Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Irreview, Book Review: On Directing Film

This one's interesting.

I am not a film director, nor am I even an aspiring film director.  But, since I work with film directors often, I figured I'd finally sit down and read the entirety of this book, front to back.  You see, I read portions of this book years ago (probably in 2005), but didn't at the time sense it's applicability.

I sense it now.

I like the book.  I'm a long-time fan of many things David Mamet (although he is responsible for a handful of things I really dislike).  I enjoy what he says about storytelling.

But I have to say... the opening "dialogue" with his students... man...

I found that to be full of shit.

Yes, Mamet himself is likely to acknowledge the bullshit factor in that opening chapter (and he implies as much in his own foreword), but, man...

Anyway, there is much value for aspiring directors, producers, and writers in On Directing Film. It's a quick read, if a wee overpriced.  It has Mamet's usual quick, blunt style.  Most of it is on point, though Mamet's disdain for the Hollywood system is palpable.

While Mamet fans will undoubtedly be drawn to this one, there are definitely better books concerning filmmaking. 

And that's really all I have to say.

Rating: 9 (Style: 3 stars; Substance: 3 stars)

I'd have given "Substance" four stars, but I can't get over that opening dialogue.


New Words:
  • jejune - juvenile, puerile; devoid of significance or interest; lacking nutritive value
  • aver - to declare positively
  • picayune - a Spanish half real piece formerly current in the South; something trivial
  • assiduous - showing great care, attention, and effort
  • quiddities - whatever makes something the type that it is :  essence; a trifling point :  quibble
  • lacuna - a blank space or a missing part :  gap; a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure
The Profound:
  • "Any good drama takes us deeper and deeper to a resolution that is both surprising and inevitable.  It's like Turkish taffy; it always tastes good and it always sticks to your teeth." - David Mamet

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