Although the blockbuster is the most popular and commercially successful type of filmmaking, it has yet to be studied seriously from a formalist standpoint. This is in opposition to classical Hollywood cinema and International Art cinema, whose form has been analyzed and deconstructed in great detail. Directed By Steven Spielberg fills this gap by examining the distinctive form of the blockbuster. The book focuses on Spielberg's blockbusters, because he is the most consistent and successful director of this type of film - he defines the standard by which other Hollywood blockbusters are judged and compared. But how did Spielberg attain this position? Film critics and scholars generally agree that Spielberg's blockbusters have a unique look and use visual storytelling techniques to their utmost effectiveness. In this book, Warren Buckland examines Spielberg's distinct manipulation of film form, and his singular use of stylistic and narrative techniques.
The book demonstrates the aesthetic options available to Spielberg, and particularly the choices he makes in structuring his blockbusters. Buckland emphasizes the director's activity in making a film (particularly such a powerful director as Spielberg), including: visualizing the scene on paper via storyboards; staging and blocking the scene; selecting camera placement and movement; determining the progression or flow of the film from shot to shot; and deciding how to narrate the story to the spectator.
Directed By Steven Spielberg combines film studies scholarship with the approach taken by many filmmaking manuals. The unique value of the book lies in its grounding of formal film analysis in filmmaking.
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Warren Buckland is author of four previous books: Studying Contemporary American Film (with Thomas Elsaesser); the best-selling Teach Yourself Film Studies; The Cognitive Semiotics of Film; and The Film Spectator. He also edits the journal the New Review of Film and Television Studies.Review:
"Buckland offers...a close examination of the filmic structures of Spielberg's blockbusters-from Jaws to War of the Worlds-with practically a shot-by-shot breakdown of some scenes. In deconstructing these films, Buckland uses his own definition of poetics: the activities and techniques involved in constructing a work of art. [He] is an admirer of Spielberg's and absolves him of the oft-repeated accusation that his production of the ‘first' blockbuster (Jaws) ultimately spelled doom for the ‘little' movie.... highly enlightening." - Library Journal, May 15
"Analyzing a film's style--camerawork, editing, an actor's position in the image, etc.--may seem rather dry at first glance. Also, analyzing Spielberg's most-popular blockbusters from an aesthetic perspective may seem a little unusual. Yet, this is what Dr. Warren Buckland carries out to enlightening success in his latest book, Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster." -DVDTown.com (*also features an interview with Buckland)
"Buckland's new book release, Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster is the most comprehensive manual on Spielberg's style that I have yet found.... [Buckland] examines Spielberg's unique style and manipulation of the camera. He delves into his themes, his use of stylistic and narrative techniques, and the visual style that emerged throughout the course of his career. If you're a casual fan looking for a quick time-passer, you may want to skip to the next book on the aisle. But if you're a serious fan of Spielberg, his work and specific technique, or directing in general, then Buckland's book may be just the ticket." -SpielbergFilms.com *Interview with Buckland on http://www.dreamworksfansite.com/
Reference & Research Book News, August 2006 - mention
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Book Description Bloomsbury Academic. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0826416918 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1368549
Book Description Bloomsbury Academic, 2006. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110826416918