Calling on this unique perspective as playwright, screenwriter, and director of his own critically acclaimed movies, House Of Games and Things Change, David Mamet illuminates how a film comes to be. He looks at every aspect of directing--from script to cutting room--to show the many tasks directors undertake in reaching their prime objective: presenting a story that will be understood by the audience and has the power to be both surprising and inevitable at the same time.
Noted playwright, screenwriter, and director Mamet offers his views on film directing taken, some in transcript form, from lectures and classes at Columbia. With only two films under his belt, Mamet is an odd choice to publish his opinions here, and his ideas are unsurprising. Although presumably being paid by Columbia, Mamet ``suspects'' film schools are ``useless.'' Citing his heroes Eisenstein (story via cuts) and Hitchcock (pre-planning), he advises shooting scenes simply in the ``least interesting way'' possible and cutting everything extraneous to the story. He suggests reading in myth and psychology and watching a lot of animated cartoons. Refreshingly untheoretical, particularly regarding acting technique, this is fitfully interesting stuff, but a bit of an ego trip, too.-- David Bartholomew, NYPL