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Film & Video Directing (Spring 2004): textbook Grammar of the Film Language by Daniel Arijon
For a good filmmaker, there are no bad scripts or actors, only bad directors, because filmmaking is about DIRECTING. Directing is about directions. Bad story or acting is misdirecting our interest and expectations. Since it is done in front of the camera, for the camera and by the camera, a director is altemately responsible for the choices.
The basic film directing should be divided in to several categories. Script, Camera, Actors. Each field is enormous and has several subcategories. For instance, you have to understand how the story works in your script, how to develop the character, conflict, tension and etc -- all of it from a DIRECTOR'S PERSPECTIVE (which is different from writer's, actor's or cameraperson). Very different! You have to have "director's mind"... You have to see it all together (they don't). You must SEE the movie before anybody else, you have to have not just a good script, but a concept.
You see, the script is just a material for a film. Without a concept every the most brilliant screenplay can end in a bad movie. Best actors will do badly without directorial concept. Very often they say -- vision. It is a word easier to understand, but more difficult to impliment. Of course, every creative process is personal and hard to formolize, but there are some principles which rule this progress of film conception. There are choices with the great cinematic potentiality and there are nicely done but film-static stories. Film is always about process (that's why we have "action" genre movies) and this process must be visible, it must take place in front of us and with us! The genre itself is irrelevant -- it could be a love story, crime story or horror story. The concept is never about WHAT you are about to narrate, but HOW. Film is the extreme level of show-business, the ACTION must be seen. Feelings, thoughts, changes -- it has to be on screen.
I don't to be controversial, but directors are not seeking scripts. They are searching for the stories which live in them without a full dramatic execution. Real director selects the screenplay the way we are looking for a life-time partner (no wonder that so many of them write their own scripts or have writers-colloborators). They all look for very personal things, but this PERSONAL approach is always a must. When they read the texts, they "write" their movies. When you read textbook on playrighting you find the same all familiar "exposition," "climax," "resolution" and so on... It is as we say that a car must have a motor, wheels and gas. That is not how we select the car.
So what does director see in a good script?
For those of you interested in a more detailed discussion see:
The Composition on Film-North website.
Places to go to see the craft of writing:
|Writing||Writing Links and Resources|
|Dramatic Analysis Class||DramLit List|
|My Plays||Virtual Theatre|
|Student Scripts||Fragments from my students scripts; they would welcome the comments|
projects: Demons: Dostoevsky, Camus & Me -- War of Terror
in focus: filmmaking 101
BioMechanics * *
2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
Film-North * Anatoly Antohin
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