Review: Making Movies by Sidney Lumet

Hi everyone! As you can see from my lack of posting this week, I have been going very deep into my Independent Study. All get more into all that I have been doing this week in another post; on this post I will specifically talk about my thoughts on Sidney Lumet’s book that I just completed: Making Movies. This 218 page book sure took a long time to read and annotate, but it was totally worth it!

Lumet took me as the reader along with him for his entire filmmaking process: from pre-production all the way to the movies release. I can definitely say that now I know more about the Hollywood film process from an acclaimed director’s view than I ever did before! This book taught me a lot about how Lumet approaches each aspect of making a movie like analyzing the script, working with actors, and spending hours in the dark room. He didn’t force his process on the readers, he simply gave recommendations and told us what worked for him.

I think that one of my all-time favorite quotes from his is this one: “I don’t know what makes a hit.” While it may seem quite simple and dull (and from some angles even pessimistic), Lumet revealed how even some of the most well-renowned directors (like him) are still trying to figure out how to do there job. I learned that there isn’t one full-proof way to direct or make a movie, it’s just when you do make a movie, you have to be all in. You have to give your all!

Lumet ends that book with this: “a few [young people] are finding out what matters to them, of saying to themselves and to anyone who will list, ‘I care.’ A few of them want to make good movies.” I had to read that quotation a few times over. The first time I didn’t get it. I thought, “well duh, of course we want to make good movies!” After reflecting on this and processing the entirety of the book, I realized that if I want to make a truly “good” movie, I would have to put myself in the movie. Not specifically as an actor or a voice, but a piece of who I am. That’s what all of the cast and crew would have to do. And then from there, you hope that what you put into the movie, you get that out of it. And I believe that that is all that you can ask of a film. It might not be popular or one of the highest grossing films of all time, but if it taught me something as a person along the way, then that film is a success to me. I can’t end a movie in the same place that I started it.

All in all, I think that this is my favorite book that I have read in this class! It not only taught me about the in-depth process of making a Hollywood film, it also film theory and why movies are so important to us as people and the world. If you want to find that out for yourself, I highly recommend that you purchase this book here and read it! Thanks for reading my post everyone! Have a great day!!