Audition
        1. Monologues
        2. Cold Readings
        3. Assessment
        4. Negative Characters and Typecasting
        5. Concluding Each Audition
      5. Decisions After the First Round
      6. First Callback-Auditioning with the Script
        1. Improvisation
      7. Second Callback
        1. Interview
        2. Mix and Match Actors
      8. Making Final Choices
        1. Camera Test
      9. Announcing Casting Decisions
        1. Giving and Taking
    3. 19 ACTING FUNDAMENTALS
      1. Stanislavsky
      2. Comparing Theater and Film Acting
    4. 20 DIRECTING ACTORS
      1. Director in Relation to Actors
        1. Make Contact
        2. Build Trust and Authority
        3. Direct Positively and Equably
      2. Common Problems
        1. Lack of Focus and Relaxation
        2. Mind-Body Connection Missing
        3. Anticipating or Not Adapting
        4. Acting in Isolation
        5. Missing Interior Life
        6. Missing Subtexts
        7. The Generalized Interpretation
        8. Distancing and Indicating
        9. Intensity, Intimacy and Limiting an Actor's Sphere
        10. Tackling Stubborn Artificiality
      3. How Much Rehearsal is Enough?
        1. Don't Over-Direct
      4. Some Do's and Don'ts
    5. 21 REHEARSALS
      1. The Director Prepares
        1. Scene Analysis, Subtexts, and Developing the Authority to Direct
        2. Conflict
        3. Heightening Dramatic Tension and the Crisis Point
        4. Naming the Function of Each Scene
        5. Defining the Thematic Purpose
      2. Setting Up the Rehearsal Schedule
        1. Rehearsal Space
      3. Rehearsals with the Book
        1. The Table Reading and Introducing the Project
        2. Meeting One-On-One with Actors
        3. Scene Breakdown Sessions
        4. Rehearsal Order and Priorities for Small Groups
        5. Consolidating Characters' Formative Experiences
        6. Encourage Physical Movement
        7. Notes, Feedback and Establishing a Working Rhythm
        8. Character Complexity and "Negative" Characters
      4. Rehearsing without the Book
        1. Turning Thought and Will into Action
      5. A Character's Inner Movement
        1. Reactions
        2. Monitoring Subtexts
        3. Cuing and Pacing
        4. Spontaneity
        5. Blocking and Using Space Expressively
      6. Locations, Environments, and Research
      7. The Director as Active Observer
        1. Form: Seeing in an Unfamiliar Way
      8. Shooting Rehearsals
        1. Don't Show Actors Their Work
        2. Check Timings
      9. A Long Journey
    6. 22 ACTING EXERCISES
      1. Improvisation Exercises
      2. Acting and Doing
      3. The Director's Role During Improvs
        1. Discerning Beats and Dramatic Units
      4. The Actor's Role During Improvs
        1. Make your Audience See
        2. Staying Focused
        3. Audience Etiquette and Improv Duration
        4. Assessment and Discussion
      5. Improv Exercises and Exercises with a Text
        1. Improv Exercises: IMP-1 Through IMP-20
        2. Acting Exercises with Text: TXT-1 Through TXT-10
    7. 23 PLANNING THE VISUAL DESIGN
      1. Visual Design Questionnaire
      2. Visual Research
      3. Examples for Discussion
      4. The Importance of the Palette
      5. Locations and Sets
        1. Scouting Locations
        2. Building Sets
      6. Moods and Visual Design
      7. Wardrobe, Makeup, and Hairdressing
      8. The Script Breakdown Sheet
      9. Cinematography
      10. Designing a World
      11. Proving the Design
    8. 24 COVERAGE AND THE SHOOTING SCRIPT
      1. General Coverage Considerations
        1. Fixed Versus Mobile Camera
        2. Subjective or Objective Camera Presence
        3. Relatedness: Separating or Integrating by Shot
        4. The Camera as a Revealing and Observing Consciousness
        5. Point of View (POV)
      2. The Heart of Directing: The Storyteller's Point of View
      3. Creating the Shooting Script
        1. Exploring Coverage Scene by Scene
        2. Covering Important Aspects in More than One Way
        3. Inserts and Cutaways
      4. The Floor Plan and Shooting Script
        1. Storyboards
        2. Camera Placement
        3. Subjective and Objective
        4. Show Relatedness
        5. There are No Rules, Only What Feels Right
        6. Regrouping and Reset Transitions
      5. Plans and Prudence
        1. Work within Your Means
      6. Study the Masters
    9. 25 LINE PRODUCING AND LOGISTICS
      1. Scheduling the Shoot
        1. Locations and Shot Order
        2. Shooting in Script Order
        3. Key Scenes and Scheduling for Performances
        4. Emotional Demand Order
        5. Weather and Other Contingency Coverage
        6. Allocation of Shooting Time Per Scene
        7. Under- or Over-Scheduling
      2. The Call Sheet
      3. Budgeting the Film
        1. Insurances
      4. Drawing Up an Equipment List
        1. Caution: Over-Elaborate Equipment
      5. Workflow and Equipment
      6. Shooting Film or Digital?
        1. Digital Acquisition
        2. Film Acquisition
        3. Digital Sound
      7. Postproduction
      8. Production Stills
      9. Awful Warnings …
      10. Production Party
  15. PART 7: PRODUCTION
    1. 26 DEVELOPING A PRODUCTION CREW
      1. Developing Your Own Crew
      2. The Crew's Attitude and Actors
      3. Production Crew Roles
        1. Areas of Responsibility
      4. Role Descriptions
        1. Direction Department
        2. Production Department
        3. Camera Department
        4. Sound Department
        5. Art Department
      5. Set Etiquette
        1. Respect the Public's Space
        2. Respect the Location
        3. Food and Breaks
      6. Production Safety and Security
        1. The Commandments of Film Production Safety
        2. Prepare for Safety
        3. Maintain Common Sense
        4. Special Circumstances can be Risky
        5. Electricity
        6. Keep the Set Secure
    2. 27 THE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCTION TECH
      1. Basic Lighting Approaches and Terminology
        1. Three Essential Qualities of Light
      2. Common Lighting Functions
        1. Types of Lighting Styles
        2. Types of Lighting Setup
        3. Lighting Approaches and Exposure
      3. The Expressive Capacity of the Lens
        1. Focal Length: Magnification and Field of View
        2. Shot Size, Perspective and Lens Selection
      4. Lenses and the Director's Style
        1. Lenses and Exposure Control
        2. Focus
        3. Depth of Field
      5. Location Sound
        1. Sound Theory
        2. Sound Experts Should Scout Each Location
        3. Sound Equipment
        4. Types of Location Sound
        5. Recording Requirements
    3. 28 ON SET: PRODUCTION BEGINS
      1. Before the Camera Rolls
        1. The Director's Role
        2. Daily Organization
      2. Getting to the First Shot: An Overview Chronology
      3. Roll Camera
        1. Shot and Scene Identification
        2. Shooting Logs: Camera and Sound
        3. Countdown to "Mark it", then "Action"
      4. Crew Responsibilities
        1. Who Can Call "Cut"
      5. Another Take, Circle, or Keeper
        1. Closer Shots and Reverse Shots
        2. Shot or Blocking Changes
        3. Retakes and Pickup Shots
        4. Important: Shoot Ambience Track
      6. Continuity Sheets
      7. It's a Wrap
    4. 29 DIRECTING ON THE SET
      1. Directing the Actors
        1. Actors' Anxieties at the Beginning
        2. Dividing Yourself between Crew and Cast
        3. Directing Actors During a Shoot
        4. Changing Goals
        5. Demands and Feedback
        6. Side Coaching and Reaction Shots
      2. For the New Shot
        1. Challenging Your Cast
        2. Everyone Needs Feedback
      3. Criticism From the Cast
        1. Using Social Times and Breaks
      4. Directing the Crew
        1. Communicating
        2. Look Through the Camera
        3. Making Progress
        4. When You and Your Crew are Alone
      5. Wrapping for the Day
        1. Share Dailies with the Crew but not the Cast
        2. Criticism From the Crew
        3. Morale, Fatigue, and Intensity
      6. You as Role Model
    5. 30 MONITORING CONTINUITY AND PROGRESS
      1. The Script Supervisor Prepares
      2. Monitoring Coverage and Timing
      3. Types of Continuity
      4. Monitoring Continuity
        1. Wardrobe and Properties Continuity
        2. Physical Continuity
        3. Monitoring Dialogue
      5. Monitoring Your Own Progress as Director
        1. Dramatic and Technical Quality
        2. Fulfilling Your Authorship Intentions
        3. Resources and Cost Reports
      6. At the End of the Production
  16. PART 8: POSTPRODUCTION
    1. 31 POSTPRODUCTION OVERVIEW
      1. The Postproduction Team
        1. The Editor
        2. Director-Editors
      2. Technology, Workflow, and the Director
        1. Workflow
      3. The Postproduction Stages
    2. 32 EDITING BEGINS: GETTING TO KNOW THE FOOTAGE
      1. Transferring, Logging, and Organizing Footage
        1. Syncing Dailies
        2. Marking the Script
      2. Dailies: Reviewing and Evaluating Footage
        1. Crew Viewing Session
        2. The Editor and Director View Dailies
        3. The Dailies Book
        4. The Only Film is in the Dailies
      3. Partnership
      4. The First Assembly
        1. First Assembly Viewing
        2. The Second Viewing: Diagnostic Questioning
      5. Resolutions After Seeing the First Assembly
        1. Length
        2. Structure
      6. Leave the Editor to Edit
    3. 33 THE ROUGH CUTS
      1. Editing Principles
      2. Editing Mimics an Observing Consciousness
        1. Eye Contact
        2. Camera Angles and Cutting Reveal Psychology
        3. Observer into Storyteller
      3. Editing to Influence Subtexts
        1. Altering Performance Rhythms
        2. Making or Altering Subtexts
      4. Visual and Aural Editing Rhythms: An Analogy in Music
      5. Transitions and Transitional Devices
      6. The Overlap Cut and Transitions
        1. Sequence Transitions
        2. Sound Effects as Scene Elision
      7. The Problem of Achieving a Flow
        1. Counterpoint in Practice: Unifying Material into a Flow
      8. The Rough-Cut Viewing
        1. Drama Takes Place in the Audience's Imagination
        2. The Audience as Active Participants
      9. Summary
    4. 34 GETTING TO FINE CUT AND PICTURE LOCK
      1. Diagnostics
        1. Making a FlowChart
      2. The Rough Cut Trial Screening
        1. Listen Closely, Guide Discussion, Do Not Explain
        2. Post Screening Reflection
        3. Try, Try Again
      3. The Fine Cut
        1. Knowing When to Stop
      4. Picture Lock!
    5. 35 WORKING WITH MUSIC
      1. Spotting Session
      2. Musical Choice and Scratch Music
      3. Using Pre-Recorded Music
        1. Music Libraries
      4. Collaborating with a Composer
        1. Beginning Work
        2. When there is Scratch Music
        3. Developing a Music Cue Sheet
      5. When to Use Music, and When Not
      6. Conflicts and Composing to Sync Points
      7. Music Editors and Fitting Music
    6. 36 THE SOUND MIX
      1. Finalizing Sound
        1. Sound, Psychoacoustics, and Sound's Narrative Contribution
        2. Sound Effects (SFX) and the Sound Spotting Session
        3. Postsynchronizing Dialogue (ADR)
        4. The Foley Stage and Re-Creating Sync Sound Effects
      2. Preparing for the Sound Mix
        1. Multi-Track Layering
        2. Dialogue Tracks and the Problem of Inconsistencies
        3. Laying Music or Effects Tracks
        4. Narration, Voice-Over, and Presence
        5. Ambient Sound
      3. Sound-Mix Tips
        1. Directing the Mix
        2. Premixing
      4. Approve Sections, then Listen to the Whole
      5. Make Safety Copies and Store Them in Different Locations
    7. 37 THE FINISHING TOUCHES
      1. Color correction
      2. Titles and credits
      3. Mastering
      4. Distribution Copies
      5. Promotional Material
      6. Making Festivals and Screenings Work for You
  17. Filmography
  18. Photograph and Illustration Acknowledgements
  19. Index