Film Craft: Directing [Paperback]

The crown jewel of the Film Craft Series is of course the volume entitled “Directing.” While every aspect of filmmaking takes work, time, and dedication, directing is essentially the most difficult aspect of making a film. Whenever a movie fails or succeeds the filmmaker is blamed. And whenever an acclaimed actor decides they want to direct it not only becomes a big deal, but it makes it impossible for other directors to step up and achieve acclaim. Which is not to say actors can’t direct, as the book “Film Craft” interviews many noted and incredible directors, all of whom have their own experiences in the field.

As with the previous books in the series, “Directing” is about the hard work and utter pressure it takes to be a director. Lensing a project and achieving some sense of success or artistic satisfaction is tough, and often times it requires massive sacrifice and stress for an artist to express themselves on film. Author Mike Goodridge is able to garner some truly excellent insight in to the directorial process from some very big name auteur. Engrossing and detailed, “Directing” lends readers an intelligent exploration in to movie making that all movie buffs will relish and aspiring filmmakers will treasure.

With his usual witty and fascinating prologue. Goodridge expresses great excitement over the directors listed and their ability to note their own mistakes and how Hollywood was a process for them. It’s a shame this has become something of a lost element in the movie world. Included are also tributes to classic directors like Swedish filmmaking icon Ingmar Bergman, American filmmaker John Ford, and Parisian director Jean Luc Godard, just to name a few. Adding an invaluable asset to the book, the directors interviewed lend their own advice to young and aspiring filmmakers alike that want to achieve their own style or emulate their heroes. Among the very recognizable names in the book interviewed respectively are Pedro Almodovar who discusses trying to develop his own style throughout his career, and how classic movies play a big role in the storytelling element of his own masterworks.

Danish director Susanne Bief discusses her strengths in dramatic filmmaking, as well as what it’s like to be a woman in Hollywood and how her films, not her gender, define her. There’s also a wonderful interview and discussion with Guillermo Del Toro on how he learned how to take fantastic monsters and transform them in to down to Earth oddities stripping away their fantasy, while transforming humans in to monsters in surreal landscapes. He also explains how he adds domesticity in almost all of his films, including his most flawed “Cronos.” There are also small snippets of his experiences working on “Blade II,” and “Mimic,” both of which were unusual and tough experiences for Del Toro. The contributions to this book are absolutely incredible and author Goodridge offers some truly excellent chapters from heavyweights like Clint Eastwood, Terry Gilliam, Stephen Frears, Paul Greengrass. “Directing” is a marvelous chapter, and one that will really lend a hand to young artists anxious to understand how their favorite artists accomplish their work.