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Making Movies Paperback – March 19, 1996
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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It's well known that a vast number of people work on any given movie in roles as varied as writing scripts, choosing locations, dressing sets, costuming the players, lighting scenes, manipulating the camera, directing actors, editing film, working on sound, advertising the finished product, and screening it to an audience. Have you ever thought about how these components are collated? Or why the director is most often considered the author of a film? Wonder no more, because Sidney Lumet's Making Movies is a terrific journey through each stage of filmmaking that is overseen by the director. Lumet, the veteran director of Twelve Angry Men, The Pawnbroker, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network, The Verdict, and many other fine movies, knows the ins and outs of American filmmaking as well as anyone. In this excellent, personable account, Lumet tells what he's learned about making movies in the course of the last 40 years. He shows why fine directors need to have strong imaginations, extraordinary adaptability, and skill in many different fields. His enthusiasm for his life's work, particularly his love of actors, is evident on every page of this book. As Herculean as the labors of film directing are, Lumet takes great pleasure in his work, almost guiltily admitting that the film director's job is "the best in the world."
From Publishers Weekly
Lumet, the acclaimed director of such films as Dog Day Afternoon and Network, presents an anecdotal insider's account of the key elements in filmmaking.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Many how-to manuals seem to put the cart before the horse. Refreshingly, rather than providing instruction in equipment-driven decision making [here's how you use this particular lens, camera, fill light, etc.], Lumet talks about his story-telling goals then how he worked with his team to identify the proper technology to achieve them, resulting in such stylistically varied successes as the hyper-real video & dialog quality of "Dog Day Afternoon" & the Rembrandt-esque look of "The Verdict".
This book has a fly-on-the-wall quality that almost makes you feel like you are participating in a long dinner conversation where the filmmaker discusses his day, reliving his experiences, revisiting his ideas & choices, evaluating whether they worked or not, even racking on the unprofessional Teamster who made him late to rehearsal, then pillaged the craft services cart.
Something that hasn't been stated by other reviewers is how remarkably humble the author comes off. Far from validating the "auteur" status that many would grant him, Lumet appears to have a sincere appreciation for the complex team effort that results in a major motion picture, rather than an inflated perception of the supremacy of the director's role. He is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the filmmaking process & manages to share that knowledge clearly & concisely. He has profound respect for the contributions of the players who typically get nothing but abuse: the studio execs, writers, post-production, the stars.
Lumet even seems honestly enraptured by the emergent qualities that blossom from a group effort where "everyone is making the same movie", & he takes his responsibilities for vision, coordination & budgeting very seriously.
This guy just comes off as the consummate professional & his book is a joy to read.
Lumet’s directing method is one in which the director provides an environment of respect for the actor opposed to animosity, very similar to William Bell's philosophy in "A Sense of Direction: Some Observations on the Art of Directing".
Good study and reference book for actors, directors, and directing actors.