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Table of Contents

The world of the film director
Developing your path as a director
Essential elements of drama
Shaping the story into drama
Plot, time, and structure
Screenplay ground rules
Recognizing the superior screenplay
Script analysis and development
Cinematic point of view
Form and style
Tone: naturalistic and stylized approaches
Film language
The frame and the shot
The moving camera
Language of the edit
The human vantage of cinemativ language
Exploring the script
Acting fundamentals
Directing actors
Acting exercises
Planning the visual design
Coverage and the shooting script
Line producing and logistics
Developing a production crew
The director and production crew
On set: production begins
Directing on the set
Monitoring continuity and progress
Postproduction overview
Editing begins: getting to know the footage
The rough cuts
Getting to fine cut and picture lock
Working with music
The sound mix
The finishing touches

About the Author

Michael Rabiger has directed or edited over 35 films, founded the Documentary Center at Columbia College, Chicago, and was Chair of its Film/Video Department. Now Professor Emeritus, Rabiger has also been presented with the Preservation and Scholarship Award by the International Documentary Association. He has given workshops in many countries, led a multinational European documentary workshop for CILECT, the international association of film schools. As Visiting Professor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he taught idea development, directing, and advanced production. When he retired 2001 to write full-time, Columbia renamed its documentary center "The Michael Rabiger Center for Documentary." In 2002 he was made Honorary Professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; in 2003 awarded the 2003 Preservation and Scholarship Award by the International Documentary Association in Los Angeles; in 2005 the Genius Career Achievement Award by the Chicago International Documentary Festival, and also in 2005 was made Professor Emeritus by Columbia College Chicago. He is the author of the enormously successful, Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics (Focal Press), now in its fourth edition, and Directing the Documentary (Focal Press), now in its fifth edition. He is also the author of Developing Story Ideas (Focal Press), currently in its second edition. He is currently writing a biography of Thomas Hardy. Mick Hurbis-Cherrier has been teaching all levels of film and video production at Hunter College in New York City for more than a decade. He works professionally in both film and video and has performed a wide range of duties on films, including producing, writing, directing, cinematography, and editing. His films and videos have been shown around the country and have garnered prizes in many festivals.


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 "In its fourth edition, Directing remains as fresh and relevant as ever. Rabiger has devised a clear and eminently practical method for film directing which also promotes individual creative expression. By meticulously exploring drama, craft, process and artistic perspective, he demonstrates how to plunge into the heart of a screenplay and emerge with a film that reflects the heart of the director." -Mick Hurbis-Cherrier, Film Professor at Hunter College of the City University of New York, Filmmaker, and author of, "Voice & Vision: A Creative Approach to Narrative Film and DV Production" "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." - American Cinematographer Praise for the 3rd Edition: "This is the single most valuable guide for both novice and seasoned practitioner...The new edition continues to be the comprehensive text for learning directing, integrating the rapid changes in technology with what was already a superbly detailed step-by-step text." - Jameson Goldner, professor of cinema at San Francisco State University "This is the only comprehensive book on filmmaking that I recommend to my students", Jeremy Kagan, USC Graduate Film School; Artistic Director Sundance Institute

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