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For over three decades, director Ken Kwapis has charted a career full of exceptional movies and television, from seminal shows like The Office to beloved films like He's Just Not That Into You. He is among the most respected directors in show business, but getting there wasn't easy. He struggled just like everyone else. With each triumph came the occasional faceplant. Using For over three decades, director Ken Kwapis has charted a career full of exceptional movies and television, from seminal shows like The Office to beloved films like He's Just Not That Into You. He is among the most respected directors in show business, but getting there wasn't easy. He struggled just like everyone else. With each triumph came the occasional faceplant. Using his background and inside knowledge, But What I Really Want To Do is Direct tackles Hollywood myths through Ken's highly entertaining experiences. It's a rollercoaster ride fueled by brawls with the top brass, clashes over budgets, and the passion that makes it all worthwhile. This humorous and refreshingly personal memoir is filled with inspiring instruction, behind-the-scenes hilarity, and unabashed joy. It's a celebration of the director's craft, and what it takes to succeed in show business on your own terms. Ken Kwapis always brought out the best in the actors on The Office. Whenever Ken was directing, I always felt safe to go out on a limb and take chances, knowing he had my back. Every aspiring director should read this book. (I can think of several 'professional' directors that should read it too!) -Jenna Fischer A vital, magnificent manifesto on the art and craft of directing, written with emotional, instinctual and intellectual depth by one of America's most beloved film and television directors -Amber Tamblyn In the years that I was fortunate to work with Ken on Malcolm in the Middle, he had an uncanny ability to guide actors right to the heart of a scene and reveal its truths. He admits that he doesn't have all the answers, he'll make mistakes, and at times he'll struggle, but as he says in the book, 'It's the struggle to get it right that makes us human.' -Bryan Cranston Good luck finding a more kind, passionate, and talented director alive than Ken. Seriously, good luck. -Tig Notaro "'Action!' is what most directors bark out to begin a scene. But Ken Kwapis starts by gently intoning the words 'Go ahead...' That simple suggestion assures everyone they're in smart, capable, humble hands. That's how you'll feel reading this book. And so, if you're anxious to discover how a top director always brings humor, honesty, and humanity to his work, all I can tell you is...Go ahead. -Larry Wilmore


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For over three decades, director Ken Kwapis has charted a career full of exceptional movies and television, from seminal shows like The Office to beloved films like He's Just Not That Into You. He is among the most respected directors in show business, but getting there wasn't easy. He struggled just like everyone else. With each triumph came the occasional faceplant. Using For over three decades, director Ken Kwapis has charted a career full of exceptional movies and television, from seminal shows like The Office to beloved films like He's Just Not That Into You. He is among the most respected directors in show business, but getting there wasn't easy. He struggled just like everyone else. With each triumph came the occasional faceplant. Using his background and inside knowledge, But What I Really Want To Do is Direct tackles Hollywood myths through Ken's highly entertaining experiences. It's a rollercoaster ride fueled by brawls with the top brass, clashes over budgets, and the passion that makes it all worthwhile. This humorous and refreshingly personal memoir is filled with inspiring instruction, behind-the-scenes hilarity, and unabashed joy. It's a celebration of the director's craft, and what it takes to succeed in show business on your own terms. Ken Kwapis always brought out the best in the actors on The Office. Whenever Ken was directing, I always felt safe to go out on a limb and take chances, knowing he had my back. Every aspiring director should read this book. (I can think of several 'professional' directors that should read it too!) -Jenna Fischer A vital, magnificent manifesto on the art and craft of directing, written with emotional, instinctual and intellectual depth by one of America's most beloved film and television directors -Amber Tamblyn In the years that I was fortunate to work with Ken on Malcolm in the Middle, he had an uncanny ability to guide actors right to the heart of a scene and reveal its truths. He admits that he doesn't have all the answers, he'll make mistakes, and at times he'll struggle, but as he says in the book, 'It's the struggle to get it right that makes us human.' -Bryan Cranston Good luck finding a more kind, passionate, and talented director alive than Ken. Seriously, good luck. -Tig Notaro "'Action!' is what most directors bark out to begin a scene. But Ken Kwapis starts by gently intoning the words 'Go ahead...' That simple suggestion assures everyone they're in smart, capable, humble hands. That's how you'll feel reading this book. And so, if you're anxious to discover how a top director always brings humor, honesty, and humanity to his work, all I can tell you is...Go ahead. -Larry Wilmore

30 review for But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Lessons from a Life Behind the Camera

  1. 5 out of 5

    Theresa Alan

    I love reading or watching documentaries about how movies and TV shows are made. I love reading about other casting possibilities or how budget snags made the directors and writers have to come up with new ideas that have since become iconic. This book was a chance to read about how movies get made from a director’s experience. Part of this book is the sort of thing that interests me—the behind the scenes things, like stories of how a movie finally gets made, but then gets changed based on what I love reading or watching documentaries about how movies and TV shows are made. I love reading about other casting possibilities or how budget snags made the directors and writers have to come up with new ideas that have since become iconic. This book was a chance to read about how movies get made from a director’s experience. Part of this book is the sort of thing that interests me—the behind the scenes things, like stories of how a movie finally gets made, but then gets changed based on what the people with the money think it should actually be—but it was also in part a how-to book, as in, “So, you want to be a director . . .” Since I don’t want to be a director, that part was slightly less interesting. Also, I watch a lot of different kinds of movies, but I didn’t attend film school, so he mentions a lot of esoteric foreign films that I’m sure were dissected at length in his classes to earn his MFA, but I’d never heard of a lot of them. In college I had friends who studied film, and once they explain to you about camera movements and whether the camera lingers on an object (which, it turns out, should MEAN something at some point), you notice that forever after whether you want to or not. With music, I do notice when it gets irritating or makes it nearly impossible to discern the dialogue. I also definitely notice the visual and musical ques that advise me to get stressed out, because something bad/potentially violent is about to happen. As a director, you’d obviously have to care about every aspect of a film—the score, the setting, the actors with different methodologies having to interact as if in love after meeting fifteen minutes ago, the writing and so on, which would be daunting, no question. If you enjoy learning about movies from every angle, you'll enjoy this. Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book, which RELEASES OCTOBER 6, 2020.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Although there probably isn't a home that Ken Kwapis's work hasn't been seen in through the various projects he's worked on, his name is probably unfamiliar to most. He's been nominated several times, and much of his work has gained iconic status, but his name is still not well known. What does come through is his dedication, his seriousness to the craft, his professional approach whether he's directing a puppet or creating something new as with The Office, and over it all, a kindness that is re Although there probably isn't a home that Ken Kwapis's work hasn't been seen in through the various projects he's worked on, his name is probably unfamiliar to most. He's been nominated several times, and much of his work has gained iconic status, but his name is still not well known. What does come through is his dedication, his seriousness to the craft, his professional approach whether he's directing a puppet or creating something new as with The Office, and over it all, a kindness that is reflected in the accolades of those he's worked with. There is not a mean word here, and anyone planning to pursue a career behind the camera would benefit greatly from this well written, generously shared memoir. Of great interest are the various references to the work of others, whether or not they provided inspiration for his eventual approach. I'll never look at 2001 A Space Odyssey or Lawrence of Arabia quite the same way again. I also will look into streaming if possible some of his works that I missed when they originally screened.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    This is one of those books that works on two levels. It's primarily a director giving honest advice to those with dreams of following in his footsteps. Kwapis is frank (and from what I know, truthful) when he talks about the dearth of proper books on what it takes to actually be a director beyond knowing great works of cinematography and being able to set up a good shot. There are a lot of really good and seemingly useful tips on everything from how to behave at meetings and interviews to how to This is one of those books that works on two levels. It's primarily a director giving honest advice to those with dreams of following in his footsteps. Kwapis is frank (and from what I know, truthful) when he talks about the dearth of proper books on what it takes to actually be a director beyond knowing great works of cinematography and being able to set up a good shot. There are a lot of really good and seemingly useful tips on everything from how to behave at meetings and interviews to how to deal with actors and how to successfully get a project finished. I'm not even interested in entering the entertainment field, but I admit to walking away with some good points to keep in mind. I'm merely a really big fan of both the big and small screens, so I came into this book for the second level of entertainment it contains. It's a fantastic inside look at what it takes to be a director who can continuously work in Hollywood for years. You get lots of insights into the projects he's worked on and what it really means to be a director. It's not just planning spectacular shots, it's dealing with the hundreds of people involved in the making and the millions who will have an opinion about the finished product. It feels like Kwapis is inviting the reader to tag along as the proverbial fly on the wall while he walks us through the processes that making any piece of film - be it big screen or small screen - requires. Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Griffin for the early read.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Astrid Galactic

    There have been many a great story told throughout life, with many coming out of that wonderous Tinseltown known as Hollywood which excels in storytelling via the Film Arts. But it takes more than just a great story to make it appealing and flourish for the masses. It takes a whole host of professionals working together as a team creating and refining a multitude of aspects that aren't necessarily apparent on the silver screen once the final product is released to the public. Sure, there's great There have been many a great story told throughout life, with many coming out of that wonderous Tinseltown known as Hollywood which excels in storytelling via the Film Arts. But it takes more than just a great story to make it appealing and flourish for the masses. It takes a whole host of professionals working together as a team creating and refining a multitude of aspects that aren't necessarily apparent on the silver screen once the final product is released to the public. Sure, there's great acting, appealing cinematography, believable sets and wardrobes, and an exciting score that all work together to make that story come alive on the screen. But all of that, and many other pieces, all come together under the leadership of the person at the helm - the director. Being a film director was always the life ambition of Ken Kwapis who tells his own personal story in his new book But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Lessons from a Life Behind the Camera. Whether you know his name or not, surely you've viewed many of the TV and movie productions he's been involved with such at the US version of The Office, He's Just Not That Into You, The Bernie Mac Show, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Larry Sanders Show, and Malcolm in the Middle, only to name a few. Apart from being part memoir, this is a fantastic guide and inside look at many of the things that must be addressed when directing a film or TV show. A well thought out production involves many more facets than just bossing other professionals around. One must know how to inspire an actor to reach inside themselves to become their character and do so in a way that moves smoothly and believably with all other actors and other facets of any given scene. The director, usually while coordinating with the editor, often creates a synecdoche that helps to tell a part of the story quite like a rebus, although not all parts necessarily are straightforward pictorial. There might be something involving a camera angle, lighting, scoring or even a specific acting style in any given part of the work that sends a message to the viewer. Of course, before one even steps foot onto the set, the director must be able to sell himself to the studio. There's big money involved here and the Hollywood moguls want to make sure they are hiring the right person for the job. The potential director might want to focus on the crafting of his art, but management has a tendency to focus on money and audience appeal. All are important and Kwapis understands this. He discusses everything from presenting your vision and approach, to a lot of the inside crafting that goes on behind the scenes while filming. There are also helpful tips on how to effectively work with others to get the best from everyone. He even offers advice on how to deal with any sort of praise or fallout one must encounter from both critics and the public. Not many stones were left unturned for any aspiring director or for those of us who just like to know what makes a Hollywood production tick. Besides being a successful director, Kwapis would make for a very good teacher in any film school worth their salt. Take that from one who was once an art teacher. The book itself doesn't go into the nuts and bolts of the craft; leave that for another class; but presents a very comprehensive outline of the many aspects that a director must address in the making of a quality and artistic work in the medium of film and TV. After reading, you'll find yourself viewing film with a much deeper understanding of what is being projected. It's also rather inspiring for someone already in the field who might need a new perspective when feeling a bit stuck or stale. If what you are looking for is starshine, glitter and Hollywood gossip, this is not the book for you. Instead, this is one for those with a keen interest in the art of both film and TV creation. Don't worry, it's not all detailed shop talk which can be very tedious. A lot of theoretical and psychological methods of approaching your production are often what's tackled in a way that is easy to understand by anyone not in the industry, yet not so lightweight to bore industry insiders. A must read for those who delight in penetrating beyond that fourth wall of cinema. Thanks to Ken Kwapis for getting in touch with me as well as NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of the eBook for a fair and honest review.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bex

    But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct blends together autobiographical excerpts with clear instruction about how to go about directing a film project. Although I don't work in this industry, I really enjoyed reading it - in particular the anecdotes from the sets of Ken Kwapis' film projects. There were also lessons in leadership which would benefit people working in any industry. Nonetheless, I imagine that this book will be most popular with film students and I would highly recommend it to the But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct blends together autobiographical excerpts with clear instruction about how to go about directing a film project. Although I don't work in this industry, I really enjoyed reading it - in particular the anecdotes from the sets of Ken Kwapis' film projects. There were also lessons in leadership which would benefit people working in any industry. Nonetheless, I imagine that this book will be most popular with film students and I would highly recommend it to them. I would also recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the art of filmmaking and deconstructing how a story is told. Thank you to NetGalley, St Martin's Press and Ken Kwapis for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Matt Hurt

    Filled with a ton of insight into the craft and business of filmmaking. The book is packed with information presented in a strong and clear conversational tone. Fantastic stuff. It took quite a bit of time for me to get acclimated to the narrator's reading of the audiobook, however. The cadence is weird and distracting. But after a few hours, you don't really notice it. Filled with a ton of insight into the craft and business of filmmaking. The book is packed with information presented in a strong and clear conversational tone. Fantastic stuff. It took quite a bit of time for me to get acclimated to the narrator's reading of the audiobook, however. The cadence is weird and distracting. But after a few hours, you don't really notice it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    If you're like most Americans, you find yourself plopping yourself in your local cinema without much thought about "who" actually made the film you're about to see. You simply want to be entertained. Or, perhaps, you sit down with your family to watch a beloved sitcom or hour-long drama that will make you laugh or cry or change your life. The odds are fairly strong you don't find yourself wondering "Who directed that?" The truth is, and I believe that Ken Kwapis would begrudgingly accept this not If you're like most Americans, you find yourself plopping yourself in your local cinema without much thought about "who" actually made the film you're about to see. You simply want to be entertained. Or, perhaps, you sit down with your family to watch a beloved sitcom or hour-long drama that will make you laugh or cry or change your life. The odds are fairly strong you don't find yourself wondering "Who directed that?" The truth is, and I believe that Ken Kwapis would begrudgingly accept this notion, that if you're like most Americans you've likely never heard the name Ken Kwapis and if you have it's more likely a passing reference or, just maybe, it's because one of those films that entertained you became one of your favorites and you definitely know that Kwapis directed it. Despite having a directorial career that has spanned nearly 40 years, Ken Kwapis is not quite a household name. Despite the fact that Kwapis won an Emmy Award for directing the American version of "The Office" and has been nominated for two other Emmy Awards for directing both "The Office" and "Malcolm in the Middle," Ken Kwapis is still the kind of director who has to interview for every project he works on and whose name often triggers a response of "Do I know anything he's done?" Well, as a matter of fact you do. While he mildly pokes fun of himself for his early career helming of Sesame Street's "Follow That Bird," a film that is much better than you might ever expect, Kwapis has directed a slew of memorable film and television projects ranging from the cult favorite "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" to the family film "Dunston Checks In," again a film much better than you might remember, to "He's Just Not That Into You" and others like Robin Williams's "License to Wed," the wonderful "Big Miracle," the under-appreciated "A Walk in the Woods," and the vastly underrated late 80's film "Vibes" among others. Kwapis's record on television is even more astounding. Kwapis directed the pilot for "The Office," the pilot for "The Larry Sanders Show," and the pilot for "The Bernie Mac Show." He's worked on "Malcolm in the Middle," "Freaks and Geeks," "Bakersfield, P.D.," "Happyish," "Santa Clarita Diet," and #BlackAF" among quite a few others. You may not know the Illinois native's name, but you know Ken Kwapis's work. "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Lessons From a Life Behind the Camera" is a sublime reading experience, a warm and witty and well-informed and genuinely immersive and entertaining experience that is partly autobiographical and partly a behind-the-scenes instructional journey through Hollywood, filmmaking, creative expression, and even life itself. "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct" is one of the best filmmaking-centered literary efforts I've had the pleasure of reading in quite some time, an unabashedly joy-filled trip through Kwapis's simultaneously ordinary and extraordinary cinematic life with triumphs, faceplants, not quite literal brawls with Hollywood brass, bouts with oversized egos, budget constraints and, through it all, the unabashed joy you can tell he experiences every time the phone rings and another directorial opportunity presents itself. Kwapis loves directing. You can feel that love in every single word of this book, from his amazing and precise reflections from throughout film history on the various aspects of filmmaking to the generous, giving spirit that infuses his little tidbits of instruction about everything from lensing to music to intention and so much more. Have I mentioned that I loved this book? Larry Wilmore observed about Kwapis that “'Action!' is what most directors bark out to begin a scene. But Ken Kwapis starts by gently intoning the words 'Go ahead…' That simple suggestion assures everyone they’re in smart, capable, humble hands." Indeed, it's that sense of "Go ahead..." that weaves itself into the tapestry of "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct." Almost universally beloved by those who work with him because of the safe and affirming sets he fosters, Kwapis has written an effort here that has inspired me as a film journalist (Really!) and inspired me as a human being as he shares his ideas about empowering both cast and crew and offering feedback that is more collaborative in spirit. At times, you will marvel at Kwapis's ability to precisely communicate the most specific details about films past and present to illustrate points about cinematography or being proactive on set or giving playable notes or designing a fluid master. Don't know what I'm talking about? You will by the end of "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct" and you'll enjoy the journey of learning. This is a book that's often hilarious, occasionally poignant, frequently inspiring, and then there's that joy again. It's filled with such a joy that even when you're reading about movie history you'll have a smile on your face the entire time. "Playable Notes" is, most likely, my favorite chapter as it's so incredibly applicable to life itself. It made me think about how I write my own reviews, both book and film, and kind of made me fall in love with Kwapis as a human being. That may be one more of the most amazing things about "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct"...Kwapis writes so naturally and with such personal transparency that you feel like you're getting the genuine Ken Kwapis and you feel like this is someone you'd really enjoying hanging out with sometime. As someone who has interviewed quite a few film-connected human beings, sometimes that's an amazing experience and sometimes, well, it's not. Kwapis waltzed his way onto my desired interview list precisely because this is a book that lets you know he's intelligent, kind, funny, open, and generous in spirit. While those with limited film/television world may at times get a bit lost inside the terminology contained within "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct," Kwapis keeps it all so relatable and entertaining that he makes the material accessible and for the most part understandable even if you've never said anything else about a film but "Hey, I really like that movie." There's a place for you here. Scheduled for an October 6th release from St. Martin's Press, "But What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Lessons from a Life Behind the Camera" is an engaging and entertaining journey through the directorial life of Ken Kwapis and the lessons he's learned along the way. For anyone who celebrates the creative spirit and yearns to bring it to life, Kwapis has crafted one of the year's most passionate and joy-filled calls to creative action.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I AM BORED!!) ANd it is too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGal When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are in #COVID19 #socialisolation, superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. (I AM BORED!!) ANd it is too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books?? I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸. For over three decades, director Ken Kwapis has charted a career full of exceptional movies and television, from seminal shows like The Office to beloved films like He’s Just Not That Into You. He is among the most respected directors in show business, but getting there wasn’t easy. He struggled just like everyone else. With each triumph came the occasional faceplant. Using his background and inside knowledge, But What I Really Want To Do Is Direct tackles Hollywood myths through Ken’s highly entertaining experiences. It’s a rollercoaster ride fueled by brawls with the top brass, clashes over budgets, and the passion that makes it all worthwhile. This humorous and refreshingly personal memoir is filled with inspiring instruction, behind-the-scenes hilarity, and unabashed joy. It’s a celebration of the director’s craft, and what it takes to succeed in show business on your own terms. "Ken Kwapis always brought out the best in the actors on The Office. Whenever Ken was directing, I always felt safe to go out on a limb and take chances, knowing he had my back. Every aspiring director should read this book. (I can think of several “professional” directors that should read it too!)" -Jenna Fischer "A vital, magnificent manifesto on the art and craft of directing, written with emotional, instinctual and intellectual depth by one of America's most beloved film and television directors" -Amber Tamblyn "In the years that I was fortunate to work with Ken on Malcolm in the Middle, he had an uncanny ability to guide actors right to the heart of a scene and reveal its truths. He admits that he doesn’t have all the answers, he’ll make mistakes, and at times he’ll struggle, but as he says in the book, 'It’s the struggle to get it right that makes us human.'" -Bryan Cranston "Good luck finding a more kind, passionate, and talented director alive than Ken. Seriously, good luck." -Tig Notaro “'Action!' is what most directors bark out to begin a scene. But Ken Kwapis starts by gently intoning the words 'Go ahead…' That simple suggestion assures everyone they’re in smart, capable, humble hands. That’s how you’ll feel reading this book. And so, if you’re anxious to discover how a top director always brings humour, honesty, and humanity to his work, all I can tell you is…Go ahead." -Larry Wilmore I am pretty sure that I am the only person who did not like "The Office" but I think that I do like Ken Kwapis - his filmography at IMDB.com is extensive and I have enjoyed many of the shows/movies he has directed and produced. The book was an inside view to a Hollywood you rarely hear about - and given the extensive kudos in the book's description, there is not much else that I can say that they did not. Decidedly a book for those fascinated with Hollywood - it is not a casual read for a library patron. As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🎞️📽️🎬🎥

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

    I wasn't in the market for a book that outlined how to be a efficient director, collaborator, artist, etc. when I started this, but quickly found that, even if you're not going to ever be someone in front of or behind a camera, this book yields great fruit. Warmly recounting some great moments (so far) during his career, Kwapis helps burgeoning directors get ready to lean into Hollywood's idiosyncratic nature while also showing when it's worth giving in and when to dig your heels. Easy to recogn I wasn't in the market for a book that outlined how to be a efficient director, collaborator, artist, etc. when I started this, but quickly found that, even if you're not going to ever be someone in front of or behind a camera, this book yields great fruit. Warmly recounting some great moments (so far) during his career, Kwapis helps burgeoning directors get ready to lean into Hollywood's idiosyncratic nature while also showing when it's worth giving in and when to dig your heels. Easy to recognize in his advice are through-lines that can be applied to any professional setting, so you won't be blinking hard at pages filled with film jargon (and, if what I've said isn't enough, know that Kwapis defines anything that needs explanation). For those not in the filmmaking business, you'll discover great worth in his experiences on various TV and movie sets (DUNSTON CHECKS IN, man! Much more respect to Faye Dunaway now) that show how familar you are with his work, even if you didn't know it beforehand. Equally compelling and interesting are his film analyses, which are greatly appreciated and insightful. One tiny complaint (that's probably already been caught and fixed, but I would never forgive myself if I didn't mention it): Kwapis states that, in JAWS, the last shot of the first act literally follows the Orca through a set of shark's jaws from "the desk of police chief Martin Brody". The shot occurs inside of Quint's shack, in truth. Again, it's a small detail and it doesn't derail what Kwapis is trying to say. Also worth reading is his section on HAL (from 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY). A wonderful chapter, that one. I knew I'd enjoy it and learn a lot, but greatly underestimated just how much. That's a hallmark of a great book to me. Many thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin's Griffin, and St. Martin's Press for the advance read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Josh

    I have heard numerous actors say that Ken Kwapis is one of the nicest directors working. After reading his book, that seems to be quite likely. Part how-to, part love letter to the art he loves, and quite autobiographical, Kwapis’s work accomplishes three key feats: 1) It introduces the reader to the man behind the camera for so many great films and TV shows; 2) It serves as a road map/manual for up and coming directors looking to try their hand at the world of film; and 3) It makes me want to w I have heard numerous actors say that Ken Kwapis is one of the nicest directors working. After reading his book, that seems to be quite likely. Part how-to, part love letter to the art he loves, and quite autobiographical, Kwapis’s work accomplishes three key feats: 1) It introduces the reader to the man behind the camera for so many great films and TV shows; 2) It serves as a road map/manual for up and coming directors looking to try their hand at the world of film; and 3) It makes me want to watch films and TV shows again or for the first time and try to see this artistic medium the way that Kwapis does and be effected by them the way he obviously is. This is a book I thought I would enjoy, but it was not a book I expected to be so challenged and encouraged by. Great book. ARC provided.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    This book was received as an ARC from St. Martin's Press - St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I have never learned so much about Hollywood from a book then Ken Kwapis' autobiography. I am fans of the shows he has directed including The Office. The brilliancy the went on in the show and the actors that looked like they were having the time of their lives was all Ken's work. I was in awe of many parts to the b This book was received as an ARC from St. Martin's Press - St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. I have never learned so much about Hollywood from a book then Ken Kwapis' autobiography. I am fans of the shows he has directed including The Office. The brilliancy the went on in the show and the actors that looked like they were having the time of their lives was all Ken's work. I was in awe of many parts to the book and broke out in laughter so many times that my stomach hurt until I finished the book. Ken's stories were beyond interesting and I know a lot of our patrons will be in awe of his story and can relate to him real easily. We will consider adding this title to our Entertainment collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kat Rockwell

    An inspiring work for leaders in any profession! If you manage people or work with a team, Ken Kwapis' "But What I Really Want to Do is Direct" offers personal insight into what it takes to breathe life into your vision by way of talented individuals. His humble yet intentional approach to verbal, written, & physical communication (admittedly derived from his own past mistakes) is something all business leaders should take to heart. Even if the parallel to interpersonal relations doesn't land, r An inspiring work for leaders in any profession! If you manage people or work with a team, Ken Kwapis' "But What I Really Want to Do is Direct" offers personal insight into what it takes to breathe life into your vision by way of talented individuals. His humble yet intentional approach to verbal, written, & physical communication (admittedly derived from his own past mistakes) is something all business leaders should take to heart. Even if the parallel to interpersonal relations doesn't land, reading this is sure to expand one's vernacular as Kwapis eloquently laces his personal experiences with an elevated vocabulary. It's intriguing, inspiring, and should be on every leader's list of books to read this year.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Brynn | readyourworriesaway

    Thank you to @netgalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s no secret that The Office is my favorite show, so it’s probably not a surprise that I tune in for the @officeladiespod every week. One of my favorite guests that they’ve had on the podcast is Ken Kwapis. Ken directed from of my favorite Office episodes. The way he speaks about why he made certain directorial decisions shows how brilliant he is. It is easy to tell that he loves what he does. But What I Really Wa Thank you to @netgalley for this advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s no secret that The Office is my favorite show, so it’s probably not a surprise that I tune in for the @officeladiespod every week. One of my favorite guests that they’ve had on the podcast is Ken Kwapis. Ken directed from of my favorite Office episodes. The way he speaks about why he made certain directorial decisions shows how brilliant he is. It is easy to tell that he loves what he does. But What I Really Want to Do is Direct: Lessons From a Life Behind the Camera details how Ken Kwapis got into the directing business and what he learned from the ups and downs along the way. Ken gives tips to those who are hoping to pursue a career as a director by sharing personal stories from his experience working on movies and TV shows. This book will allow you to learn about behind-the-scenes details that you may not think about as you are watching television.

  14. 4 out of 5

    (a)lyss(a)

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a surprisingly conversational and educational book about directing. Kwapis shares insights on directing from advising actors to visualizing shots and how to create collaboration within a crew. He also shares pieces of scripts from movies and TV shows he's directed and talked about the process he used to bring them to life. He also talks about assembling the directors cut and audience testing, which is a cool th I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is a surprisingly conversational and educational book about directing. Kwapis shares insights on directing from advising actors to visualizing shots and how to create collaboration within a crew. He also shares pieces of scripts from movies and TV shows he's directed and talked about the process he used to bring them to life. He also talks about assembling the directors cut and audience testing, which is a cool thing to get insight on. This book doesn't speak to how to break into directing or current barriers, but does have tips on how to direct. It's surprisingly thorough and an interesting read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abby P.

    Listened to audio book - not read by author which is a drawback. Narrator often speaks with a staccato style cadence which may be great for diction, but takes away from the audio experience. It often distracts me from the material. Would have preferred a reading with more conversational tone. However, I enjoyed the content of the book itself. It’s a nice book for those interested in directing and the entertainment industry. Ken gives insight into specifics of his career as well as valuable tips Listened to audio book - not read by author which is a drawback. Narrator often speaks with a staccato style cadence which may be great for diction, but takes away from the audio experience. It often distracts me from the material. Would have preferred a reading with more conversational tone. However, I enjoyed the content of the book itself. It’s a nice book for those interested in directing and the entertainment industry. Ken gives insight into specifics of his career as well as valuable tips for would be directors.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chrisie

    If you really do want to be a director, I would say this is a must-read. So many great tips and industry-specific info. If you don't want to be a director, but want to be a good leader, I still recommend this book. There are a lot of great tips on how to lead by letting your colleagues do what they do best, and how to guide them. I wanted to be in the movie industry once upon a time. Sadly I didn't get into school and I kind of left it at that. In hindsight I probably would have made a decent scr If you really do want to be a director, I would say this is a must-read. So many great tips and industry-specific info. If you don't want to be a director, but want to be a good leader, I still recommend this book. There are a lot of great tips on how to lead by letting your colleagues do what they do best, and how to guide them. I wanted to be in the movie industry once upon a time. Sadly I didn't get into school and I kind of left it at that. In hindsight I probably would have made a decent script supervisor. Overall very interesting read!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne Libera

    I got to borrow an advance copy from my husband who is interviewing Kwapis for his podcast. There is an enormous amount that is useful here - not just to film directors but also to those who create narratives in any medium or artistic collaborators and leaders of all kinds. Great stories stories - I especially appreciated the insight into The Larry Sanders Show and working with Garry Shandling. And the section on how to give good notes is terrific.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Traci S

    I'm an Office superfan so I wanted to read this. TONS of great practical and engaging realistic advice for up and coming film makers. Plus some great insight on his other projects (*gasp* he did more than The Office!?!?!?). And he never name drops anyone he has anything even slightly negative to say about. Great book! I'm an Office superfan so I wanted to read this. TONS of great practical and engaging realistic advice for up and coming film makers. Plus some great insight on his other projects (*gasp* he did more than The Office!?!?!?). And he never name drops anyone he has anything even slightly negative to say about. Great book!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Nat

    I've seen Ken Kwapis work and like it. I heard him interviewed on the office ladies podcast and that's how I heard about this book. Good insight into the world of the director. Helps to read this book if you've seen the movies he talks about. Overall this book is missing something. I wanted to like more but I couldn't. Not sure what this book is missing but there is something lacking. I've seen Ken Kwapis work and like it. I heard him interviewed on the office ladies podcast and that's how I heard about this book. Good insight into the world of the director. Helps to read this book if you've seen the movies he talks about. Overall this book is missing something. I wanted to like more but I couldn't. Not sure what this book is missing but there is something lacking.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sara Sutton

    I’m no director but I just really wanted to read this to get to know the director behind so many of my favorite things! Ken Kwapis is extremely good with words, and just seems like a genuine person that has this magical ability to get the best out of his crew and the actors on the screen. Definitely a great read even if you’re not in the industry.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Betsey Yadon

    I really liked parts of this book, especially when Ken Kwapis talked about films/shows he directed. Other parts where he talked about or analyzed other films or where he gave his rules for directing were not as interesting to me. This is probably a book that would be good for aspiring directors but it was enjoyable overall.

  22. 4 out of 5

    PJ

    Explains the nuts and bolts of what a director does, which is really insightful. Gives me fresh appreciation to take in what I watch more carefully.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mike Danner

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zeke

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mithun Gangopadhyay

  26. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jjyahn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

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