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On Film-Making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director
     

On Film-Making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director

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by Alexander Mackendrick, Paul Cronin (Editor), Martin Scorsese (Foreword by)
 

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A priceless examination of the filmmaker's craft, from the renowned director of Sweet Smell of Success

After more than twenty years in the film industry as a screenwriter, storyboard editor, and director of memorable films such as The Ladykillers, Alexander Mackendrick turned his back on Hollywood and began a new career as the Dean of one of

Overview

A priceless examination of the filmmaker's craft, from the renowned director of Sweet Smell of Success

After more than twenty years in the film industry as a screenwriter, storyboard editor, and director of memorable films such as The Ladykillers, Alexander Mackendrick turned his back on Hollywood and began a new career as the Dean of one of the country's most demanding and influential film schools. His absolute devotion to the craft of filmmaking served as a powerful impetus to students at the California Institute for the Arts for almost twenty five years, with a teaching style that included prodigious notes, neatly crafted storyboards, and handouts containing excerpts of works by Kierkegaard, Aristotle, and others. At the core of Mackendrick's lessons lay a deceptively simple goal: to teach aspiring filmmakers how to structure and write the stories they want to tell, while using the devices particular to the medium of film to tell their stories effectively.

In this impressive volume, edited by Paul Cronin, the myriad materials that made Mackendrick's reputation as an instructor are collected for the first time, offering a chance for professionals as well as students to discover a methodology of filmmaking that is challenging yet refreshing in its clarity. Meticulously illustrated and drawing on examples from such classic films as North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, and Touch of Evil, Mackendrick's elegant lessons are sure to provide inspiration for a new generation of filmmakers.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Although Mackendrick (1912-93) made most of his pictures, including the classic Sweet Smell of Success, in the 1950s, his stature has only increased in the intervening decades. In 1969, he abandoned his directorial career and became one of the first faculty members at the prestigious California Institute of the Arts, where he established himself as a demanding teacher who brilliantly conveyed what he insisted was the craft-not the art-of directing. He always maintained (perhaps disingenuously) that film directing and writing could not really be taught, only learned through self-education. This book is a compilation of Mackendrick's copious class handouts. Together, they convey his belief that talent is no substitute for a solid grounding in the essentials. The book's topics include dramatic construction (with numerous storyboarding sketches included), the uses of dramatic irony, dialog construction, and the relationship between director and actor. Few of the thousands of books about film directors have parsed their art and craft as thoroughly as this one does and, most invaluably, in the director's own words. It should be required reading for cinema school courses and is recommended for major cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, Los Angeles P.L. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780571211258
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
08/31/2005
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
152,849
Product dimensions:
5.97(w) x 8.95(h) x 0.96(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Alexander Mackendrick directed several films, including The Man in the White Suit, which earned him an Oscar Nomination for Screenwriting. He died in 1993.

Paul Cronin is the editor of Herzog on Herzog.

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On Film-Making: An Introduction to the Craft of the Director 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Basically, you're reading something by a teacher at CalArts, not USC or NYU or UCLA or Chapman, but a straight up arts school. So you get that treatment. The narrative makes no attempt to dull the language, not as if it is a bad thing. Macendrick comes off as an expert as he is, and is infinetely trustworthy. Like he says in the epilogue, you won't really learn anything, its like psychology, just giving names to natural phenonmenon. But what this book is useful for, is realing introducing me (18 years old in high school, interested in making movies) to the craft, the vocabulary, the real basic things, in a way that doesn't make me feel like a child. I FEEL LIKE I AM A STEP AHEAD OF WHERE I SHOULD BE, BECAUSE OF THIS BOOK.