I loved John Badham’s I’LL BE IN MY TRAILER: THE CREATIVE WARS BETWEEN DIRECTORS AND ACTORS. It’s been one of the most useful books I’ve read about directing actors for the screen. Badham, of course, is the veteran director of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, BIRD ON A WIRE, WAR GAMES and yards of other films and TV. I had the pleasure of working with him on a project about Paul Watson, the rogue environmentalist/pirate. If anyone’s qualified to do a nuts and bolts book about directing, John Badham is your guy.
In his upcoming book ON DIRECTING (pub date September 1), Badham expands his survey beyond dealing with actors to the rest of directing, from why you don’t want to shoot a master shot of an action sequence (your editor will chop it up anyway), to how to use storyboards, to the need for a point of view in your camera placement.
No one can teach you everything about directing in a book. Actors need different things from their director. Directors have different cinematic styles. ON DIRECTING acknowledges that, but still gives you lots of useful tools and nuggets of information. How to deal with an actor who is creatively blocked. Why you need to slow fast action down, and how to do it convincingly. How to deal with actors who want to do their own stunts.
And it’s not all Badham’s knowledge. Badham has interviewed director and actor friends, and the book is filled with insightful quotations.
My only complaint, really, about this book, is that I wish it were a lot thicker. It’s 240 pages long, convenient for throwing into a backpack. I wish it were two or three times as long, because there’s so much to learn from it.