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The Big Picture: Filmmaking Lessons from a Life on the Set Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 12, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; First Edition edition (May 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312380380
  • ASIN: B004JU1T3E
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,260,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After working on more than 40 films as an assistant director and associate producer, Reilly has written a valuable guide that film students and novice filmmakers will find illuminating and insightful. In 50 short essays Reilly analyzes the problems that often surface on movie sets, and offers solutions. He walks the reader through techniques he has observed over the years while working on films with Alfonso Cuarón, Sydney Pollack, Woody Allen and other top directors. The approach is not a routine rehashing of Hollywood anecdotes but a crash course covering specific situations and working methods: Woody may not plan the day's shots until he is on the set on any given day, but he absolutely considers the abutting scenes and how they were, or will be, shot. Reilly opens with film set slang and jargon (martini = last shot of the day) and then moves on to cover everything from schedules, blocking actor movements, camera angles and master shots to variables in sunlight and the color palette: Before you settle on that dress you think possibly might be raspberry pink, consider what color the walls will be painted on the set where the dress will be worn. Every page is packed with such practical tips and insider information, and Reilly caps off his fascinating facts and figures with a glossary of film terms. Minus padding or wasted words, this is a book that could well become a bible and standard reference text for aspiring filmmakers. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Full of wisdom, insight, and practical filmmaking experience. It’s really what goes on day to day in the trenches. Where was this book when I was starting out?”—Woody Allen

“This is the best book on the nuts and bolts—and art—of filmmaking I’ve read. Tom Reilly is a consummate pro. His insightful, practical instruction and explanation will rivet anyone who cares about movies and wants to know how sometimes mundane but often astonishingly difficult work on the set ends up as magic on the screen. Reilly’s vivid behind-the-camera descriptions of great directors and cinematographers at work will enlighten and entertain you. If this were a movie, I’d say: See it twice.”
—Eric Lax, author of Conversations with Woody Allen


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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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So when i saw he had a book I was thrilled!!Will try to contact him one day.
ibefree
Just like the headline, this book is full of wisdom from the guy who lived on Hollywood film set.
goldmixjay
"This is the best book on the nuts and bolts--and art--of filmmaking I've read.
WNYer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By WNYer on March 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"This is the best book on the nuts and bolts--and art--of filmmaking I've read. Tom Reilly is a consummate pro.....If this were a movie, I'd see it twice." --Eric Lax, author of Conversations with Woody Allen

Eric Lax is dead-on right. Author Tom Reilly, who has worked on more than 40 films as an assistant director and associate producer, has given film students and those of us who just love to watch films an invaluable guide as to how a film ends up on a screen. Just read the titles of some of his chapters:
1. Learn the vocabulary of film. 2. Learn the language of the set. 3. Pick your ten best shots. 20. Face the realties of the budget. Even fifty million won't seem like enough. 37. Assume nothing. 41. The set has chemistry: Big egos...Big money....Big art. 45. Sweat the small stuff--routinely. and the last chapter 50. Always have a nice lunch.(Ya gotta read this chapter alone several times if you're "in the biz" or plan to be!) The chapters are all fast-paced and bring us right on the set with Tom. His spot on behind-the-camera descriptions of film industry folks just sweeps you along into his world.

This should be a must read for all film school students. It is one of the few film books I've read that really brings the day-to-day details of making a picture (egos and union issues included!)to one's brain cells. The individual experiences really impart mental picture lessons that a student will never forget.

I originally bought it for my daughter who is in film school, but I'm keeping it for my own 'film-buff' library and buying another copy for her, my budding film-industry-worker-to-be!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay S on April 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For those of you currently making films or planning to make them soon, this book is a VERY helpful list of pointers on how to approach the topics of filmmaking. Some tips tend to apply more toward million-dollar pictures, but almost all of the information in here can be applied to a low or no-budget film when you scale down the message. I've read too many filmmaking books to count and sometimes you feel you've read just about all there is to say. In this case, listening to a professional who isn't a major, known director gives a much different and valuable approach to filmmaking that you wouldn't normally get from a book written by your favorite director. Some books talk about how to get the great shots and cast the right mood but this book forces you to ask yourself how much will the shot really cost and can I do it a better way with a small budget. Sometimes, that's just as important.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By First Time Feature Director on June 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I just finished this fantastic book. I've been in the industry for a couple of years now, and am at work on my first feature length film. I found this to be full of great annecdotes and insider info aimed toward the up and coming filmmaker.

Each chapter is concise,long enough to make a well conceived point, short enough to never ramble or lose sight of the goal. It was witty, insightful and very well written.

Mr. Reilly's intelligence and ability to infuse what at first would seem esoteric facts into his proverbs from the set of major productions make it a compelling, unique read. A rare gem amongst film education and life in the trenches style books.

If you happen to be in a store that carries it, at the very least read the chapter "If its not in the shot it doesnt matter". I've never read a more vibrant, and terrifying written account of what its like to be on the set with everything crashing down around you. My sweat and rising heartbeat were palpable.

If you are about to embark on a cinematic endevour of any level, this should be required reading beforehand. As an avid reader of all things film I have to reguard this book as one of the best I have had the pleasure to crack. Don't miss it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TC on June 5, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tom covers so much in such a little book, it's truly a must read for anyone who'd like or needs to know more about filming before you begin the process.
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