The Director's Idea : The Path to Great Directing book cover
1st Edition

The Director's Idea
The Path to Great Directing

ISBN 9780240806815
Published February 21, 2006 by Routledge
370 Pages

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Book Description

As a director, you must have a concept, a "director's idea", to shape your approach to the actors, the camera, and the script. With this clear idea your film will be deeper and more effective, and you will be able to differentiate--and therefore make the choice--between competent directing and great directing. Using case studies of famous directors as real-world examples of "director's ideas", the author has provided the theory and the practice to help directors immediately improve their work.

Table of Contents

Part I, What the Director Does: Introduction; The Director's Idea; The Competent Director; The Good Director; The Great Director; Text Interpretation; The Camera; The Actor; Part II, Case Studies: Sergei Eisenstein; John Ford; George Stevens; Billy Wilder; Ernst Lucitsch; Elia Kazan; Francois Truffaut; Roman Polanski; Stanley Kubrick; Steven Spielberg; Margarethe Von Trotta; Lukas Moodysson; Catharine Breillat; Mary Harron; Conclusion; Appendix

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Ken Dancyger is the author of numerous books on screenwriting, editing, and production. He conducts screenwriting forums and workshops in North America, Europe, and Asia. A past chair of Undergraduate studies in the Department of Film and Television at NYU, he is currently Professor of Film and Television at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.


"The Director's Idea explains in precise language how cinematography influences every aspect of story-telling and character portrayal in a film--it will certainly help young directors understand the importance of making critical choices along the way. It is especially useful to talk about camerawork in the context of a book about directing--linking the technical and creative aspects is the key to great film-making."
--Michael Ballhaus, Cinematographer, THE GANGS OF NEW YORK and WORKING GIRL

"Ken Dancyger interprets my films accurately, intelligently, but most importantly for me, with a great deal of heart. He allows himself to be gripped by a character, to be moved by a powerful performance, and that is why he so clearly understands the priority of emotion in my films, that the personal journey defines the political story, and not the other way around. The beauty of Dancyger's book about directing is that he writes simultaneously as an impressive intellectual and as a lover of cinema. That is rare and refreshing"
--Margarethe Von Trotta, Director, ROSENSTRASSE and MARIANNE AND JULIANNE

"This book takes a scholarly look at moviemaking...but creates a keen appreciation of the art as a result." - What Digital Camcorder

"The idea behind the book is that each director's unique vision begins with an idea, a unifying principle that will carry through every decision in all of his or her films." - Back Stage West, June 22, 2006

"This book is a compendium of information about directing and what makes a good (or great) director. What kept us reading was the author's use of well-known films and directors to illustrate and complement the concepts he presents in the book." -Camcorder & Computer Video