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101 Things I Learned in Film School Hardcover – May 20, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neil Landau's credits include writing and producing for Universal Pictures, Disney, Columbia Pictures, and 20th Century Fox. He is the screenwriter of the teen comedy "Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead" and has worked on such diverse projects as "Melrose Place," "Doogie Howser MD," and MTV's "Undressed." He recently completed his second book, The Screenwriter's Roadmap (Focal Press, 2012). He teaches at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts.

Matthew Frederick is an architect, urban designer, and the creator of the 101 THINGS I LEARNED® book series. He has taught architecture, urban design, and urban planning at a number of colleges and universities. He lives in Hudson, New York.
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Product Details

  • Series: 101 Things I Learned
  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (May 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446550272
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446550277
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Ward on May 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Film making is essentially storytelling, and as a writing teacher and avid reader, it's always fascinated me. I have been wanting to learn more about this storytelling process, and about the nuts and bolts of movie-making -- including scriptwriting, camera angles, and editing -- in a way that's relatively quick and accessible. This little book was perfect for me. It's deceptively straightforward and simple but rich with information. It helped me grasp the process of film-making, which Neil Landau described as both "painstakingly deliberate and fortuitously experimental." I am excited about looking for some of techniques he described next time I watch an excellent movie.

Some aspects of movie making the author touches on:

* The stages of film-making -- from pre-production to post-production.
* The nuts and bolts of screenplays -- have you ever wondered how to format a screenplay or how long it should be? (hint: 1 screenplay page = 1 minute of screen time)
* Writing and editing the screenplay -- it includes some of the standard gems cherished by us writing teachers, like "show, don't tell," plus tips for plotting, advice on developing a compelling protagonist, and more.
* Coming up with an effective movie title.
* Creating believable dialogue.
* How to pitch a screenplay to a film studio executive.
* How to use lighting and various camera lenses and angles to tell your story and reveal important things about a character's psychology.
* Tips for casting.
* Things the audience should experience during a movie, like catharsis.

This is a concise, intriguing overview of the art of film making, strewn with quotes from movie makers, actors, and writers, that I'll be keeping on a side table in my T.V.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Brown on May 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I carry around a little black book--101 Things I Learned in Film School by Neil Landau. Ever since I bought and read it, I have been carrying this excellent book around with me like a good luck charm so I can have Landau's sage wisdom and years of talent/expert advice and experience as a screenwriter/filmmaker at my fingertips. I am sure you will feel the same about its contents--you'll never "lose" this book - it's chocked full of 101 powerful lessons on screenwriting and film for the beginner, intermediate, or advanced student. Even professional filmmakers/screenwriters will benefit from reviewing all of the book's most pertinent ideas and advice to recharge their creativity or focus anew on a project or script.

As a professor of creative writing, I will now use 101 Things I Learned in Film School in all my film/screenwriting classes. Additionally, as the Director of both the Chicago Writers' Workshop and the Los Angeles Writers' Workshop, I am implementing this book into all of our screenwriting and film classes! Forget about spending thousands of dollars on film school when this book can give you so much at a fraction of the cost--expert advice from a master who knows Hollywood and his craft, Neil Landau. I highly recommend 101 Things I Learned in Film School!
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a lover of cinema and though I've done some amateur film work, I've never been to film school. I was supposed to attend one several years ago, but my life took a different turn. I have friends who work or worked in the industry and they've informed me that other than the contacts and the technical know-how I would have picked-up, I really didn't miss much and I can pick up much of what I would need to know reading film books.

I'm sure a book like 101 THINGS I LEARNED IN FILM SCHOOL is a book they would suggest. The book touches on all the basic aspects of film-making, from pre-production to post. It explains how to write a screenplay, how to edit a screenplay, and how to pitch a screenplay. It gives tips about lightening and sound and how different camera lenses and angles affect the way a story is told on film. The book also provides some suggestions for casting and what an audience should experience after watching a good movie, no matter the genre. Interlaced throughout are a handful of quotations from famous filmmakers and screenwriters.

101 THINGS I LEARNED IN FILM SCHOOL is an easy-to-read book that is concise and to the point. I had already learned some of these tips from previous experience and other books I've read. Still, I learned some new things (such as how different lenses can tell different stories) and the book was an enjoyable read for me.

I recommend this book for anyone who is interested in film, but doesn't have a great deal of experience working in the medium. I also recommend this book for anyone who want to write because many of the 101 things are just as applicable to the process of writing as they are to the process of making a movie. Also, because of the concise nature of the book, it also makes a good reference guide for those who already have previous film experience.
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Format: Hardcover
Although this book may, at first glance, look similar to those little coffee table books with inspiring quotes or entertaining snippets of information that perhaps look nice and graphic versus providing anything more than an ephemeral experience and an aesthetically pleasing bound book on your table, this book is anything but. This little book is full of useful information that is concise, inspiring and useful. Each page presents you with a snippet of information that is specific and will either remind you of larger topics that you have read previously or interest you in learning more about a specific aspect of filmmaking. It walks the fine line of being concise and informative. I say this because I find that compact bits of information must inevitably sacrifice substance. In this case, the writers seem to have found just the right balance between too little and too much information. I pick this book up and can turn to any page in order or out of order and still feel in the flow. Often it reminds me of something truly useful that had just dulled in my mind over time or that simply was shadowed by the noise of every day life. Almost all pages offer something for me to think about that would affect the way I write or shoot on any given story. It is a quick read and, undoubtedly, the kind of book I would pick up and read again and again because the information that is provided is useful based upon context. If I am in different mood, solving a different problem or on a specific project, I know that I would think about the snippets and thoughts in this book differently. Definitely worth the price...
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