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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — On Filmmaking by Alexander Mackendrick. Martin Scorsese Foreword. Paul Cronin Editor. An invaluable analysis of the director's art and craft, from one of the most revered of all film school directors.
But after retiring from film-making in , he then spent nearly 25 years teaching his craft at the California Institute of the Arts in Los An An invaluable analysis of the director's art and craft, from one of the most revered of all film school directors. But after retiring from film-making in , he then spent nearly 25 years teaching his craft at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.
Mackendrick produced hundreds of pages of masterly handouts and sketches, designed to guide his students to a finer understanding of how to write a story, and then use those devices peculiar to cinema in order to tell that story as effectively as possible. Gathered and edited in this collection, Mackendrick's teachings reveal that he had the talent not only to make great films, but also to articulate the process with a clarity and insight that will still inspire any aspirant film-maker.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published June 1st by Faber Faber first published August 31st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 3. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
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Sort order. Jul 12, Abner Rosenweig rated it really liked it. This book got stellar reviews and Martin Scorsese writes a glowing preface.
I appreciate Mackendrick's advice but wish the content were a little more comprehensive. We get bits and pieces, anecdotes, into the art of screenwriting and directing. The book was edited together, post mortem, from Mackendrick's notes on the craft of filmmaking, and the seams show.
The content is good but fragmentary. The book is somewhat like reading the pre-socratic philosophers--a great deal of wisdom but not much c This book got stellar reviews and Martin Scorsese writes a glowing preface.
The book is somewhat like reading the pre-socratic philosophers--a great deal of wisdom but not much coherence or development.
On Filmmaking seems best, not as an introduction to the craft as advertised, but as a secondary or tertiary reference for an emerging filmmaker. Jun 09, Nathan rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Filmmakers. Better than film school. That's all you need. View 1 comment. Jan 10, Jonathan rated it it was amazing. There will never be anything better than learning it directly from Sandy. I cherish all the memories I have of his teaching.
However, Paul Cronin did a wonderful job of collecting Mackendrick's wisdom. I use it all the time, and I can hear Sandy's voice with his Scottish accent saying, "Student films come in three sizes. Too long. Jul 26, Tom Nittoli rated it it was amazing. The best book on filmmaking that I've ever read.
Mar 15, John Marken rated it it was amazing. A fantastic book packed with insights and practical advice, focusing mostly on interpreting and executing a screenplay and on camera positioning.
As it is a compilation of 'lecture notes' given by Mackendrick throughout his teaching career, the tone is quite engaging and enjoyable albeit quite formal at times. The first section, focusing on dramatic construction, is relevant to any narrative art form. Overall the content is fairly accessible, although it definitely assumes some familiarity wit A fantastic book packed with insights and practical advice, focusing mostly on interpreting and executing a screenplay and on camera positioning.
Overall the content is fairly accessible, although it definitely assumes some familiarity with film concepts and history. Oct 11, Vytautas Abromaitis rated it it was amazing.
Different from Lumet's Making Movies which is also one of the best books on the craft , in this one the director has looked within himself and consciously tried to make theory of the methods that, most say, only come through experience. Sandy's love for the craft and especially for the teaching of the craft is evident on every page.
Incredible book with invaluable exercises for the study of dramatic construction. Apr 05, Pearse Anderson rated it really liked it Shelves: school , writing , did-not-finish , nonfiction , essays. Probably the best of all three books I had to read portions of for Screenwriting. Because these essays mostly all came from recently teaching students, they felt true to the experience of what I was going through and the state of the film world.
I probably read more than half of these and greatly appreciated them. May 06, Pablo C. Among screenwriting and filmmaking manuals —perhaps not 'books' in general— this one might be the best I've encountered so far.
There are two reasons for this: 1 Mackendrick's outstanding respect for the limits of what can be taught; and 2 his teaching discourse, which goes from practice to theory, never demeaning either one. Jun 22, Christy rated it really liked it. This book is a huge asset to anyone with an interest in filmmaking. I especially loved Mackendrick's section on screenwriting and his writing exercises and writing prompts.
May 28, David rated it really liked it. Very interesting in many ways -- lots of the thoughts and principles are applicable to writing or other disciplines as much as film-making.
This book isn't easy to grasp in all respects. It's more of a collection of thoughts than a systematic exploration of the title. But the author readily admits that in the beginning, as I recall. The four-page section titled "A Technique for Having Ideas" is great and is applicable to any creative endeavor. And the section begins with this sentence: 3. And the section begins with this sentence: "There is no technique for having ideas.
Some sections clearly will appeal only to the student. One very interesting chapter on how "Sweet Smell of Success" was developed Mackendrick directed. Now I need to see it again!
There were times when I lost interest in some discussion note that I read it over a period of two years or just skimmed -- sometimes because the material was in type TOO SMALL to read -- those sections apparently were storyboards Mac. Overall, when I finished. I decided the book was worth keeping for reference. Dec 26, Nick rated it it was amazing. The best book on the craft of filmmaking that I've read--and at this point, that's a lot of books.
Mackendrick tells it to you straight. He wasn't a theorist, he was a legitimately famous British filmmaker who hasn't at least heard of "The Sweet Smell of Success? This allows him both the knowledge of what makes a film good and also the ability to communicate this info to the reader. The examples Mackendrick uses from personal experience are inva The best book on the craft of filmmaking that I've read--and at this point, that's a lot of books.
The examples Mackendrick uses from personal experience are invaluable. For instance, he shows the script of "Sweet Smell of Success" before and after Clifford Odets helped him revise it, showing the improvements. On the other hand, I remember reading a book that analyzed the brilliance of "Annie Hall's" script and then subsequently reading another book by Allen's editor, Ralph Rosenblum, that talked about how the film was 9 hours long and had no story, and how Rosenblum basically created the film in the editing room.
Only a filmmaker who was there can truly tell you how a film came into being.
Alexander Mackendrick September 8, — December 22, was an American-Scottish director and teacher. He was born in Boston , Massachusetts and later moved to Scotland. He began making television commercials before moving into post-production editing and directing films, most notably for Ealing Studios where his films include Whisky Galore! He was the cousin of the Scottish writer Roger MacDougall. He was born on 8 September the only child of Francis and Martha Mackendrick who had emigrated to the United States from Glasgow in His father was a ship builder and a civil engineer. When Mackendrick was six, his father died of influenza as a result of a pandemic that swept the world just after World War I.
In the late s he began work at Ealing Studios, where he made some of the most important films of the era, including Whisky Galore! After only three more features Mackendrick spent the last twenty-five years of his life teaching film at the California Institute of the Arts , and is today acknowledged as one of the finest instructors of narrative cinema who ever lived. The book is a piece of the filmmaker trilogy. Words on Pictures is a further selection of his texts conceived for CalArts students, as valuable today as they were when first written fifty years ago. Italian Journal — 45 is the essay Mackendrick wrote about his wartime experiences and includes reports he filed while in Rome as part of the Film Production Section of Psychological Warfare Branch. Chances Galore is a compilation of previously published writings about Mackendrick covering a period of seventy years, from reviews of his work at Ealing Studios to commentary on the impact of his teaching career and articles reflecting the long afterlife of his filmmaking. Papers and books in every room were then doused by the water from the emergency sprinkler system.
Watch: Famed Director & Film Educator Alexander Mackendrick Offers a Lesson on Directing
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