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.
|Publisher:||Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Edition description:||First Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.09(w) x 9.04(h) x 0.98(d)|
About 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.
Table of Contents
|Part 1||Dramatic Construction|
|The Pre-Verbal Language of Cinema||3|
|What is a Story?||9|
|A Technique for Having Ideas||36|
|Slogans for the Screenwriter's Wall||40|
|Exercises for the Student of Dramatic Construction||44|
|When Not to Write a Shooting Script||66|
|Once Upon a Time...||76|
|Activity versus Action||86|
|William Archer Revisited||97|
|Plausibility and Willing Suspension of Disbelief||111|
|Density and Subplots in Sweet Smell of Success||116|
|The Solomon Exercise||165|
|The Director and the Actor||179|
|Part 2||Film Grammar|
|The Invisible Imaginary Ubiquitous Winged Witness||197|
|How to be Meaningless||200|
|Condensing Screen Time||209|
|Point of View||222|
|Note on the editor||293|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.