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Moviemakers' Master Class: Private Lessons from the World's Foremost Directors Paperback – October 10, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; First Edition edition (October 10, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 057121102X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571211029
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 6.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From Woody Allen to David Cronenberg, the Coen brothers to Lars Von Trier, all film directors run up against the same essential concerns: how to direct actors, for example, or whether to preplan camera angles. In interviewing these and 16 other notable filmmakers, journalist and screenwriter Tirard finds notable affinities between seemingly dissimilar directors. Tim Burton and Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) both recommend starting out in animation, for example, while Wong Kar-Wai and David Lynch both select their music far in advance and even play it during filming. Most of the responses will come as no surprise to those familiar with the interviewees' work. Martin Scorsese, who has rather strong opinions about which camera lenses to use, believes that "the more personal the film, the more it can claim to be art." Violence impresario Takeshi Kitano, by comparison, describes film as "a succession of perfect images." All in all, Tirard's healthy balance of nuts-and-bolts information and conceptual musings should be of interest to lay readers as well as would-be auteurs. And the filmographies listed at the end of each interview serve as useful checklists for anyone inspired by these well-reasoned, hard-earned life lessons.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A filmmaker, screenwriter, and journalist for Studio Magazine, Tirard has assembled a group of interviews with some of the best directors in the movie industry. Unlike many such interviews, which tend to run on forever, each interview here is between five and eight pages long. In addition, instead of focusing on finished products, Tirard developed certain questions that convey the director's techniques for making great films. He groups the directors as "Old School," "Revisionists," "Dream Weavers," "Heavyweights," or "New Blood" and provides a one-page background and filmography. Directors include Sydney Pollack, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Oliver Stone, and John Woo, along with 14 other influential movie masters. They talk about what cameras and lenses to use, how to decide on shoots, how to handle actors, and other special ways to help students become good filmmakers. Film students and film buffs will appreciate all of the decisions and creativity the directors put into their films. This excellent resource is recommended for all film collections. Rosalind Dayen, South Regional Lib., Broward Cty., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Get your copy today and enjoy it.
M. M. Konakanchi
Finely crafted stories are art---and when a director feels the need to "put his/her stamp" on that story, well, there you have it.
jj
The book was recommended to me, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in filmmaking.
olivier hascoat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By David A. Anselmi on October 2, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is absolutely fantastic -- both very readable to a general audience, as well as very informative to a filmmaking one. By asking basically the exact same questions to each of these twenty famous and/or award-winning Directors, he allows us to compare/contrast how each think... & it's fascinating how often these Directors think _differently_ from each other. Ie, twenty (20) different, yet equally valid, perspectives.

This isn't some puff-piece or "tell me about that bitchy Actress" kind of text. Instead, Tirard asks questions targeting the Directors' creative process, from How they conceive (their work), to What they like to make & Why, and even on to For Whom they make it. Plus a very interesting filmic question: "Do you consider yourself the Author of your Films". Tirard can even be [forgiven] his "Are films Art" question... b/c he received some rather interesting answers, esp. by those whose work is considered 'Art'.

Best of all, is Tirard's method -- he asks his standard [ie. excellent] questions, continues on with some very incisive follow-up... & then gets the hell out of the way (definitely unlike the "me-too" style of Bogdanovich). Refreshing.

Absolutely 10 stars for a tremendous work -- This text is a MUST-HAVE for anybody who loves films... & *especially* for anybody who wants to make film. Everybody seems to have their own [strongly-held] opinion of the 'Right Way' to make films... well, this text gives twenty different "Right Ways" to make films, by some of the very best filmmakers around. I just wish they weren't all White Males... I'd've loved to hear Mira Nair's interview, or Nora Ephron's. Where's Volume 2?
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Evan E. Richards on October 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is exactly what a moviemakers master class should be. It asks technical and artistic questions to some of the greatest directors of all time.

If you want to hear why Tim Burton likes wide lenses, which contemporary directors Scorsese admires and why, Jean Pierre Jeunet's theory of camera movement, David Lynch's "secret dolly move", John Woo's method of shooting and cutting scenes to music, The Coen brothers writing process, Lars Von Trier's take on the rules of Dogme 95, Jean-Luc Goddard's theory of filmmaking out of desire vs. need, then this book is your ticket.

This is a goldmine of knowledge. There are no fluff interviews here; only the best filmmakers in the world relating solid technical advice and tried and true shooting strategies developed from years of experience.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. M. Konakanchi on August 30, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the must read book for any aspiring movie director. It encapsulates the ideas and personal perceptions on presentation of screen story. It's not a book to know nitty gitty technical details, this is a collection of interviews with many directors and their style of making movie, when they talk about it. Same questions have been asked to all directors (Very good questions, no sterio typical questions you see in movie promos).

Get your copy today and enjoy it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By olivier hascoat on September 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an extremely enlightening book for movie lovers as well as aspiring filmmakers. It is refreshing to read about directors talking candidly about their craft with a peer. It is neither boring like some of the more technical books out there nor is it selfserving like books by lone directors. It does not hurt that most of my favorite directors are featured here. The book was recommended to me, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in filmmaking.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Wu on March 16, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book because it is a concise survey of a huge range of different directors. You get a strong sense that each director has developed a style relative to their strengths and background, and that diversity is instructive. The key goal is not learning the one way, but to develop a style that matches one's personality. There is one great exchange, where one director tries a technique that another uses and it doesn't work. I've been rereading the book, since it is as much about managing a set as creating a vision with applicability beyond movies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
An amazing conglomeration of incredible interviews. Tirard works like a master extracting answers from the industries top directors. The responses are amazing and incredibly helpfull. A must have book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ghost(Ghost(M)) on May 8, 2014
Format: Paperback
Got this book from a library via exchange, and I'm glad I didn't pay for it. Not that it's a bad book! The book's strong side is also its weakness: it's very technical. They go on and on about lenses, tracking shots, etc. This reminded me how no-name wannabe musicians (of whom I've known a huge number) like to babble for hours about strings they use, and effects, and what custom modifications they just ordered from their favourite luthier, etc. Ay, there's the rub --> Where's your music? Is it any good? It's not the lenses etc. that make a good movie. Most movies are complete crap. But every film-school graduate knows a ton about lenses. Do you catch my drift? I'd like to know what these masters consider a good movie and how they think such movies are made. So, like I said, there's two sides to this book: first, the book is not unsubstantial; it is specific; it's written simply w/o any deliberate vapour and attempts to fatten it to any "required" page count. Otoh, I read it and I have to say, I know no more than a did before -- of what matters to me.

Another aspect I'd like to touch on is the very intelligent comments by the dude below (Kyle Crews) that look like they went completely over the heads of the readers here, at least those who chose to comment on and rate his review. He complains about the book's repeats, redundancy. Readers object, saying that otherwise you could not compare. But you don't *need* to compare at that level. You need to compare the ways of making a good movie, not how they use lenses in isolation. Not that there's anything wrong with the latter, naturally; but if I had my druthers, this would not be stressed, and (just like Kyle suggests) I'd let these directors talk free-form, w/o forcing them into this Procrustes set of "standard" questions.
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