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The Director's Idea

Book Description

As a director, you must have a concept, a "director's idea", to shape your approach to the actors, the camera, and the script. With this clear idea your film will be deeper and more effective, and you will be able to differentiate--and therefore make the choice--between competent directing and great directing. Using case studies of famous directors as real-world examples of "director's ideas", the author has provided the theory and the practice to help directors immediately improve their work.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright
  5. Dedication
  6. Contents
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Part I: What the Director Does
    1. Chapter 1. Introduction
      1. What Does the Director Do?
      2. Who Is the Director?
      3. How Did We Get Here
      4. Where Are We Today?
      5. The Structure of the Book
      6. How I Came to Write This Book
    2. Chapter 2. The Director’s Idea
      1. The Unity of the Production
    3. Chapter 3. The Competent Director
      1. What the Audience Wants
      2. Directors and Competence
      3. Case Study I. The Competent Director: Antoine Fuqua (“King Arthur,” 2004)
      4. Case Study II. The Competent Director: Simon Wincer (“The Lighthorseman,” 1087)
    4. Chapter 4. The Good Director
      1. How the Director’s Idea Works
      2. A Case Study in Good Directing: Michael Mann’s “Collateral”
      3. Adding Value to a Project
      4. The Director’s Idea
    5. Chapter 5. The Great Director
      1. Voice
      2. Three Contemporary Great Directors in America
      3. Three Contemporary Great Directors Outside America
    6. Chapter 6. Text Interpretation
      1. The Case of Steinbeck’s East of Eden
      2. Interior/Exterior
      3. Young/Old
      4. Male/Female
      5. Political/Sociological/Psychological
      6. Tone
    7. Chapter 7. The Camera
      1. The Shot
      2. Camera Placement
        1. Proximity
        2. Objectivity
        3. Subjective Camera Placement
        4. Camera Height
      3. Camera Movement
        1. Movement from a Fixed Point
        2. Movement from Movement
      4. Lighting
      5. Art Direction
      6. Sound
      7. The Edit
        1. Continuity
        2. Clarity
        3. Dramatic Emphasis
        4. New Ideas
        5. Parallel Action
        6. Emotional Guidelines
        7. Tone
        8. The Main Character
        9. Conflict
        10. Story Form
    8. Chapter 8. The Actor
      1. Casting
      2. The Character Arc
      3. An Aside about Actors as Directors
      4. Philosophies of Acting
      5. Outside In
      6. Inside Out
      7. The American School
      8. The European School
  9. Part II: The Case Studies of Directing
    1. Chapter 9. Sergei Eisenstein: The Historical Dialectic
      1. Introduction
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
      5. Directing for the Edit
    2. Chapter 10. John Ford: Poetry and Heroism
      1. Introduction
        1. “The Grapes of Wrath” (1940)
        2. “My Darling Clementine” (1946)
        3. “They Were Expendable” (1945)
        4. “The Searchers” (1956)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actors
      4. Directing the Camera
    3. Chapter 11. George Stevens: The American Character—Desire and Conscience
      1. Introduction
        1. “Alice Adams” (1935)
        2. “Gunga Din” (1939)
        3. “The More the Merrier” (1943)
        4. “A Place in the Sun” (1951)
        5. “Giant” (1956)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actors
      4. Directing the Camera
    4. Chapter 12. Billy Wilder: Existence at Stake
      1. Introduction
        1. “The Lost Weekend” (1945)
        2. “Sunset Boulevard” (1950)
        3. “The Apartment” (1960)
        4. “Double Indemnity” (1944)
        5. Text Interpretation
      2. Directing the Actor
      3. Directing the Camera
    5. Chapter 13. Ernst Lubitsch: The Life Force of Romance
      1. Introduction
        1. “Trouble in Paradise” (1932)
        2. “Ninotchka” (1939)
        3. “The Shop Around the Corner” (1940)
        4. “To Be or Not To Be” (1942)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actors
      4. Directing the Camera
    6. Chapter 14. Elia Kazan: Drama as Life
      1. Introduction
        1. “Panic in the Streets” (1950)
        2. “On the Waterfront” (1954)
        3. “East of Eden” (1954)
        4. “America, America” (1963)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    7. Chapter 15. François Truffaut: Celebrate the Child
      1. Introduction
        1. “The 400 Blows” (1966)
        2. “Stolen Kisses” (1968)
        3. “Love on the Run” (1978)
        4. “Day for Night” (1972)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    8. Chapter 16. Roman Polanski: The Aloneness of Existence
      1. Introduction
        1. “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968)
        2. “Chinatown” (1974)
        3. “Tess” (1981)
        4. “The Pianist” (2002)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    9. Chapter 17. Stanley Kubrick: The Darkness of Modern Life
      1. Introduction
        1. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968)
        2. “Barry Lyndon” (1975)
        3. “Full Metal Jacket” (1987)
        4. “Eyes Wide Shut” (2000)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    10. Chapter 18. Steven Spielberg: Childhood Forever
      1. Introduction
        1. “Jaws” (1975)
        2. “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981)
        3. “E.T.” (1982)
        4. “Saving Private Ryan” (1998)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actors
      4. Directing the Camera
    11. Chapter 19. Margarethe Von Trotta: Historical Life and Personal Life Intersect
      1. Introduction
        1. “The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum” (1975)
        2. “The Second Awakening of Christa Klages” (1977)
        3. “Marianne and Juliane” (1981)
        4. “Rosenstrasse” (2004)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    12. Chapter 20. Lukas Moodysson: Empathy and Its Limits
      1. Introduction
        1. “Fucking Åmål” (1998)
        2. “Together” (2000)
        3. “Lilja 4-Ever” (2002)
        4. “A Hole in My Heart” (2004)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    13. Chapter 21. Catherine Breillat: The Warfare of Sexuality
      1. Introduction
        1. “Romance” (1999)
        2. “Fat Girl” (2001)
        3. “Sex Is Comedy” (2002)
        4. “Anatomy of Hell” (2004)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    14. Chapter 22. Mary Harron: Celebrity and Banality
      1. Introduction
        1. “I Shot Andy Warhol” (1995)
        2. “American Psycho” (2000)
      2. Text Interpretation
      3. Directing the Actor
      4. Directing the Camera
    15. Chapter 23. Conclusion
  10. Appendix: Finding the Director’s Idea
    1. Strategy for Reading the Script
    2. Moving Toward Interpretation
    3. Choosing the Director’s Idea
  11. Index