Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics is a comprehensive exploration into the art and craft of directing for film and television. It’s filled with practical advice, essential technical information, and inspiring case studies for every stage of production. This book covers the methods, technologies, thought processes, and judgments that a director must use throughout the fascinating process of making a film, and concentrates on developing the human aspects of cinema to connect with audiences.
The fully revised and updated 6th edition features new sections on using improvisation, the development of characters for long form television series, visual design, the role of the digital imaging technician, film promotion and distribution, alongside expanded information on contemporary color grading tools, stylistic approaches and genre, workflows, blocking scenes for the camera and more. The book emphasizes independent and short form cinema which allows cutting-edge creativity and professionalism on shoestring budgets. Recognizing that you learn best by doing, it includes dozens of practical hands-on projects and activities to help you master technical and conceptual skills.
Just as important as surmounting technological hurdles is the conceptual and authorial side of filmmaking. This book provides an unusually clear view of the artistic process, particularly in working with actors and principle crew members. It offers eminently practical tools and exercises to help you develop your artistic identity, find credible and compelling stories, choose and work with your cast and hone your narrative skills. Directing shows you how to surpass mere technical proficiency and become a storyteller with a distinctive voice and style.
The accompanying companion website includes film analysis exercises, shooting projects, checklists and assignment forms, analytical questionnaires, updated production forms and logs for all phases of a project with links to additional resources and set safety advice.
Table of Contents
PART 1: THE DIRECTOR AND ARTISTIC IDENTITY
1 THE WORLD OF THE FILM DIRECTOR
2 DEVELOPING AS A DIRECTOR
PART 2: THE STORY AND ITS DEVELOPMENT
3 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF DRAMA
4 SHAPING THE STORY INTO DRAMA
5 PLOT, TIME, AND STRUCTURE
PART 3: THE DIRECTOR AND THE SCRIPT
6 SCREENPLAY GROUND RULES
7 RECOGNIZING THE SUPERIOR SCREENPLAY
8 SCRIPT ANALYSIS AND DEVELOPMENT
PART 4: AUTHORSHIP AND AESTHETICS
9 CINEMATIC POINT OF VIEW
10 FORM AND STYLE
11 TONE, STYLE AND GENRE
PART 5: A DIRECTOR’S SCREEN GRAMMAR
12 FILM LANGUAGE
13 THE FRAME AND THE SHOT
14 THE MOVING CAMERA
15 LANGUAGE OF THE EDIT
16 THE HUMAN VANTAGE OF CINEMATIC LANGUAGE
PART 6: PREPRODUCTION
17 EXPLORING THE SCRIPT
19 ACTING FUNDAMENTALS 227
20 DIRECTING ACTORS
22 ACTING EXERCISE
23 PLANNING THE VISUAL DESIGN
24 DEVELOPING THE SHOOTING SCRIPT
25 LINE PRODUCING AND LOGISTICS
PART 7: PRODUCTION
26 DEVELOPING A PRODUCTION CREW
27 THE DIRECTOR AND PRODUCTION TECH
28 ON SET: PRODUCTION BEGINS
29 DIRECTING ON THE SET
30 MONITORING CONTINUITY AND PROGRESS
PART 8: POSTPRODUCTION
31 POSTPRODUCTION OVERVIEW
32 EDITING BEGINS: GETTING TO KNOW THE FOOTAGE
33 THE ROUGH CUT
34 GETTING TO FINE CUT AND PICTURE LOCK
35 WORKING WITH MUSIC
36 THE FINISHING TOUCHES
37 GETTING IT OUT THERE
Photograph and Illustration Acknowledgements
Michael Rabiger has directed or edited over 35 films, was a founding faculty member and then Chair of the Film/Video Department at Columbia College Chicago, and has given workshops in over 23 countries. He is an Honorary Professor at Buenos Aires University, and a Fulbright Specialist. Rabiger is also the author of Developing Story Ideas and the enormously successful Directing the Documentary, both for Routledge/Focal Press.
Mick Hurbis-Cherrier teaches filmmaking at Hunter College in New York City. Professionally, he has worked as a screenwriter, director, cinematographer, and editor, and his films have garnered prizes at numerous festivals. He is the author of Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Filmmaking (Routledge/Focal Press), in its third edition.
"This is a remarkable book and an invaluable reference for directors at all levels. Not only does it thoroughly explore the essential and enduring knowledge of the craft, the human connection to storytelling, but it also shows a director how to harness modern workflows and technology for maximum creative impact. It’s all there."
Sameh Zoabi, writer-director, Tel Aviv on Fire; Under the Same Sun; Professor New York University Praise for the previous edition
"This terrific new edition, updating the classic, is one of the most complete manuals for directing you'll find. It gives both a broad overview and a detailed investigation of the craft; an explanation of the technology as well as an exploration of cinematic language and aesthetics.
So take this guide, add your own passion for filmmaking, and you'll have a solid foundation for any movie you make."
Nancy Savoca, director, Dogfight, Household Saints, 24 Hour Woman, and Union Square
"While the basics of film aesthetics are well addressed, the value of this volume lies in its practical approach. Rabiger and Hurbis-Cherrier's firsthand experience allows them to describe the day-to-day of directing in simple, uncomplicated terms, appealing to both the novice and seasoned pro. . . The learning-by-doing method makes this across-the-board introduction accessible, practical and surprisingly entertaining."
DGA Quarterly, http://www.dga.org/Craft/
Praise for the fourth edition
"Michael Rabiger's book Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics is the gold standard. His attention to the artistry of directing, not merely the technical concerns, puts him in the first rank. Rabiger's taste, knowledge, and insight are even more finely honed in this new edition. For the novice or the seasoned pro, this book is a joy and a must."
Jared Rappaport, Chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts, California State University - Northridge
"As he has in previous editions of Directing, Michael Rabiger continues to offer a complete and comprehensive overview of virtually all aspects of directing, from ideas to budgeting, from casting to editing. From my viewpoint there is no comparable book on the market."
Eric Swelstad, Department Chair - Media Arts, Los Angeles Valley College
"A comprehensive introduction to directing that focuses heavily on the interpersonal and organizational aspects of the craft….For those about to embark on their debut short or feature, Directing offers a thorough manual that keeps one from having to learn everything the hard way."