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Modes of Creative Practice in the directing of independent fiction films

Lees, D. (2019) Modes of Creative Practice in the directing of independent fiction films. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00104350


In the field of film studies, scholarly attention has focussed on the film as text, and theoretical concerns arising from the analysis of completed movies. Less academic attention has been paid to the creative practices of filmmaking, and this thesis addresses this gap. Drawing on elements of the precedent set by Bill Nichols in his analysis of documentary film, the thesis studies the individual creative strategies of feature film directors and organises their working methods into clusters of types, proposing a framework for understanding the commonalities of filmmaking practice and means of differentiation. Methodologies of this study include interviews with film directors, actors and crew, as well as practice-as-research used to explore the experience of directing fiction film in specific modes. The thesis argues that fiction filmmaking can be organised into ‘Modes of Creative Practice’, grouping the approaches of film directors into a coherent theoretical structure that describes and understands the processes of creating cinema. It elaborates three examples of creative modes: ‘Performance-Centred’, ‘DesignCentred’ and ‘Social Realist’, illuminating the working methods common to directors within each cluster. This theoretical model of creative film practice offers a new means of categorising and understanding film, alongside existing structures such as those based on genre, national cinema or production context. The thesis is the beginning of a broader study of filmmaking practice that will identify further ‘Modes of Creative Practice’ following the rationale developed here.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Gibbs, J. and Purse, L.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts & Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:104350


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