John Badham on Directing

August 26, 2013

John Badham on Directing: Notes from the Set of Saturday Night Fever, War Games and More
by John Badham
(Michael Wiese Productions, $26.95)

Maybe the highest praise I can give John Badham’s breezy how-to on directing motion pictures is to say that after reading it, I actually think the job might be fun. (And I also think I might seek out Badham’s previous book, I’ll be in My Trailer.)Unknown

Badhamis a straightforward and charming writer who enlists an impressive roster of show business friends and peers — Stephen Soderberg, Olive Stone, Richard Donner, Brett Ratner, Richard Dreyfuss, James Woods, Martha Coolidge, Jodie Foster and Sydney Pollack, among them — to discuss the importance of building trust with actors. techniques for directing acting and suspense and what Badham calls his director’s checklist – twelve questions to assist the director in breaking down each scene in a film:

What happened before the scene?
What does it add?
What’s different at the end?
Whose point of view?
Where are the beats?
Where is the tipping point in the scene?
What do they want?
What do they expect?
What’s at stake for each character?
What’s stopping them?
How do they try to get what they want?
How does each character look at the other?


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