By Bethany Rooney and Mary Lou Belli
Written by two top female TV directors, who between them have directed hundreds of episodes of TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Desperate Housewives, Girlfriends, Major Dad, and Monk, this is an indispensable handbook for the aspiring TV director (the focus, despite the title, is largely on episodic television), and should find its place in the curriculum of any film school in the land. Its comprehensiveness is breathtaking, as the authors analyze in depth every stage of the process, from breaking down the script for story and character to casting, production design, blocking, and creating shot lists. There are sections on directing actors, relations with camera operators and writers, commanding the set with conviction and respect, and the myriad duties in postproduction. All of this is presented on a human scale, and in approachable, largely nontechnical language that renders an intimidating and demanding job in terms that are easy to comprehend and absorb—and most important, backed up by experience.
Review by John Patterson