Book Review: Directing the Story

Book Review: Directing the Story

The full title is Directing the Story: Professional Storytelling and Storyboarding techniques for Live Action and Animation. Note that it's directing the story, not directing the movie, and the emphasis is on the story.

The goal of this book is to help you get your audience "lost in the story" of your movie. It details a lot of professional directing techniques and principles to help aid storytelling. The writing is clear and Francis Glebas even storyboarded a whole short story to serve as an example, in addition to the many examples already provided.

Using storyboards as a primary tool, he goes through the various storytelling techniques used in films , like ways to pace/cut scenes, introducing themes and story structure subtly, directing the audience's eyes, creating characters people can related to, etc. Francis Glebas then breaks down these high level concepts into many smaller easy-to-understand points to focus in depth.

One particular point to note is the version of One Thousand and One Arabian Nights ( Francis Glebas has storyboarded to provided as an example throughout the book. All the techniques he teaches are used in the storyboard for that story. It ends with cliffhangers in every chapter. The story is absorbing even though it's done in sketches. Goes to show that story is still king.

This book is for anyone who wants to direct professional stories. It should be made compulsory reading in film schools. Two enthusiastic thumbs up from me.

For more reading, I would recommend Ideas for the Animated Short, which goes even further in depth with storytelling techniques. Bad stories shouldn't have excuses.

About the author:

Francis Glebas worked as a story artist for Disney Feature Animation on Aladdin, Lion King, Pocahontas, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dinosaur, Treasure Planet and Hercules. He also directed Pomp and Circumstance starring Donald Duck in Fantasia 2000 and Piglet's BIG Movie. Francis is also an award-winning independent live action movie maker with almost 40 years' experience. He taught storyboarding at Gnomon School of Visual Effects. Francis also works as a creative consultant, having worked with the Irish Government, Korean Government, General Motors, Los Alamos Labs, Walt Disney Imagineering and other film studios.

Directing the Story is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN)

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Hi Parka - thank you for the tips. FYI, and for your readers, Francis doesn't teach storyboarding at Gnomon School of VFX anymore, I do. :)

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