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Notes on Directing: 130 Lessons in Leadership from the Director's Chair

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  222 ratings  ·  21 reviews
In 1987, British Director Frank Hauser quietly handed twelve pages of typewritten notes to his apprentice, American Russell Reich. The notes gathered over a long career and polished to a sharp edge documented the teachings and directions that Hauser shared privately with a host of theatrical and cinematic figures, including Sir Alec Guinness, Richard Burton, Sir Ian McKell ...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by RCR Creative Press (first published January 1st 2003)
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Bakunin
Second reading.
After directing four stage productions and one radio play it can be quite useful to review the work one does as a director. I decided to look back on my work and think about how I can improve as a director. Notes on directing provide easy tips on directing, being the opposite of a treatise on directing it provides practical hints as to how to improve as a director and handle actors.

The advice leans heavily toward the British style of theater: the script is at the center of it all
...more
Neil
This was quite good. It's a slim little tome, an adaptation of the even more terse notes on directing shared by Frank Hauser with apprentice director Russell Reich. Reich fleshes the 130 suggestions out with just a few examples and extra text. The suggestions here are suggestive rather than exhaustive, that is, the advice is simply put but gets the reader thinking about how he or she would put the principles into practice.

In particular, there's plenty of good advice about blocking and about work
...more
Linawings
I must say I greatly enjoyed the book. My interest is non-professional although keen because I find acting and directing really have a key to self-knowing, self-challenging and accepting the world with more senses that you are used to do. Besides you may have also noticed/felt that these people have the great potential to be leaders and influencers in the broadest sense of the word. At the end it is all about the big science of life – how to communicate with people to make them feel encouraged t ...more
David Wagstaff
Directing is far trickier than being president of the United States. Diplomacy and nuance are required in copious amounts. The temptation to talk too much is taller than the Tower of Babel. The responsibility is absolute. There are few books of any help. David Mamet's On Directing Film and Three Uses of the Knife are essential for the simple reason that they deal with practical considerations clearly stated. Notes on Directing is the same. In fact, it is a sort of Strunk and White of how to do t ...more
Krista
Very quick, yet informative read. Though the book primarily focuses on the employee/employer relationship - the lessons are applicable re: relations with co-workers of like title/responsibilities as well.

Don't let the fact that the book provides advice for the acting world lead you to think that its not relevant to your industry - leadership is universal and it isn't hard to apply the lessons to your own business.
Brian Ging
Nov 03, 2014 Brian Ging rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Film & Theatre Directors
Really great tips to directors about all kinds of things. Its like being mentored by a great director and he sits there telling you tip after tip, each one is not in any books on directing. They are all so practical and helpful, like how to talk to actors, when to arrive to the set, how to give negative feedback on a performance while accounting for the actors feelings, etc.
Blanche
An absolutely lovely little book of thoughts and suggestions for directors. Frank Hauser did not intend this book to provide commandments for directors, but rather starting points for thought and conversation and contention. As a new budding director, it has given me a lot of things to think about as I take on my next show.
catechism
This book wasn't what I was expecting, really, but that is my own fault for not reading more about it before I checked it out from the library. It was, like, Chicken Soup for the Director's Soul, and while I'm sure some people might find it valuable, I am not one of those people.
Geoffrey Goldberg
A quick read, with a ton of great insight and little gems of information and pieces of advice for directors. Can definitely see myself picking this book up every day before rehearsal, flipping to a page, and letting that inspire me or get my wheels turning.
Matt
A concise, direct, selfless treatise on play directing that could provide helpful advice for just about anyone who finds themselves working with and around other people in their job. It's really great for theatre artists, too...
Glenn
More of a reference book, as it is EXTREMELY short and to the point, but essential reading nonetheless. I always revisit it at least once a year just to remind myself of the simple rules contained herein.
Sara
A good book for any director. It's a bullet-point style guide to directing for the stage with great little pearls of wisdom throughout. This would be an excellent quick reference book.
Albert Ross
An insightful and helpful book about the craft of directing. Simple narrative on the process of working with actors that I will explore in my own work. Definitely worth the read.
Richard Boakes
Succinct, clear, direct and pertinent. Absolutely invaluable and interesting even if you only have a casual interest in the workings of theatre.
Tracy Morton
Easy to read and laid out in such a way that it will be easy to use the book for reference. This book had some great directing tips.
Lyric
Nov 24, 2012 Lyric rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: young directors, young stage managers, novice theater students
Recommended to Lyric by: Devon Allen
An excellent and fascinating collection of notes from some very brilliant minds. I plan on keeping this book with me for a long time.
Kathryn
Wow! So many helpful tips in such a small book! I like his style and thoughts!
Rich
A fast easy read. But content to chew on for quite some time.
Katie Rodemich
Amazing book- a great tool to have as a director and a actor!
Amber
Great for anyone interested in directing!!
HollyAnne Giffin
A well-respected must for all theater people.
Venkateshwar Pushpala
Venkateshwar Pushpala marked it as to-read
May 27, 2015
Jason Wang
Jason Wang marked it as to-read
May 26, 2015
Cheyenne Phillips
Cheyenne Phillips marked it as to-read
May 08, 2015
Emily MacLeod
Emily MacLeod marked it as to-read
May 07, 2015
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FRANK HAUSER is a retired freelance director living in London. Born
in Wales in 1922, he attended Oxford University during the 1940s; worked as a
drama producer for the BBC; and, in 1956, formed the Meadow Players at Oxford.
He was Director of the Oxford Playhouse for seventeen years and directed
frequently in London and New York. In 1968, he received the award of Commander
of the Order of the Bri
...more
More about Frank Hauser...
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“The Director's Role: You are the obstetrician. You are not the parent of this child we call the play. You are present at its birth for clinical reasons, like a doctor or midwife. Your job most of the time is simply to do no harm.
When something does go wrong, however, your awareness that something is awry--and your clinical intervention to correct it--can determine whether the child will thrive or suffer, live or die.”
25 likes
“10. Appreciate that character is the result of conduct. As Aristotle taught us, we know people primarily by what they do. What others say about them, or what they say about themselves, may or may not be true.” 0 likes
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