David Mamet on film + reading material and some info

David Mamet

So the blog and the channel are growing – no surprise there – and will continue to grow. However I’m not seeing any comments, so lots of lurkers. I would encourage you all to post in the comments section of the blog or in the comments of the channel. This isn’t really to fulfill some sort of egotistical desire for attention, I’m actually interested in people’s thoughts on the commentaries. I also would encourage discussions that go beyond the commentaries; your thoughts on the concepts presented, maybe stories from your personal shoots that you can relate to the concepts discussed and vice versa. I want this place to become a melting pot of all the amateur and working filmmakers, and hear you all talk about filmmaking. This will help me, this will help the next guy who comes across this blog, and most importantly this will help you. Believe it or not, actively discussing, analyzing filmmaking makes you solidfy these concepts in your HEAD much better than just listening to or seeing anything on screen that pertains to filmmaking. That’s why I wrote that scene analysis for Dogtooth and I’m going to continue breaking things down like that so that I truly grasp what I see on screen. The psychology of learning is very real. Take for example the Socratic method, which Mamet mentions in the selections I’ve posted below… “stimulates critical thinking which illuminate ideas”

So stop being a lurker and start discussing along in the comments if you’re serious about learning filmmaking. If you have something to say; say it. Don’t lurk in the shadows; be active, you win in the end.

13 thoughts on “David Mamet on film + reading material and some info

  1. Love the blog. Long time lurker, first time poster. By the way, was curious as to why you briefly mentioned the book, “Outliers”? Have you read it? If so, what did you take from it? You should read “Blink” if you haven’t yet.

    Keep up the solid work.


    • Hey man, thanks for participating man. Well, I mentioned Outliers also here because of Mamet mentioning it in the commentary above – I haven’t read it yet, but I have read the 2007 article/study upon which Outliers is based on and I pretty much can’t disagree with its findings. Why I specifically went so far as to even post about it in this same commentary post is because the concept of deliberate practice REALLY pertains to filmmaking in general to a GREAT deal. It’s working on the stuff you’re weak at until you nail it – and working on it constantly so you solidify that concept or turn the weakness into a strong point.

      People give up too easily when they encounter something hard, but if you have that mentality of no fear of challenge, and constantly practicing and building upon your weakness – then you’ll succeed. What’s fascinating to me also is that filmmaking is not so much about “talent” but about grasping the cinematic language and the rest falls into place. Some modicum of talent separates the truly greats from good, but at the end of the day it’s the 10,000 hours of practice behind something that makes you succeed at your craft. And Outliers talks about it.

  2. Thanks for the reply. The youtube video appears to be private. Is there anyway to watch Mamet’s commentary? Well said about talent verus cinematic language. I believe that talent will only get you so far. You must be committed and faithful to your career; it is very similar to having a relationship with your significant other. As for the 10,000 hour rule, I’m reading that now in a book called “Master” by Robert Green.

    I must say, your dedication to this blog is spectacular; and for that my friend, you’ll be hearing more from me. I look forward to having some interesting conversations with you.

    – Austin

    • Sounds good. Well I have two channels, non-screen specific comms are on a diff channel now and the screen specific are on the older one. Look at the about page.

      I made this blog mostly as motivation for myself to learn more about cinema – the fact that others finds it useful is awesome. Definitely stick around!

      • Found it. Thank you.

        Would like to get your opinion on something.

        What is your take on psychological thrillers? What attracts you about a thriller? Any films that you might suggest?

  3. do you mean psychological thrillers in vein of Se7en or Silence of the Lambs? Copycat? etc – those types of films I’d definitely place in that spot, also the first two especially with a touch of the philosophical. I think the biggest attraction is the fact that – they’re psychological – they play on your mind rather than disgust you by constantly showing you gruesomeness, like in Se7en, also what’s awesome about these is that they also can create or DO create mystery – and if you’re engaged, you’re always asking “Who’s doing this…what’s the reason?” So your mind becomes active in trying to piece the puzzle, that’s whats great about psychological thrillers. Still, it’s not like the murders in Se7en weren’t gruesome – but they’re more left for the imagination… if you can imagine it – your mind will create the most gruesome thing there is. I remember the first time I saw Se7en when I was in middle school or just entering high school – the Lust murder made my imagination enter some terrifying imagery and all of it based on a glimpse of the murder and the interviews after. It’s like, if you can implant an idea or an image so vivid through not even showing anything – but by your use of dialogue – then you’ve succeeded 10x more than showing the audience the sickest thing on screen. (though still, the shapeshifter in The Thing was pretty effective; which essentially illustrates how if you know what you’re doing and you’re doing it to the best of your ability – then any genre you tackle will be at least good if not great)

    maybe you’ve seen these, maybe not but here are some suggestions; Matango, The Game, Spellbound, Rear Window, The Shining (everyone’s seen this and their dog lol), Cape Fear (original and remake, though I love the remake more), Les Diaboliques, Straw Dogs, Identity, Hard Candy… I’ll think of some more

    • Right on, my friend…you nailed it. I’ve seen majority of them, though I would have to check out Spellbound, Matango, and Les Diaboliques. That is exactly right, I am all about leaving it to the imagination, as well as bending the mind. What attracts me about the film, The Game, is when you thought you had it figured out, something else would happen; which would contradicted you theory.

      After listening to the audio commentary (Game, The), it made me realize that there are multiple prospectives to have. When talking with friends and colleagues of mine, they see an entirely different film.

      As for me, I see the film as a man having a difficult time understand his fathers death. It is then, when his brother introduces him to a company of which can change you life. Well, I look at that company as an advance therapy institution. They are the best at what they do. So, when our protagonist falls from the top of the building; it represents his fathers situation. Meaning, to get over whatever is that was bothering him, he had to go through it himself.

      Overall, it’s a therapeutic adventure for our protagonist. Rather than sitting down and talking to a therapist, he would be put into a world of his own mind. Confronting all of his fears and understanding of things that he would question. When you think that way, you might question, “Well, that would be an expensive therapy session.” Yes it would be, hence, we establish that he is a wealthy man. Our protagonist can afford this. When

      Fincher had his friend read it, she said “this story is all about money and wealth”. From my understanding, Fincher did not want this script to come off that way, so he left it as background noise. As a plausible cause for such a game. If you think about it, you would have to pay for all those actors who are participating in your problem. Again, its just my prospective, would love to hear what others think.


      Psychological thrillers

      • Yeah thats why I loved The Game too, it was just so new and original in that genre. It was a therapy session pushed to the extreme, a really quite new angle. Also I love the fact that it ventured into that territory when he had to count pennies for the first time in a diner. Like, what does it feel like to be poor. It really was a great film because of the multiple layers it contained.

  4. okay, I have another question to throw at you. What comedies do you think use great story telling with framing, blocking, and lighting? Most of the time, I’ve notice that they seem to use a lot of hand held.

    Also, do you know of any comedy film using an aspect ratio of 2.35? Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I read, a lot comedies tend to use 1.33 or 1.85.

    Your thoughts?

    • To be honest I don’t watch a lot of comedy. I think some comedies from the 90’s especially, were real well done. Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin. Then you’ve got Romancing the Stone – both films from Zemeckis – comedies and shot well. I’ll think of more, these are just off the top of my head

  5. Can you please set these clips up properly? Are these commentaries from DVDs? If so which films? And who is Mamet talking to? It’s basic information I shouldn’t have to suss out on IMDB.

    Otherwise, thank you for editing it and posting.

    • No, I can’t set them up “properly” because I have a guiding principle when I post up these commentaries and that is for reasons to keep the videos up online and not get taken down – you get minimum amount of information on the main, most important speaker – in this case: David Mamet. My site’s name kind of gives it away the sources of the information. If a simple Google search like “David Mamet and audio dvd commentary” to find out the source through a process of elimination is too much of a hassle, then that’s not my issue. I don’t post up titles of films discussed because; A – to keep the videos up online… B – most of information condensed deals with concepts and ideas, not screen specifics and shot analysis. Sorry, you’ll have to “suss out” that info individually if you really need to know.

  6. He is a master,I worked his te.xt Chicago Perversy for a stage.and teach about him at school,but ne doesnt speak about comon ,present screenwriting where is Boring is a art and estetick.Less and nothing is way where the new writer and directors have to go if thet want their films on Festivals and Films found in Europe,for ex.If you are working in USA you have to write saga about superheroes ,with car creshs and 1000 beutiful ezplosions,what is boring too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s