Eye-opening is an understatement, Bruce Block turns film editing from mysterious gibberish into a language. I was fortunate enough to hear him speak at Warner bros., it was the single most useful lecture on anything I've ever been to. My notes are falling apart from constant use, finally he has a book out! This book explains with crystal-clarity how to use shapes, colour, and motion on screen to control pacing and feeling. No film student should be without it; screenwriters, comic artists, web designers, anyone who deals with visual storytelling will wonder where Bruce Block has been all their life. Five stars, I'd give it more if I could!
Finally, someone who relays that REAL cinematic storytelling involves many dialects of the same language. Like any art form, cinema displays a plethora of possibilities, yet all filmmakers seem so willing to conform to the latest visual trend. Hey, if it works, it works. But let's not forget that so many people in the world clamor for "original" ideas, including within the visual realm. This book saves time by compressing all the principles established by Pudovkin and Eisenstein. However, Bruce Block doesn't tell you HOW to come up w/ the ideas, or where to go with them; rather, he does something better. He gives you a map of the visual "terrain," complete w/ a key of useful terms. Remember, the map and compass can't tell you where to go; its purpose: to show you what's out there. In which direction you plan to go---that's up to you...
But if you are using pictures to tells stories, do you know what your pictures are saying? Today, with the means of production accessible to everyone with about $10K, we are about to see the equivalent of desktop publishing a decade later with video. Do you want your production to look like the video equivalent of the ransom notes produced by people who made every letter a different font just because they could? The Visual Story makes the fundamental elements of visual language understandable. It provides tools to articulate ideas and concepts of storytelling in the visual medium. Converse with your team in terms that make sense. Plan your production so the audience gets the intended message. Make every element on screen support your theme. Get it (like understand)and you become one of the better producers. Skip it and help lower the bar.
This book is a revelation! If you are all serious about making movies (or getting the most out of watching them) you must have this book. Bruce Block's theories will open your eyes to a hidden world of communication encoded into film. You will learn how visuals and their structure are just as effective and important as story and dialogue. You will see all films in a completely new and exciting way. You will gain the insight and tools to make your own movies visually compelling and powerful. I've also attended Bruce's visual expression classes in Los Angeles and can honestly say they were the most formative and enlightening of any film theory class I've ever had. Read this book and you'll never see movies the same way.
I can't recommend this book strong enough - I've been compiling course material - this book was an explosion of light at the end of a dreary tunnel of books on visual literacy - the film school should have had this as compulsary reading. Clearly set out with good graphics and in plain english. It marries the theoretical with the practical. The best book on the topic I have read so far.
This book is almost perfect. It explains the visual elements of line, shape, color, space, etc., and, more importantly, ties them to the story. The only complaint I have is it should use more color plates in the "Color" chapter, instead of trying to describe color with words. Must read for anyone trying to tell stories with pictures.
Having taken Bruce Block's visual expression class while getting my MFA at USC Film School I highly recommend this book. It's one of the few classes I took in film school that has had any lasting value. It should be part of any filmmakers foundation.
This is a fantastic book. The book explains many visual tools used to make better films. I can't recommend this enough. Take your films from an amatuer level to professional level. Helps you to build great visual style.