MAGIC OF ACTION/CUT"
A review of the Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar
By Alexandra Vega - IMAGINE NEWS
love to make a film! (when I have time when I have money when
I know more when I come up with a great idea when I meet a
good person to work with when I
) On the first day of
the ACTION/CUT FILMMAKING SEMINAR (held in Cambridge) Guy
Magar interrupted the reveries of filmmaker wannabes and roared
that only NOW is acceptable. And Magar knows. A television
and feature film director at the heart of the nations
entertainment industry, he has directed dozens of television
episodes, including LA FEMME NIKITA, SLIDERS, DARK AVENGER,
and HUNTER as well as indie features CHILDREN OF THE CORN:
REVELATION, RETRIBUTION, STEPFATHER 3, and SHOWDOWN, starring
Matt LeBlanc (of FRIENDS fame).
that its been easy. Within the first hour of the seminar,
Magar, a mesmerizing storyteller, had taken us on the rollercoaster
ride of his early days in Hollywood: the penny pinching, the
fierce competition, and above all
the hustling. Because
filmmaking, hell have you know, is about creative talent
and technical knowledge, but just as importantly, about relentless
networking. That point was stressed throughout the two-day
seminar. Magar set up a networking table for students to place
copies of their cards, resumes or treatments
us until we had produced something. Nobody, he said, would
eat alone at lunch. (And he came with us just to make sure.)
After all, knowing people and being able to cultivate those
contacts is key in the most collaborative of art forms. "Ive
networked from day one," he announced. "You cant
be in the right place at the right time if you are not hustling."
is zilch, however, without what Magar calls "the passion":
the drive that pushes individuals to pursue their creative
goals, be it screenwriting, directing producing, or acting.
The director suggests that many people are too passive about
their interests, but suggests that with the new digital technology,
its never been easier.He makes it even easier.
first day covered the nuts and bolts of television directing...from
budgets to visual screenwriting, from location scouting to
inspiring actors. Then we went on to scene studies: after
studying script pages of actual television shows, Magar asked
us to visualize the scenes and discuss the logistic challenges
of the shoot. Then he played and commented the actual footage
he had shot before showing the final edited scene, which gave
us an insiders view of the shooting process and a welcomed
excuse to watch television during "working hours".
second day was dedicated to what Magar described as "magic"...the
making of feature films. Again, every aspect of pre-production
and post-production was covered, including the impossible
hurdle of distribution. In the afternoon, we continued with
scenes studies, this time using his latest feature film to
illustrate the dramatic principles that directors can use
to shape their projects.
ACTION/CUT Seminar is one size fits all. It can provide a
comprehensive (but extremely fast paced) introduction to the
industry, or it can clarify questions for those with more
experience. Some students were surprised that it was not a
hands-on workshop, but they agreed that even if you never
touch a camera, the seminar prepares you to shoot more effectively.
And although the seminar focuses on traditional storytelling
techniques, those basic tools can be modified if the project
calls for more experimental devices.
students I spoke to which varied in age, background
and profession- loved the seminar, as did I. Magar, (whom
we called Guy from the start) is a captivating, informative
speaker. His sometimes blunt straight-forwardness led some
students to describe his pedagogical style as "tough
love". He is the most inspiring teacher you ever had,
the streetwise guy who tells it like he sees it, and the party
guest whose jokes nobody wants to miss.
did Magar do, in a nutshell? He demystified the art of filmmaking
while lovingly exalting its magic. We left the seminar readier
to consider what we really want to do, and readier to
YOU WANT TO BE A FILMMAKER?
By Silvio Joseph
Arts & Entertainment Writer - CITY LINE NEWS
you ever thought about being a film director? Has Hollywood
ever lured you into its seemingly smattering bliss and glitter
way of life? Do you have the dedication to learn how to write
a script? How to transform that script into a viable movie?
How to finance the extremely costly production? How to shoot
the film? How to cast the movie? How to multi-task hundreds
of responsibilities at once? And eventually, how to direct
order to become a filmmaker, said television and film
director Guy Magar, you have to have passion!
Passion is exactly what the 80+ potential film directors had
at Guy Magars Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar...passion
was the motivation why talented men and women from Philadelphia,
New York, and New Jersey spent their
February 26th & 27th weekend at a seminar.
creative juices overflowed...dreams of filmmaking were vividly
alive as Guy Magar spoke the unwritten Hollywood truth: money
rules. It was as if a breath of fresh air swept through the
minds of the students who were accustomed to Hollywood phonies.
At last! A director who did not avoid the gritty details about
an extremely competitive industry. Finally, an experienced
up-front and personal film director without the ego. Guy Magar
has an extensive resume. He has been accredited for directing
shows like LA FEMME NIKITA, SLIDERS and DARK AVENGER. He has
also directed, written, and produced several indie features
(SHOWDOWN, CHILDREN OF THE CORN: REVELATION, STEPFATHER 3,
he spoke to his future peers as equals. He outlined the procedures
of directing. He explained the preparation needed for a director
with scripts he actually directed. He meticulously ran through
the directors process by screening the dailies. And
he ultimately let the class see the visualization of a concept
from script to screen by screening finished products.
Hes a down in the trenches kind of director,
said Caroline Marshall (a Columbia University Masters
Graduate), it was extremely refreshing to find someone
who was so candidly thorough.
accredited Casting Director Mike Lemon from Philadelphia,
who was a casting director on such great films including M.
Night Shyamalans newest production SIGNS, UNBREAKABLE,
THE SIXTH SENSE, PHILADELPHIA, BELOVED, FALLEN, SNAKE EYES,
and TWELVE MONKEYS, appeared as Guy Magars Guest Speaker.
It was indeed inspirational to listen to Lemon because he
is the unquestionable dominant casting director from Philly
who has obviously dug deep in the back trenches of colloquial
talent in order to accommodate the front lines of filmmaking.
His presence was the icing on the cake of Guy Magars
if you passionately wish to make films, why not check out
Action/Cuts next seminar? For now, thats a wrap.
MAGAR'S ACTION/CUT SEMINAR"
By David Scott Hay - CREATIVE SCREENWRITING
a writer who was tired of seeing my work misinterpreted by
other directors, I decided to take Guy Magar's Action/Cut
Filmmaking Seminar in preparation for the directing of a screenplay
I recently optioned. Magar brings 25 years of experience to
the table and takes a no nonsense approach to his seminar.
He starts off with a great speech about passion and includes
anecdotes from his early years, all entertaining and enlightening
and, well just plain crazy. He makes it clear that the business
is a roller coaster.
materials handed out include a sample prep schedule, a budget
(with above and below line costs), how to read a shooting
schedule and tips for making yours tight. Guy walks you through
all the departments you would work with (Art, Wardrobe, FX)
and their duties and tells how to work with them. Do you know
the difference between a prop and set dressing? You will.
you get to the meat of the day. You get a script excerpt from
one of Guy's shows (complete with his handwritten notes),
how he broke it down into a shot list, and then you view the
dailies and then see how the scene was cut together. All types
of scenes are covered (Action, Group, Love) and it's a matter
of breaking it
down into your shot list, master, close-up, coverage, etc...in
short, it became a workmanlike experience, that mirrors the
actual job of directing. You get to hear the various challenges
and problem-solving skills involved in each scene.
addition to the nuts and bolts of these scene studies, Guy
sprinkles little gems of do's and do not's gleaned from years
of working experience. He's filled with practical advice that
you won't find in film school, a sentiment echoed by more
than one of his students. I appreciate how Guy answered all
questions but didn't allow them to interrupt or slow down
the presentation. Questions are answered directly and without
handholding. He protects our limited time. He also puts on
a good show. You see what kind of personality it takes to
be a director, all the traits: funny, commanding, sensitive,
and tough. In short, a leader.
was anxious to get to the second day, which focused on feature
films. That night, you're given a booklet with multiple scenes
from one of Guy's movies and are told to read it and visualize
how you would shoot it. The next day, we discuss each scene
and see how Guy shot it. I found myself taking specific notes
for my own script. He covers the major points (not plot) of
a movie: opening, flashback, character comedy, the one-shot,
emotional climax, and resolution.
strength of the course for a writer is the emphasis on strengthening
a script. Describe characters with visual flair, their essence,
as opposed to statistically. Don't end the scene by having
the hero exit. Magar emphasizes the importance of emotional
endings, writing visually as opposed to plot. "Joe enters"...instead
"Joe arrives breathlessly"...now that's interesting
and raises questions that keep interest. Use the same tool
for transitions, don't hop from dialogue scene to dialogue
scene, but set mood and atmosphere. A simple EXT. DINER won't
then we get into the business of directing -- financing, the
plan, distribution, completion bonds, etc... Even if you raise
the money, you can get kicked off your movie if you get far
enough behind. Markets are revealed to be not for the faint
of heart. You'll see your passion shopped around like the
product it is. You may want your movie to start slow and subtle,
but foreign distributors are only going to give you five minutes
so you better hook them with something good.
your reel: shoot three scenes from a script (action, romantic,
drama) and say it's your feature. No one will want to look
at your whole movie. Who's got time? Guy does. Two days. Any
of the subjects in the seminar could be the focus for the
entire two days. So much information is disseminated, but
it's a great exposure to the world of directing. And a terrific
you're serious about continuing your interest in filmmaking,
I recommend buying the video or DVD version of the seminar,
which include the dailies as you will simply not be able to
remember everything. After taking the seminar, I feel I have
a much better handle on how to turn my script into a viable
shooting script and what it will take to bring it in on a
tight schedule. As a nice bonus, Magar gives the graduates
of his seminar free room on the Action/Cut website to post
their projects and network with other seminar grads from across
BEST FILMMAKING SEMINAR IN THE USA"
By Wojciech Lorec - INDEPENDENT FILM & VIDEO CHICAGO
weekend (October 12th and 13th) Hollywood director Guy Magar
came to Chicago to tell us all the secrets of his trade. If
you were not there, then you missed out on an enormous opportunity.
There is no better way to learn about filmmaking than to listen
to a real director telling you step-by-step how he goes about
directing a film. And that's exactly what Guy Magar did. But
don't worry...the Action/ Cut Filmmaking Seminar will be back
annually and if you have any interest in becoming a filmmaker,
you should be there. I highly recommend it.
has been directing features and television for over 20 years.
His career began after attending the London International
Film School. He moved to L.A. and attended the American Film
Institute. Now he has a directing deal with Miramax Films,
and is developing his own screenplays. He is a great down-
to- earth guy which makes it a pleasure to listen to him and
makes it easy for everybody to ask questions.
first day (8 hours) of the seminar is "craft day".
Magar talks about directing techniques and the business of
television. He is filled with practical advice that you will
never find in any film school. He gives the participants scripts
with scenes that he shot. Then, he tries to put them in his
shoes and makes them think about ways to direct this material.
He explains his approach and shows the actual dailies that
he shot for those scenes. At the end everybody watches the
final, edited scene. The advantage of this method is that
everybody is exposed to Guy's thoughts while directing. The
directing process becomes demystified and above all, participants
become more confident in their abilities. Guy covers many
scenes and each addresses a different issue ranging from directing
love scenes, to directing hundreds of extras.
second day (also 8 hours) is called "magic day".
This time, the seminar focuses on feature films. He covers
major points of a movie: opening a film, story setup, character
comedy, flashback, climax and resolution. Later he goes into
the business of directing. He talks about financing, distribution,
completion bonds, director's reel, etc... If you are serious
about filmmaking, whether it is in small indies or on the
profesional level, I strongly recommend attending this seminar.
Expect to walk away with an extensive knowledge and better
understanding of the filmmaking process.
can also buy a VHS or DVD 12-hour home study collection that
covers the seminar material from their website.
I highly recommend you do so.
Passion In A Box!"
Review by Jon Gress - FLORIDA FX
a filmmaker who's been addicted to moviemaking and been making
films since the age of 4 when I...uh..er...."borrowed"...ahem...my
dad's 8mm movie camera, I thought that there wasn't anything
in this world that could inspire me, focus me or make me even
more passionate about making movies than I already was. I
purchased Guy Magar's Action/Cut Filmmaking DVD Pro Collection
on my continued, obsessive quest for any tiny new spec of
filmmaking knowledge, and came away with much more than I
had bargained for...a whole new and renewed FIRE for making
movies! So much so, that after going through all of his excellent
DVD series (which allow the convenient & immediate location
of any topic, footage or scene in the course), I signed up
to take his Action/Cut seminar and meet this man in person
as well! After viewing the DVD series, if you're serious about
filmmaking I'd be surprised if you didn't too!
knowledge, passion and talent for inspiring and teaching the
art of directing are rare & precious things in our industry.
It is rare to see such a talented professional who is as adept
and talented at teaching his wealth of lifetime experience
as he is at performing his art as well. As a seminar instructor,
myself, who prides himself on having every person leave my
seminars feeling completely inspired and empowered, it was
truly amazing to leave his feeling exactly that way, and learning
more than a thing or two about presenting I might add! In
the movie industry, pros who come out to show how many stars
they have worked with or what big name films they have done
are a dime-a-dozen and no help to you. At first, these types
of seminars or lectures may impress you...but you'll soon
realize, that you've walked away with nothing at all. Whether
you're a writer, actor, filmmaker or teacher, in Guy's seminar
you will walk away truly empowered...with a new command of
the motion picture process and confidence in your ability
to handle just about any directing job thrown at you.
feel that the real secret power in the Action/Cut seminar,
is really in Guy himself. His passion, sincerity, professionalism
and message are infectious. I would look forward and be happy,
if our paths happened to cross one day, to have the opportunity
to work with such an amazing educator and person of great
character on a professional basis. I truly feel that for what
Guy teaches... he IS the best! For learning the art of filmmaking...
Action/Cut is the best!
and the Magic in Between"
Review by Emily Lysaght - NewEnglandFilm.com
Magars Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar is truly a boot
camp for filmmakers of all levels. While you dont actually
get your hands on equipment and shoot film, you are equipped
with the knowledge to do just that after completing the seminar.
Magar addressed everything from lenses, to working with actors
and crew, to drafting an investment package for an independent
film. He led the class through two intense days with animated
passion covering enough information to fill a week-long seminar.
Those who were tempted to write everything down were quickly
admonished, "look up please." Magar said one would
miss everything if they attempted to write it all down.
first day was spent talking about directing for television.
Magar has been directing for film and television for 25 years,
and he uses this experience to demonstrate technique and know-how
to the class. Clips from television episodes directed by Magar
were reviewed, and the class was able to read a scene from
the pages of the original script and see exactly how it was
brought to the big screen.
second day, a day which Magar referred to as "magic day,"
was spent on feature filmmaking. Once again, Magar led the
class through a dissection of a film that he directed. Standing
before an easel, he drew diagrams of where cameras and actors
were placed to get the most interesting shot. After the class
learned everything that went into the scene, they were able
to see it in its uncut and final cut forms.
that Magar hailed as one of the most important parts of the
seminar was lunch. Not because of the actual eating, but because
these were "networking" lunches. Each day, the entire
class dined at a local restaurant and networked with other
filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, film students, etc. from
the Boston area. It was a chance to practice an important
part of the success of every filmmaker -- making connections,
and each class member left the seminar having met 30 other
people with similar goals and interests.
named the seminar Action/Cut because "between those two
words is where all the magic happens." There was magic
at the seminar during those two days as well; light bulbs
going on in the heads of aspiring filmmakers hoping someday
to experience that which Magar so avidly outlined. By the
end of the seminar, it was clear that Magars passion
for sharing what he knows about films is almost as strong
as his passion for making them, and that is what makes this
seminar as successful and powerful as it is.
A review of the Action/Cut Directing Film Seminar
By Brad Jacques - IMAGINE NEWS
of all, let me say one thing, if any director out there thinks
that he doesn't need this course...ring the bell, cause school's
in! And the teacher is Guy Magar. Guy is a 25 year veteran
of episodic television and independent films...and he is here
to teach. And learn you shall!
was the first director to make and screen a color film at
The American Film Institute and the last director to get the
Steven Spielberg 7-year contract at Universal Studios. His
first assignment there was to direct the final episode of
"BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25th CENTURY"...my favorite
television show as a kid! In fact, Guy's anecdotes rival that
of Spielberg himself, including storming the Black Tower over
at Universal, locking himself in an office with an executive
and not coming out until he had a job. Since that fateful
day, Guy has directed many episodes of many shows including
the popular late 80's series "THE A TEAM" to more
recent "LA FEMME NIKITA" and "SLIDERS".
When he is not working, he's teaching, and he shares those
professional experiences with his classes.
"Action/Cut Directing Seminar" is the only course
I know that is taught by not only a professional director,
but an active one. He just wrapped production on his new feature...
CHILDREN OF THE CORN: REVELATION based on Stephen King's original
story for Miramax's sister company Dimension Films. His previous
feature "SHOWDOWN" introduced Matt LeBlanc of "FRIENDS"
fame and was also Lou Rawls' first feature.
you think you can't afford this course, I say you can't afford
to miss it. In fact, the lessons you will learn are priceless.
The two day course has been designed and executed with militaristic
precision. No one will walk away unsatisfied. Guy will not
let you leave until your every question has been answered
to your utmost satisfaction. And take my word for it...you
will walk away extremely inspired. I felt the two day intensive
schedule was like an emotional rollercoaster ride and if you
have the same passion and love for the art and craft of filmmaking,
or "cinematic storytelling" as I think of it, you
too will walk away feeling the same fire and drive to forge
it doesn't end there. Networking is a huge part of this event.
The class is filled with industry profesisonals and you will
meet them all (I've already gotten work from this experience).
Everyone signs an email address list and you instantly become
an alumni, allowing you to post your stuff on the Graduates
exclusive page of the Action/Cut website.
know what you're thinking...this inspiration will fade away.
Well, if it does, fear not! Guy provides consultation for
anyone who is an Action/Cut alumni by phone or in person.
This service alone is priceless at whatever level of success
you are at. "Networking is key to this business. The
sooner you realize this, the better off you will be."
These were the first words Guy said to me and the last ones
I say to you.
ACTION/CUT FILMMAKING SEMINAR"
A review of the Action/Cut Film Directing Seminar
By Kevin DelGaudio - INDIEVISION / GUERRILLA FILMMAKER
Guy Magar is an LA-based director who just finished shooting
a feature film for the Weinsteins at Miramax and is currently
in post-production. He is simultaneously prepping his next
film "SOMETHING IN THE ROAD". Needless to say, Guy
is a busy guy...pun intended.
his "spare" time, Guy teaches directing through
his "Action/Cut Directed By" Seminar based in LA,
but given in major cities throughoutt the country. I had the
privilege and pleasure of attending his seminar recently,
which was held at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, giving me
the feeling I was already a director from the second I walked
onto the lot. The course was held from 9AM to 6PM on a Saturday
covers directing for television, where he got his start, as
well as for feature films where he works now. Guy's approach
is unique - he shows you everything! First, he walks you through
the task at hand of a given scene on paper, explains what
needs to be done, how and why it was done that way, and finally,
he shows you shot-by-shot dailies and then the finished product.
It is this step-by-step process that makes this seminar so
effective and intelligible.
highly recommend this seminar for those of us that have been
apprehensive about taking on the role of director. guy eases
the mystery and intimidation factor away, leaving you with
the ability to let your creative juices flow. In addition
to the schedule of live seminars, Guy now offers a 12-hour
deluxe videotape collection as a home study course. Complete
information for video purchases is available at the Action/Cut
to walk away with an extensive knowledge and understanding
of the complete directorial process. Guy's teaching style
is informal, personal, and he is both humorous and approachable.
If you're not ready to start and complete your own project
after this seminar, then you better brush-up on your waiter/waitress
Good luck and try not to miss it when it comes around your
part of the world.
SEMINAR ON MAGIC MAKING"
Reviewed by Lawrence Pruyne - IMAGINE NEWS
Guy Magar rushed up to a man sitting in the front row, stuck
a finger in his face, and shouted "Vinnie! When are you
going to take responsibility for killing Jimmy, god dammit!"
Magar stepped back and explained calmly "You have to
be a psychologist as a director, but you can only do such
a thing with an actor that trusts you and you have worked
with before...and call them by their character name so they
know it's not personal." Magar proceeded to show the
results of pulling an emotionally powerful scene from the
actor with his movie SHOWDOWN that played on four screens.
strategy was just one of many valuable "tricks of the
trade" and techniques the veteran director demonstrated
during his brilliant seminar "Directing Film & TV"
in Boston at Harvard University on March 3 & 4. The frame
of the seminar was a series of 8 scene studies Magar directed
from various television series and 6 scene studies from his
feature that stars Jay Acovone, Matt LeBlanc from "FRIENDS",
and Lou Rawls.
simplified the directing process by drawing location diagrams
and explaining the logic behind camera placements. These shot
lists were included in a packet of materials handed-out as
well as script pages for the scenes he took apart and screened.
Always speaking in non-technical, easy to understand language,
he also offered quick takes on shooting schedules, budgets,
and myriad detailed topics of the directing craft.
to Magar, what directors need most is self-motivation. "The
passion, the drive to tell stories, to make movies, is the
only thing you will ever have to keep you moving forward.
"This begins early, sometimes in film school where you
fall in love with the craft" as Magar spoke of the first
film school he attended, The London International Film School.
His first 11-minute black-and-white documentary on the homeless
in London, SOUP RUN, won the Grand Jury Prize at the San Francisco
Film Festival. Magar moved stateside and eventually landed
at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He shot the
first color film ever produced there, and after struggling
to get industry people to watch it, he talked his way into
a contract at Universal Studios. "I got the Spielberg
Deal which they used to give to promising young directors
as a 7-year contract" explained Magar.
is a people profession interspersed with a lot of technical
knowledge," Magar said. "More important than talent
is your ability to network. I have spent more time networking
than doing anything else in my career." After his first
feature, "RETRIBUTION", was offered distribution
by Miramax Films, Magar is now under contract with the brothers
Weinstein for whom he is presently in postproduction on his
latest picture "CHILDREN OF THE CORN: REVELATION"
based on Stephen King's original story and due for release
stressed the two elements of filmmaking that a director must
love: actors and visual storytelling. "You must love
telling a story with a camera. I get so turned on by a good
script and interpreting it visually." What does Magar
call it? "Magic making - you're creating a very special
unique world, and you get that world from the words on the
page." How important is writing to the business of directing?
It's the golden key. "What's the fastest way to become
a director? Write...master the craft of screenwriting,"
Magar said. "You must also love actors, working with
the talent they bring to the table, inspiring them to give
you their best."
bulk of the 16-hour, 2-day seminar focused on the director's
tools for getting the story across...the nuts and bolts of
catching images. "Directing is figuring out all the little
pieces of the puzzle, one by one, and making each one as great
as it can be," he said. Magar used the metaphors of war
when describing directing. "The most important thing
as a director is to protect your work, your shooting time.
There are so many technical details, and so many people involved,
that it does feel like you're going into battle. You have
to be a warrior, and have a warrior's spirit, to get through
it," he added. "There is tremendous responsibility
put on the director. You have to make it happen. If you like
responsibility and tons of pressure...then welcome to the
Magar will be teaching others how to join the director's club
a dozen times this year, in cities across the country. His
seminar is informed by 25 years of experience and offers a
gritty look at the craft and art of directing.
If you want to be a shooter, don't miss it.
BY THE NUMBERS
A review of Guy Magars Filmmaking Seminar
By Cliff Robinson - FILMMAKERS ALLIANCE
be honest, during the first day of this 16 hour seminar I
wasnt satisfied that the instructor was addressing my
needs as a no-budget producer/director. He was talking about
the pains he had to go through in making a TV show with only
a million dollars. Meanwhile, Im thinking how I would
die for $50,000 and a decent sound man with his own equipment
for $100 a day.
lunch, my feelings began to change as I started to see how
jaded I had become from all of the independent hustling that
we all end up doing. I started actually taking notes for myself,
not just for this article, and learned a great deal about
how to mechanically get the shots I need to tell an effective,
Magar, having spent 20 years in this business, has much practical
wisdom to share with his students. His career began after
attending the London International Film School. His next move
was to travel to the capitol of broken dreams and attend the
American Film Institute where he broke all the rules by directing
a professional caliber color film which was supposed to be
a simple black and white experimental project. He made copies
before AFI could confiscate his commercial color
piece and used it as his reel around town. After 150 screenings,
he ended up at Universal in Glen Larsons office, the
prolific TV producer of the 70s and 80s, where
he became Larsons assistant.
he has a directing deal with Miramax Films, and is also in
active development on four of his own screenplays. Aside from
the over 40 series and long-form productions, his career also
included directing, writing, and producing indie features.
is a very down to earth, regular kind of guy, very genuine.
His approach to teaching allows his students the comfort to
ask any question without feeling like the class dunce. He
keeps the pace moving though, and I often felt as if another
day could be added to the program to help make the experience
even more detailed. The seminar is broken up into several
segments: the basic directing tools, interpreting the script
in the most visually effective manner, where the camera goes,
the shoot itself, post-production, and finally some hints
on getting your first job and building your career.
of the seminar is set up to demonstrate how Guy solved actual
production problems. The class actually begins thinking like
a Director that was just hired to complete the task of delivering
great pictures and performances on time and under budget.
Guy helped me understand the craft of good directing by pointing
out the right way to make a movie or television show. I realize
now that the Right Way doesnt necessarily
involve the use of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
had an epiphany when I started thinking Guy had no idea what
we go through in the Independent World. Theres
no way this seminar could help me I thought...I cant
even afford a good caterer, never mind a few honey wagons
and a dozen teamsters. I realized my thinking was faulty.
Why dont I have the time to treat this as a craft and
not a race to the finish line? Why does no budget mean less
quality, it doesnt have to? Guy made me see that having
a million clams would make things a lot easier, but not necessarily
better. Sometimes I get so caught up in the frenzy of performing
several different tasks I lose perspective on the consequences
to the final product, which is, after all, what we should
be most concerned about.
suggest you take this seminar before your next project. Even
with a B.A. in film and theater arts, believe me, you need
a refresher course on being a Director and nothing else. Dont
let your ego convince you that you dont need any further
instruction on directing. Guy will help you see the light.
YOUR VISION - THE WRITER WARRIOR WAY"
A review of Guy Magars Guest Speaker talk at SCRIPTWRITERS
By Crystal Ann Taylor
dont know of any profession where you need to be a warrior
more than this one, claimed Writer/Producer/Director
Guy Magar at the January Scriptwriters Network meeting, as
he came to us straight from his kick-boxing class.
screenwriters, Magar stressed that they need to know and understand
what a director does and how he/she does it, and what you
need to give them so that your vision is more closely transferred
from the page to the screen since writing is basically
visualization of a story on paper. And there are subtle
ways through choice of language that a writer can clearly
convey the visualization of his own story to the directors
reading his/her material, Magar assured us. For if the director
does not get the story, the characters, the pacing or what
the writer intended, then its because it is not on the
page. Its the writers job to make sure a director
understands what he wants...and the only place the writer
can do that is on the page.
is well-suited to arm us writers with techniques to write
more visually and hence, educate our directors to our viewpoints.
He has directed over 40 network shows and indie features films
(which he also wrote or co-wrote). Magar explained that during
prep, he has three main tasks...to work with the writer (if
possible) to improve the script, to cast as interestingly
as possible, and to find the best locations within budget/schedule
of the most common problems is that the writer either forgets
or does not bother to write visual transitions and the director
must come up with them, possibly leaving a different take
in transitioning two scenes than the writer intended. Writers
cant complain how a director is gonna go from one scene
to another if they arent going to hint it or help them.
problem, Magar explained, is a tendency of the writer to ignore
local color and atmosphere when crafting his story. The look,
tone, and pace of people in New York would be different than
South Carolina. If he reads pastel kitsch architecture, neon
lights, and miniskirts galore...then he can feel South Beach,
Florida. Also, pacing comes from the words on
the page...walks fast and arrives breathless
say two different things to a good director.
writer can also help the director with casting, Magar assured,
by using precise visual descriptions...i.e. a skinny
hustler who couldnt pass a urine test on a bet
tells the director what the writer has in mind much more clearly
than a usual physical/clothing description.
is about using metaphors he said as he addressed such
tricks as conveying loneliness by using a deserted wide shot
on a character to make him look small and isolated, or making
bad guys look bigger and meaner by keeping the camera low,
or communicating weakness by placing a character between two
large background objects such as columns or in the middle
of a 3-person argument.
be a writer-director is the greatest job in town, Magar
said, encouraging all writers to direct. Not only will they
have the most fun realizing their own material, but they will
discover that their writing becomes more visual because of
their directing experiences, and their directing becomes more
focused through their sense of story, structure, characters,
and arcs as writers.
writer warriors who want to know more about directing their
directors through their writings, Guy Magar teaches a 2-day
seminar called Action/Cut Directed By. It is given
nationwide in various cities, between his professional production
schedule, and he gives this seminar twice a year in Los Angeles.
ACTION/CUT FILMMAKING SEMINARS
A review by Tianna Langham - CINEWOMEN - Los Angeles
a town chock full of industry seminars and workshops, its
difficult to reveal which ones are actually worth your time,
and money. I knew little about the Action/Cut Directing Film
& TV Seminar, before I devoted an entire weekend to it.
And I was skeptical. Skeptical about whether this was just
another money-making time-waster. Skeptical about whether
or not my attention span could tackle two days, with the relief
that I could easily skip out after the first day if need be.
But instead, the story ends happily.
seminar was led by Director Guy Magar. With a variety of feature
films and numerous TV shows behind him, Mr. Magar was an ideal
seminar leader by offering a thorough analysis of the directors
role, to a diverse group of participants. In addition to his
directing experiences, he is also a dynamic presenter, capable
of captivating even those with the worst attention deficits.
And he never tells the audience just what they want to hear,
he tells it how it is.
focusing on the visual style of the director, Mr. Magar led
us through a medley of scenes; dialogue, action, setting mood
and atmosphere, action, group, love scenes, special effects,
story climax scenes, and more. We would read each scene on
paper, then he would sketch out how he planned to shoot it,
discuss the shot list, and then showed us the actual dailies,
and finally the final cut of the scenes as released on TV
or theaters. The second days evaluations of the scenes
were more geared towards accomplishing a certain impact and
effect in feature film directing.
would recommend this seminar to anyone interested in directing
or just interested in the functions of the director. Action/Cut
is particularly successful in demystifying the tasks of a
director and empowering participants to think like a director
while tackling the conflicts and achievements of directing.
Magazine - Interview with Guy Magar
"Talent and Toughness: Are Great Directors Born Or Made?"
all our Action/Cut Graduates and Web Visitors, we highly recommend
The Writers Store website for the best prices, service,
and latest software, books, and supplies for writers and filmmakers!