Directing Feature Films

Directing Feature Films

Learn How to Get Award-winning Authentic Performances from Actors!

A must read for any serious professional.

Mark Rydell, Director, On Golden Pond

  • Internationally acclaimed LA Times Bestseller, in it’s 9th Edition
  • Translated into German, Japanese and French
  • Demystifies directing feature films at every level
  • Required reading at prestigious film schools internationally
  • Recommended by A-list directors

Directing Feature Films is perhaps the most practical and accessible approach to film directing ever written. Mark guides the reader through the directing process one manageable step at a time. His insights into script, story, actors, communication and the art of story telling are refreshing and enlightening. Directing Feature Films has become a staple at film schools and production companies worldwide.

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Directing Feature Films is the second edition of Mark Travis’ classic text The Director’s Journey which has been published in nine editions and four languages.

Table of Contents for Directing Feature Films

  • Introduction
  • The Role of the Director and the Creative Team
  • The Director’s Writing Process
  • The Director’s Notebook
  • Formulating the Vision

1. The Director and the Script
How do you read a script and identify not only your passion but begin to formulate your Vision?

2. Terms and Definitions
The world of filmmaking has its own unique language. This chapter takes you through all the terms and definitions you will need so that you can clearly and concisely communicate with Writers, Actors, Producers and other members of your Creative Team.

3. Working with Writers
The collaboration between Writers and Directors is delicate. Each must understand the process and priorities of the other in order to develop a healthy working relationship. Directors will learn how to use the artistry of the Writer throughout the entire filmmaking process.

4. The Script Breakdown
If you don’t understand how the script works, how are you going to direct it? In this chapter discover the techniques of breakdown and analysis that will give you a clear understanding of the inner workings of any script.

5. The Creative Team
Filmmaking is a highly collaborative process. The director’s ability to communicate with all members of his/her team is essential. Each Creative Team member has their own language, their own tools and their own priorities. In this chapter learn how to work with Cinematographers, Designers, Editors and Composers.

6. The Casting Process
“80% of directing is Casting”. Learn how to prepare yourself and others for this essential and demanding process. Casting is more than finding talented actors for each role, it is a testing process and the director needs to know precisely what he/she is looking for, how to recognize talent, how to explore the working process of the actors and eventually how to form a healthy relationship with each actor.

7. The Rehearsal Process
If a Director doesn’t know how to Work with Actors and how to Rehearse, the film will suffer. Rehearsing with Actors is the single most essential tool that every Director must posses. This chapter contains incredible insights into this delicate process that will elevate the Director’s work and the work of the Actors.

8. Production
The Challenges of Production are enormous. In this chapter learn a step-by-step approach to Production that will keep the Director on track with his/her vision while juggling the many demands of this process. Learn how to keep the Creative Team alive and active and supportive. And learn how to stimulate the actors on Camera to deliver textured and effective performances

9. Post Production
The film is made in post-production. Learn how to find the film you have been making. Like archeology, post-production is a process of discovery, trial and error and eventual revelation. In this chapter learn the techniques that will actually enhance performance and the power of every scene.

10. Reconsiderations and Recapitulations
“All directors are film students”. In this chapter take time to explore the shifting landscape of directing and storytelling. During his many years of teaching and consulting, Mark Travis has found new approaches and ideas about the world of directing that continue to stimulate and intrigue.

12. No More Acting, No More Directing
A revolutionary concept, this is the subject matter for one of Mark Travis’ next books. What is ‘result’ directing, how does it work? What happens if we stop directing and that actors stop acting? Directing is controlling and acting is pretending. In our attempts to simulate reality what happens if we simply create an environment within which reality can truly occur?

13. The Ultimate Collaboration: Directors with Directors
Another controversial subject. Most directors work in isolation and secrecy. Few truly talk to each other about the inner workings of their minds or of their process. And even fewer will seek the assistance, support or guidance of another director. This Chapter is a Panel Discussion between some extraordinary directors and how they seek the collaborative efforts of other directors.

The Reviews Are In: 

It is rare to find a reference guide that has as its primary focus the director as a creative artist and visionary. For the experienced director, DIRECTING FEATURE FILMS is an invaluable reminder of why the journey was first undertaken; for the beginning director, it is a compass that will set the course for the rewarding explorations to follow


An eye-opening description of the work that needs to be done before one frame is filmed.”

Alejandro Ferreyra, Screenwriter Magazine

If every feature film director were to read – and follow – Mark Travis’ guide to working with actors and other creative personnel, the world would be a better place.

Jean Shiffman, Back Stage West

Mark Travis takes the mystery out of directing with this comprehensive and inspired guide to the craft of helming a movie.

Stage and Screen

Travis has written an excellent guide on the art of directing, and how to work with other professionals to achieve an artistic and commercial goal.

Cyber Film School

A more practical, by-the-numbers guide to directing than theory-ladenbooks like The Eisenstein Reader. Travis (a film and TV lenser) shows us what it takes to excel behind the camera.

Sable Jak, Scr(I)pt Magazine

More Books by Mark W. Travis: 

The Film Directors Bag Of Tricks by Mark W Travis


The Film Director’s Bag of Tricks:

Get What You Want from Actors and Writers

Learn more about The Film Directors Bag of Tricks

Mark is available for interviews, appearances, panels, workshops, and consulting across the US and internationally. Contact him at  or call +1 818-679-7077.