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"Drama is life with the dull bits left out." Hitchcock
Concept Page Stage Directing
Film Directing 101
THOUGHTS, FILMS & MOVIES google.com/group/directing
This site is born out of the files migration from my hard drive to the light on the web. Now I have something else to think about -- "writing on-line as a performance." A different type of writing and a special way of thinking. In the tradition of postmodern theories I consider you, reader, as my co-author and therefore I do not apologize for mistakes. Thought (truth) is a process (Hegel). If you like finished and polished texts, get a book....
The idea to think about film as the northern type of sensitivity is new to me and drives me crazy. First, rethinking the "geographic" perception; thanks to postmodern writers it is not a totally new thought. Second, the revision of my approach to the film phenomena -- you go to "View Points" page and see for yourself. Keeping it in mind, you can see how I arrived at teaching a new course. I welcome comments and suggestions. I consider this class as Film Studies using the "Northern" cinema -- Scandinavia, Russia, Germany and US. My aim is to study the nature of film -- the new postmodern notion of film as thought-feeling, nomadic structure of viewing experience, and the northern origins of cinema. Bergman and Tarkovsky are the two directors most suitable as material for analysis. (I still don't know how this class could be arranged in order to cover the basic philosophy behind those ideas).
Directing is about directions. First thing to do is to direct yourself: your mind, your thought process, your feelings and visions. Since you're not an actor, there is no director to direct you. You have to do it. If you learn it, the rest is easy.
All great men and great directors are people of vision. The films taught in class are the trace of different new ways to see and to think about life, the world and yourself. Vision is a mature concept. Stanislavsky during his rehearsals liked to scream at his actors -- "I don't see it!" If your thought is strong enough for others to see, you have a concept. If you think that theatre is SHOW-BUSINESS, think again about film -- Film is the business of showing the invisible world of our soul.
I'm not sure that I understand the notorious division between art and craft. If you want to make a movie bad enough you will learn "how" to do it. Try and try again, try many times -- and you will end up studying how the best is done. For me the main question is WHY should I do it? It has to be personal, like everything of importance.
So, how is it born, the vision thing?
BAZIN (CRITIC)The French word "auteur" has been employed since legal battles in the 1930s struggled to determine who deserved credit for a film. The question extended beyound the courts when film theorist Andre Bazin founded the quarterly journal Cahiers du Cinema in 1951, devoted to studying the art of motion pictures and hailing its greatest contributors.
Universities and film societies closely followed Bazin's criticisms and an underground film movement was born. From this wellspring came the French New Wave directors Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Truffaut, who took to the streets with 16mm cameras and explored new visions in film. Others simply applied these viewpoints into a new appreciation for the people who make movies.
Taking his lead from film critic James Agee, Bazin argued that the highest purveyors of the form were the fiercely independent American directors that continued to stamp their personalities on films in the assembly-line mentality of the studio system. Bazin reverred directors like D.W.Griffith, Ernst Lubitsch, and Charlie Chaplin, those who had succeeded in experimenting and improving despite contract players, union crews, dictated scripts, and impossible deadlines imposed by the studios.
Bazin's auteur theory is today the most pervasive position in the world. Almost all films seen today are viewed with a sense of their sole originator, and today's directors are often more popular and more controversial than the actors or scripts of their films. A sudden appreciation for the films of Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, and particularly Howard Hawks, stemmed from this perspective. And contemporary directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Stone, Spike Lee, Francis Ford Coppola, and Martin Scorcese are now heralded for their distinctive styles.
Another important principle rediscovered by Bazin was mise-en-scene, a style of filming that emphasizes long takes, the placement of the camera, and choreography of action as an extension of the director's personal touch. Mise-en-scne, Bazin argues, is preferrable to the radical montage scenes of Sergei Eisenstein, for it shows that the director was planning all cuts before the editing stage. Bazin pointed to the works of Jean Renoir, Erich von Stroheim, and Orson Welles as the finest example of mise-en-scene directors, and renewed interest in their careers soon followed.
Bazin set a criteria by which film buffs could got back and evaluate the efforts of others, and molded thought for an entire generation of filmmakers, critics, and scholars.
BORN: April 8, 1918 in Angers, France. DIED: 1958
Simply, be an artist. Yes, like the one who paints his canvases. He has a blank space in front of him, you have empty space! Construct it, shape it, orginize... He will put the red paint, you, too -- the red dress crosses the screen, or red light... Paint it. Write you movies the way composer writes music.
What words? Sounds!
You don't need words...
HOMEWORK: select one 30 sec. commercial and describe its concept -- Commercial Archive*****
Read Bazin's book to understand that director is no less an artist, tha a composer, writer, painter! Being a "filmmaker" is only being a professional (craft of the trade)! Of course, a composer can read, write notation, play instruments -- but this is to support his artistic needs! You have to learn how to see the difference in Meyerhold's formula (for actors): Actor = Creator + Medium
How does this formula work for director? What is YOUR medium? The same: Director = Artist + Medium
Write down what you consider film directing medium (bring to class -- oral presentation).
Artist (Author) -- what is so unique about YOUR vision of the world, YOUR perception of life, your sensitivity? Do you know? Do you know yourself? You must -- because this is the REAL source of any new voice in filmmaking. If you have nothing to say about the world you are born in (never before existed and reflected upon), you won't make it as a director. You will end up assisting others.... at the best. Work on those both at the same time: Creator (Artist) + Medium (Craft).
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