12 January, 2010

Cinema, filming, stories and orchestra

Cinema is the great art form of our time. It provides popular entertainment and is the preeminent forum for ideas and self-expression. Occupying the place of the theater in Elizabethan times, or the novel in the 19th and early 20th centuries, the cinema is where dreams of every shape and meaning take hold of the contemporary mind. The cinema leaps national and cultural barriers as no medium has ever done before, and the best films excite hearts and minds as only good art can. We each have particular stories to tell, and I shall show you that you do too. No limit exists to the number of films the world can consume, so if you can direct outstanding screen work, you can make a job for yourself. This won’t be simple or easy, and the competition is stiff. But if you can sustain passion for the work, this book will help you succeed no matter whether you’ve done ten years in the film industry or are just starting out. Learning to direct films is like learning to conduct an orchestra. Most conductors learn an instrument, master music, and then learn to conduct—which means coordinating an ensemble of top-notch musicians. Most who direct get there by mastering a key craft such as screenwriting, cinematography, or editing. Which one you should choose will emerge as you roll up your sleeves, use this book, and get an all-around immersion. You may do this in film school with fellow students, or outside it working with a few committed friends. Superb, affordable digital technology now makes high-quality filmmaking possible on a tight budget, so learning to direct has never been more accessible. By the way, when I speak of filmmaking or directing a “film,” I include film and digital media together. They draw on a common screen language, use the same directorial approaches, and are different only as screen delivery technologies.


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