top of page

Rhema Christian Cent Group

Public·12 members
Esam Stockton
Esam Stockton

David Mamet on Directing Film: A Review - Medium





David Mamet on Directing Film: A Review




If you are interested in learning more about the art and craft of directing films, you might want to read On Directing Film by David Mamet. Mamet is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, screenwriter, and director who has written and directed acclaimed movies such as Glengarry Glen Ross, The Verdict, House of Games, and Wag the Dog. In this book, he shares his insights and advice on how to direct a film based on a series of lectures he gave at Columbia University's film school.




david mamet on directing film epub 38



The main thesis of the book is that directing is essentially storytelling, and that the director's primary task is to present a story that will be understood by the audience and has the power to be both surprising and inevitable at the same time. To achieve this, Mamet argues that the director should follow some simple but rigorous principles that guide every aspect of filmmaking, from script to cutting room.


The book is divided into three parts: storytelling, filmmaking, and dramatic structure. In each part, Mamet discusses various topics related to directing, such as where to put the camera, how to work with actors, how to edit, how to create drama, how to structure a story, and so on. He illustrates his points with examples from his own films and other classic movies, as well as with dialogues between him and his students.


In this review, we will summarize some of the key ideas and lessons from each part of the book, as well as offer some criticisms and limitations.


The Art of Storytelling




The Importance of Simplicity




One of the main themes that Mamet emphasizes throughout the book is that storytelling should be simple and clear. He criticizes many contemporary films for being too complex, confusing, or pretentious, and for relying on dialogue, exposition, or special effects to convey the story. He argues that the best films are those that tell a story through images and actions, rather than words.


Mamet advises the director to adopt a minimalist approach to storytelling, and to focus on the essential elements of the story. He says that the director should ask himself or herself two questions: "What does the hero want?" and "What happens if he doesn't get it?" These questions help the director to define the protagonist's objective and the stakes of the story, which are the basis of drama.


Mamet also suggests that the director should avoid any unnecessary or irrelevant information that might distract or confuse the audience. He says that the director should "leave out everything that is not necessary to make your point". He compares storytelling to a dream, where everything is meaningful and nothing is accidental. He says that every shot, every scene, every character, every prop, every sound, and every word should serve a purpose and contribute to the story.


The Role of the Director




Another key theme that Mamet stresses throughout the book is that directing is a matter of choice. He defines the director's job as choosing where to put the camera and what to show or not show. He says that the director should not try to imitate reality, but rather create a reality that serves the story.


Mamet advises the director to be decisive and confident in his or her choices, and to avoid being influenced by external factors such as opinions, trends, or expectations. He says that the director should trust his or her intuition and vision, and not be afraid to make mistakes or take risks. He says that the director should "shoot what you want to see" and "cut what you don't want to see".


Mamet also suggests that the director should be respectful and collaborative with his or her crew and cast, but not let them interfere with his or her choices. He says that the director should delegate technical tasks to experts, but retain creative control over the film. He says that the director should communicate clearly and concisely with actors and elicit natural and believable performances from them.


The Power of Juxtaposition




A third theme that Mamet emphasizes throughout the book is that directing is a matter of juxtaposition. He explains that juxtaposition is the technique of placing two contrasting or contradictory elements next to each other to create drama and suspense. He says that juxtaposition is the essence of filmmaking, and that it can be applied to various aspects of directing, such as shots, scenes, characters, sounds, colors, etc.


Mamet advises the director to use juxtaposition to create interest and tension in the film. He says that juxtaposition can be used to create contrast between what is shown and what is implied, between what is expected and what happens, between what is said and what is done, between what is seen and what is heard, etc. He says that juxtaposition can also be used to create irony, humor, surprise, horror, etc.


Mamet also suggests that juxtaposition can be used to create meaning and emotion in the film. He says that juxtaposition can be used to convey a theme or a message, to express a point of view or an attitude, to evoke a mood or a feeling, etc. He says that juxtaposition can also be used to reveal character traits or motivations, to foreshadow events or outcomes, to symbolize ideas or concepts, etc.


The Craft of Filmmaking




The Process of Preparing a Shot List




In this part of the book, Mamet discusses some practical aspects of filmmaking, such as how to prepare a shot list, how to work with actors, how to edit, etc. He starts by explaining how to prepare a shot list, which is a list of all the shots that will be filmed for each scene.


Mamet advises the director to plan every shot in advance and avoid unnecessary or confusing shots. He says that the director should follow some simple rules when preparing a shot list:


  • The shot list should be based on the script and serve the story.



  • The shot list should be clear and concise.



  • The shot list should include only one shot per line.



  • The shot list should include only essential information such as shot number, description, duration, camera angle, camera movement, etc.



  • The shot list should avoid technical jargon or abbreviations.



Mamet also suggests some tips on how to choose the best shots for each scene:


  • The shots should show only what is necessary for the audience to understand the story.



  • The shots should show the most interesting or dramatic aspect of the scene.



  • The shots should vary in size, angle, and movement to create visual interest and rhythm.



  • The shots should follow the rule of thirds, which is a guideline for composing a balanced and aesthetically pleasing image.



The Challenge of Working with Actors




Another topic that Mamet discusses in this part of the book is how to work with actors. He acknowledges that working with actors can be challenging and frustrating, but also rewarding and inspiring. He offers some insights and advice on how to communicate with actors and elicit natural and believable performances from them.


Mamet advises the director to avoid giving actors too much direction or explanation. He says that the director should not tell the actors what to do or how to feel, but rather what to want and what to avoid. He says that the director should give the actors simple and clear objectives that motivate their actions and reactions. He says that the director should also give the actors obstacles that create conflict and tension.


Mamet also suggests that the director should trust the actors and their instincts. He says that the director should not try to control or manipulate the actors, but rather let them explore and discover their own ways of expressing the characters. He says that the director should respect the actors' choices and opinions, but also challenge them to improve and grow. He says that the director should also encourage the actors to have fun and enjoy their work.


The Art of Editing




A third topic that Mamet discusses in this part of the book is how to edit. He defines editing as the process of selecting, arranging, and combining shots to create a coherent and compelling film. He explains some of the principles and techniques of editing, such as continuity, rhythm, pace, transitions, etc.


Mamet advises the director to edit with a purpose and a vision. He says that the director should edit according to the story and not according to the footage. He says that the director should cut out anything that does not serve the story or distracts from it. He says that the director should also cut out anything that is redundant or repetitive.


Mamet also suggests that the director should edit with an eye and an ear. He says that the director should edit visually and auditorily, paying attention to both what is seen and what is heard. He says that the director should use sound as a tool to enhance or contrast with the image, to create mood or atmosphere, to convey information or emotion, etc. He says that the director should also use music sparingly and appropriately, to support or counterpoint with the story.


The Theory of Dramatic Structure




The Concept of Counter-Cultural Architecture




the structure of a story based on three acts and four questions. He calls this approach "counter-cultural architecture" because it goes against the conventional wisdom and formulas of most screenwriting books and courses. He explains how this approach can help the director to create a more original and engaging story.


Mamet advises the director to structure the story according to three acts: the setup, the development, and the resolution. He says that each act should answer one of the four questions: who wants what from whom? what happens if they don't get it? why now? and how will it end? He says that these questions help the director to define the protagonist's objective, the antagonist's opposition, the urgency of the situation, and the outcome of the conflict.


Mamet also suggests that the director should structure each act according to a series of beats. He defines a beat as a unit of action that changes the situation in some way. He says that each beat should advance the story and increase the tension. He says that each beat should also be surprising and inevitable, meaning that it should be unexpected but logical. He says that each beat should also be simple and clear, meaning that it should be easy to understand and visualize.


The Elements of Dramatic Progression




Another topic that Mamet discusses in this part of the book is how to create dramatic progression in a story. He defines dramatic progression as the movement of the story from one state to another, from order to chaos, from stability to instability, from harmony to conflict, etc. He identifies some of the essential elements of dramatic progression, such as exposition, inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action, etc.


Mamet advises the director to create dramatic progression by introducing information, events, and characters that change the status quo and create problems for the protagonist. He says that the director should reveal information gradually and strategically, avoiding too much or too little exposition. He says that the director should also create an inciting incident that sets the story in motion and establishes the protagonist's objective and stakes.


Mamet also suggests that the director should create dramatic progression by increasing the difficulty, complexity, and intensity of the problems that the protagonist faces. He says that the director should create rising action by adding obstacles, complications, twists, and turns that challenge and test the protagonist. He says that the director should also create a climax that brings the story to its highest point of tension and conflict, where the protagonist faces his or her final obstacle and makes his or her final choice.


The Principles of Dramatic Retraction




the book is how to create dramatic retraction in a story. He defines dramatic retraction as the technique of using surprise and reversal to create tension and resolution in a story. He explains how this technique can help the director to keep the audience engaged and satisfied.


Mamet advises the director to create surprise by subverting the audience's expectations and assumptions. He says that the director should create situations that are unpredictable but plausible, that are contrary but consistent, that are shocking but sensible. He says that the director should also create characters that are complex and contradictory, that are flawed but sympathetic, that are surprising but believable.


Mamet also suggests that the director should create reversal by changing the direction or outcome of the story or a scene. He says that the director should create situations that turn from bad to worse, from good to bad, from bad to good, etc. He says that the director should also create characters that change from passive to active, from active to passive, from ally to enemy, from enemy to ally, etc.


The Conclusion




In conclusion, On Directing Film by David Mamet is a valuable and insightful book for anyone who wants to learn more about the art and craft of directing films. Mamet offers a simple but rigorous approach to storytelling, filmmaking, and dramatic structure that can help the director to create a clear and compelling film that will be understood and appreciated by the audience.


However, the book is not without its flaws and limitations. Some of the criticisms and drawbacks of the book are:


  • The book is too short and too vague. It does not provide enough examples, details, or explanations for some of the concepts and techniques it discusses.



  • The book is too subjective and dogmatic. It does not acknowledge or address other perspectives, approaches, or styles of directing that might be equally valid or effective.



  • The book is too outdated and irrelevant. It does not reflect or consider the changes and developments in filmmaking technology, culture, and industry that have occurred since it was published in 1991.



Despite these shortcomings, the book is still worth reading and studying for its original and provocative ideas and lessons on directing film.


FAQs




Here are some frequently asked questions about the book and their answers:


  • What is the main message or lesson of the book?



the power to be both surprising and inevitable at the same time. To achieve this, the director should follow some simple but rigorous principles that guide every aspect of filmmaking, from script to cutting room.


  • Who is the target audience of the book?



The target audience of the book is anyone who is interested in learning more about the art and craft of directing films, especially aspiring or novice directors who want to improve their skills and knowledge.


  • What are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the book?



Some of the strengths of the book are:


  • It is written by a renowned and experienced playwright, screenwriter, and director who has a unique and distinctive voice and vision.



  • It is based on a series of lectures that Mamet gave at Columbia University's film school, which gives it a personal and conversational tone and style.



  • It offers a simple but rigorous approach to storytelling, filmmaking, and dramatic structure that can help the director to create a clear and compelling film that will be understood and appreciated by the audience.



Some of the weaknesses of the book are:


  • It is too short and too vague. It does not provide enough examples, details, or explanations for some of the concepts and techniques it discusses.



  • It is too subjective and dogmatic. It does not acknowledge or address other perspectives, approaches, or styles of directing that might be equally valid or effective.



  • It is too outdated and irrelevant. It does not reflect or consider the changes and developments in filmmaking technology, culture, and industry that have occurred since it was published in 1991.



  • How can I apply the concepts and techniques from the book to my own filmmaking projects?



You can apply the concepts and techniques from the book to your own filmmaking projects by following these steps:


  • Read and analyze the script of your film and identify the protagonist's objective, the antagonist's opposition, the stakes, and the outcome.



  • Prepare a shot list for each scene based on the script and choose where to put the camera and what to show or not show.



  • Communicate with your actors and give them simple and clear objectives and obstacles that motivate their actions and reactions.



the story or distracts from it.


  • Use juxtaposition to create contrast, contradiction, drama, and suspense in your film.



  • Use surprise and reversal to create tension and resolution in your film.



  • Review and revise your film until you are satisfied with the final product.



  • Where can I find more information or resources on the book or the author?



You can find more information or resources on the book or the author by visiting these websites:


  • On directing film : Mamet, David : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive



  • On Directing Film - David Mamet - Google Books



  • David Mamet - IMDb



71b2f0854b


About

Welcome to the group! You can connect with other members, ge...

Members

  • J
    johns-t1
  • L
    lynnrevehaniper
  • Pl Yi
    Pl Yi
  • Weeramon Tongdara
    Weeramon Tongdara
  • I
    info.tvactivatecode
bottom of page