Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese in 10 Scenes: Taxi Driver


Excerpt from Martin Scorsese in 10 Scenes by Tim Grierson Focal Press, 2016 TAXI DRIVER, 1976 V. THE SHOOT-OUT The shoot-out scene is memorable not only for its violence, but also for a sense of ambiguity in it. This ambiguity pervades the whole movie, largely due to Schrader’s refusal to shine any solid light on…


Guiding Your Audience Through A Scene Without Distraction


As each shot appears on the screen, the audience sees and hears it for the first time. In an instant, they have to interpret what the director has selected to put there. It is not surprising that viewers can occasionally become confused. Unless the director is careful, the audience may “look at the wrong thing”—that…

sound design

Sound Rules To Live By


Rule #1: Get the Mic as Close as Possible The most basic rule for recording dialogue is to get the mic as close to the action as possible without being in the shot. The closer the mic, the better the quality of the recording. This is why boom mics so often end up creeping into…


Tips for Directing Actors


DIRECTING ACTORS Actors are the director’s primary storytelling vehicles. A good actor can breathe life into a character and a script. Being able to aid and guide the actors through the production is the director’s job. A primary goal for the director is to create a supportive and creative environment that is conducive to good…

Photo by Danielle A. Davey

Directing: The Similarities and Differences between Film and Theatre


The general misconception held by most laypeople and some professionals seems to be that there must be a difference between the crafts of directing and acting in theatre and those in film. The belief is that there are stage actors and screen actors, film directors and theatre directors. I don’t agree with this. It is…

Audition Guidelines for Directors


For a successful audition and to make the most of the search for the best actors, we recommend following the guidelines… Before the Audition Keep in mind that auditions are stressful situations both for the actor and the director. The audition can be held in any quiet room; a rented rehearsal hall is an ideal…

Figure 3-1  “Irish” Micky Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) boxing opponents are nothing compared to the battles his family puts him through.

Defining Conflict


Conflict is essential to drama, but can be defined in different ways and take many different forms. Conflict can come from external factors, from within a character, or arise from a combination of forces. Person versus person (external conflict) Person versus environment or social institution (external conflict) Person versus a task they are compelled to…

Shooting Tactics

Guerilla filmmaking – What to do when you don’t have a permit


It’s always less hassle to do things by the book, but as many broke documentary filmmakers will tell you… it ain’t always possible. At the end of the day, there’s only one golden rule when making a Down and Dirty documentary—get the shot. Here are some of my stealth strategies for overcoming common shooting obstacles….


The Director’s Point of View: From Concerned Observer to Storyteller


The kindly angels in Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1987, below) keep Berliners under empathic observation. Cinema itself is like one of these angels, following and observing characters as it does while they live their lives. Let’s call this perspective that of the Concerned Observer because he is involved, invisible, and weightless like a spirit….

Safety Takes

Your B-Roll is Your A-Roll


The term “B-roll” comes from the world of film where editors used to use an “A” and a “B” roll of identical footage, before the digital age changed everything. B-roll shots are similar to cutaways in that they help break up the static interview shots, but B-roll plays a more major role in telling a…

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MasteringFilm, powered by bestselling Focal Press authors and industry experts, features tips, advice, articles, video tutorials, interviews, and other resources for aspiring and current filmmakers. No matter what your filmmaking interest is, including directing, screenwriting, postproduction, cinematography, producing, or the film business, MasteringFilm has you covered. You’ll learn from professionals at the forefront of filmmaking, allowing you to take your skills to the next level.