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"Excellent...take this seminar before your next project!"
Filmmakers Alliance

"Action/Cut is the best filmmaking seminar on the planet!"
Imagine News

"Simply excellent...for all aspiring filmmakers and screenwriters!"

" a magician opening the curtain into the filmmaking process!"

" on storytelling are excellent and a great help to writers!"

"Excellent learning experience...going from script pages to dailies to final print!"
Scriptwriters Network

"Action/Cut is successful in empowering participants...would recommend it to anyone!"

"Terrific...a great exposure to the world of directing that you won't find in film school!"
Creative Screenwriting

"Great seminar...highly recommend it to directors, writers, producers, actors, crews!"
Women In Film

"Essential...if you can only attend one film workshop this year, do yourself a favor and make it Action/Cut!"

Quick Links to Specific Articles


A review of the Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar
By Alexandra Vega - IMAGINE NEWS

I'd 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 nation’s 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).

Not that it’s 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, he’ll 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…and nagged 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. "I’ve networked from day one," he announced. "You can’t be in the right place at the right time if you are not hustling."

Networking 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, it’s never been easier.He makes it even easier.

The 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 insider’s view of the shooting process and a welcomed excuse to watch television during "working hours".

The 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.

The 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.

The 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.

What 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…just do it!

By Silvio Joseph
Arts & Entertainment Writer - CITY LINE NEWS

Have 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 the movie?

“In 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 Magar’s 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.

The 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, RETRIBUTION).

Prudently, 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 director’s 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. “He’s a down in the trenches kind of director,” said Caroline Marshall (a Columbia University Master’s Graduate), “it was extremely refreshing to find someone who was so candidly thorough.”

CSA accredited Casting Director Mike Lemon from Philadelphia, who was a casting director on such great films including M. Night Shyamalan’s newest production SIGNS, UNBREAKABLE, THE SIXTH SENSE, PHILADELPHIA, BELOVED, FALLEN, SNAKE EYES, and TWELVE MONKEYS, appeared as Guy Magar’s 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 Magar’s valuable seminar.

So, if you passionately wish to make films, why not check out Action/Cut’s next seminar? For now, that’s a wrap.


As 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.

The 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.

Then 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, 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.

In 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.

I 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.

The 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" 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 do.

And 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.

Prepping 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 first step.

If 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 the country.


Last 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.

Magar 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.

The 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.

The 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.

You 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.

"Filmmaking Passion In A Box!"
Review by Jon Gress - FLORIDA FX

As a filmmaker who's been addicted to moviemaking and been making films since the age of 4 when"borrowed" 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 was wrong!

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!

Guy's 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.

I 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!

"Action/Cut and the Magic in Between"
Review by Emily Lysaght -

Guy Magar’s Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar is truly a boot camp for filmmakers of all levels. While you don’t 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.

The 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.

The 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.

Something 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.

Magar 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 Magar’s 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

First 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!

Guy 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" 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.

Guy's "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.

If 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 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 ahead!

And 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.

I 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.

A review of the Action/Cut Film Directing Seminar

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.

In 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 and Sunday.

Guy 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.

I 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 website.

Expect 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 skills.
Good luck and try not to miss it when it comes around your part of the world.

Reviewed by Lawrence Pruyne - IMAGINE NEWS

Director 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.

The 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.

Magar 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.

According 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.

"This 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 10/2001.

Magar 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."

The 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 club."

Guy 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.

A review of Guy Magar’s Filmmaking Seminar

I’ll be honest, during the first day of this 16 hour seminar I wasn’t 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, I’m thinking how I would die for $50,000 and a decent sound man with his own equipment for $100 a day.

After 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, visual story.

Guy 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 Larson’s office, the prolific TV producer of the 70’s and 80’s, where he became Larson’s assistant.

Now 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.

Guy 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.

Most 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” doesn’t necessarily involve the use of hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.

I had an epiphany when I started thinking Guy had no idea what “we” go through in the Independent World. There’s no way this seminar could help me I thought...I can’t even afford a good caterer, never mind a few honey wagons and a dozen teamsters. I realized my thinking was faulty. Why don’t 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 doesn’t 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.

I 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. Don’t let your ego convince you that you don’t need any further instruction on directing. Guy will help you see the light.

A review of Guy Magar’s Guest Speaker talk at SCRIPTWRITERS NETWORK
By Crystal Ann Taylor

"I don’t 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.

For 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 it’s because it is not on the page. It’s the writer’s job to make sure a director understands what he wants...and the only place the writer can do that is on the page.

Magar 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 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 realities.

One 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 can’t complain how a director is gonna go from one scene to another if they aren’t going to hint it or help them.”

Another 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.

A writer can also help the director with casting, Magar assured, by using precise visual descriptions...i.e. “a skinny hustler who couldn’t 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.

“Visualization 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.

“To 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.

For 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.

A review by Tianna Langham - CINEWOMEN - Los Angeles

In a town chock full of industry seminars and workshops, it’s 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.

The 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 director’s 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.

Initially 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 day’s evaluations of the scenes were more geared towards accomplishing a certain impact and effect in feature film directing.

I 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.

MovieMaker Magazine - Interview with Guy Magar
"Talent and Toughness: Are Great Directors Born Or Made?"

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