Book Review: Action Realism: The Art of Action

Taking as its jumping-off point the by now familiar topic of digital moviemaking’s ubiquitousness and accessibility, action director Lawrence Ribeiro’s new book Action Realism: The Art of Action goes beyond its scope as a technical production manual to become a holistic treatise on creativity.

With chapters titled “Imagination” and “Knowledge by Observation,” Ribeiro takes readers on a tour of his thoughts on honing craft, cultivating point of view, and how a range of creative skill sets can and should inform one another on set.

Practical advice for film production comes fast and frequent, especially with crafting a sense of speed in action sequences. This theme is backed up with engaging insights and examples about how to best circumvent limited resources and time by creatively utilizing location and stunt coordination. One gets a sense of excitement about the subject matter from Ribeiro, and his introductory claims that he is writing this book for the next generation of moviemakers at a time of paradigmatic shifts in the industry is backed up by an expansive scope of examples. He references everything from Mad Max and Jason Bourne to micro-budget indies and non-film analogies that delve into the similarities between the entertainment industry and hockey. The result is a book that’s as technically concise as it is encouraging, a nice little kick in the hind quarters for budding moviemakers wanting to inject a little fire into their set pieces.

The Takeaway

Action Realism is a great overview of an intimidating aspect of the moviemaking process. The book serves as a collection of ideas on the importance of finding one’s personal voice, and demonstrates why letting that voice inform the technical side of your craft is crucial. MM

Action Realism: The Art of Action was released by Lawrence Ribeiro on October 23, 2018. This article appears in MovieMaker’s Winter 2019 issue.

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