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Sunday, 11 February 2018

Bird Bitten and other news

1/ My short film Bird Bitten is still in post-production. We haven’t done much these days as the new semester has just started and everyone’s preparing for experimental films. 
But this is the official fb page of the film, with updates, stills, and behind-the-scene stuff, including the famous 19 takes. 
https://www.facebook.com/BirdBittenFilm/
2/ Among the books I read last semester, there were 2 very good ones about directing: 
Film Directing Shot by Shot: Visualizing from Concept to Screen by Steve Katz 
Directing: Film Techniques and Aesthetics by Michael Rabiger and Mick Hurbis-Cherrier 
The former is useful for thinking in visuals, creating blocking and storyboard, and planning shot list. 
The latter is a comprehensive book about all aspects of the director’s job: vision, script analysis and development, visualisation, style, pre-production, casting, working with actors, shot list, directing on set, working with crew, post-production, the edit, working with sound and music, and so on and so forth. 
On a side note, lately I’ve been watching films differently—very often I find myself noting how many shots and camera angles there are in a scene. Fellini and Mizoguchi move the actors, and then move the camera with them.
3/ Currently reading Directing Actors: Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television by Judith Weston. Also got home Friendly Enemies: Maximizing the Director-Actor Relationship by Delia Salvi and The Casting Handbook by Jennifer Granville and Suzy Catliff. 
A useful book, with advice on what to do and not to do in working with actors. It makes me realise that I’m quite controlling. However, as with all guide books, it shouldn’t be followed unquestioningly, and 1 of the things I learnt from Laurent Tirard’s Moviemakers' Master Class years ago was that there’s no definite rule in filmmaking and each director has a different way of doing things. 
4/ At the same time, after Nabokov’s The Gift, I’ve been reading Tolstoy’s trilogy Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. Childhood was his 1st published novel, but it already showed his power of observation and psychological insight. He sees and captures the nuance of feeling and the complexity of human beings, especially in his passages about grief—that the greatest grief is still never total and complete, that the depiction of someone completely immersed in grief and nothing else would ring false, that people are very often conscious of their own display of sadness and pain and thus show it even more… 
Reading Tolstoy at the moment is a good idea. 
Also his ability to convey the sense of joy, joy in being alive, is perhaps only matched by Herman Melville. 
5/ I also borrowed Andrei Tarkovsky’s Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema. Looks like an interesting read.

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