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Directors Tell The Story: Master The Craft of Television and Film Directing Reviewed By Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com
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Norm Goldman


Reviewer & Author Interviewer, Norm Goldman. Norm is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures.com.

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By Norm Goldman
Published on November 16, 2011
 

Authors: Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli

ISBN: 978-0-240-81873-3

Publisher: Focal Press (An imprint of Elsevier)




Click Here To Purchase Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing

Authors: Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli

ISBN: 978-0-240-81873-3

Publisher: Focal Press (An imprint of Elsevier)

After reading Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli Directors Tell The Story: Master The Craft of Television and Film Directing, I was amazed at the amount of work, creativity and complexity that goes into the direction of a television film. As we discover, directors need to be able to manage the rigorous demands of the job both mentally and physically. And when it comes down to explaining and describing what the world of film making is all about, you couldn't ask for two more qualified experts than Rooney and Belli.

Rooney has directed over one hundred and fifty episodes of prime-time network shows, including Grey's Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Brothers and Sisters, Castle, and Private Practice. For cable television, she has directed Plain Sight, Weeds, and Drop Dead Diva. Belli is an Emmy Award winning producer, writer and director as well as an author of two books. She directed Monk and The Wizards of Waverly Place on the Disney Channel, as well as The Game on the CW.

The authors have incorporated their vast amount of experience in teaching master classes in directing, as well as their personal directing experiences, into their 308- page readable and crisp guide to the world of directing. Their approach is to explain the techniques of directing in small instructional units that are divided into four sections.

The first one explores the preparation ( prep), wherein the authors explore such topics as:  breaking down the script for story and character, casting, production design, shoot organization with the first assistant director, vision sharing with other important individuals, blocking and shot listing, and scouting locations. The next section details the shoot or the critical length of time it takes to complete principal photography. It is here where we learn about directing the actor, the staff, crew, and equipment suppliers and they are referred to as “below the line” as differentiated from the “above the line” costs which are the writers, producers, director, and actors. As mentioned, the “above the line” costs are negotiated and set in stone, whereas the “below the line” costs are malleable (although there are union minimum salaries established. The authors also explore the actual production and doing the principal shoot where the director runs the set, shapes the actors' performances, and oversees all aspects of telling the story with the camera and sound recording equipment on the sets or on location. Section three deals with the “post” or the time following production when a film is assembled and readied for delivery so that it can be shown or broadcast. It is here where the director has the final opportunity to reinterpret the script by creating the director's cut. The final section deals with what it means to be a director where two fundamental requirements are essential, the passion for storytelling and the ability to be a leader. As stated, it also involves a great deal of multitasking requiring many different skill sets, from knowing how to communicate with actors, to understanding the physical requirements for accomplishing a show, to editing the final product perfectly. In addition, there is a need to have a rich aesthetic sense so that you can judge what is good from what is bad.

Every chapter of the book ends with insider information where the authors' colleagues share their wealth of knowledge of information concerning how to they work with directors, what they want directors to know about their work and what is their advice to young directors. In addition, in boldface they provide a vocabulary of words that they use throughout their explanations. Also included, are directing exercises to assist the aspiring director to master his or her skills.

Trust me, this is a book that should be required reading for anyone who has aspirations in pursuing a career as a director. On the other hand, for readers as myself that have no intention of becoming directors, Directors Tell The Story: Master The Craft of Television and Film Directing will no doubt force you to watch television film from a much different perspective and appreciate the intense collaboration that takes place between the director and everyone else that plays a role in its production.


Click Here To Purchase Directors Tell the Story: Master the Craft of Television and Film Directing