A link to my new small essay on David Mamet vs. Werner Herzog.
I love Mamet's book. It's an arrogant, self-satisfied book, so laser-focused on telling a story that anyone in any medium will benefit from it. In detailed conversations with students and illuminating supporting essays, he describes what kinds of shots and scenes move a story forward, and which ones don't. If scenes and shots don't move the story forward, they're of no use.
In my mulitple readings of the book, I can only recall him mentioning one director by name who represents the type of filmmaking he has no use for: Werner Herzog. He says: "... listen to the difference between the way people talk about films by Werner Herzog and the way they talk about films by Frank Capra, for example. One of them may or may not understand something or other, but the other understands what it is to tell a story, and he wants to tell a story, which is the nature of the dramatic art- to tell a story." Mamet finishes this line of thinking with "The only thing the dramatic form is good for is telling a story."
Read more at Seth Kushner's Graphic NYC blog