The Pequod Review:
On Directing Film is a quirky, rambling, and frequently brilliant collection of lectures given by David Mamet to Columbia University's film school. Mamet's opinions are unfiltered and unedited — just like his novels and his politics — and as a result the book contains a number of insightful gems on the film-making process:
The making of a story… consists of the assiduous application of several very basic questions: What does the hero want? What hinders him from getting it? What happens if he does not get it? That’s what keeps the audience in their seats… The story can only be interesting because we find the progress of the protagonist interesting. As long as the protagonist wants something, the audience will want something.
The purpose of technique is to free the unconscious. If you follow the rules ploddingly, they will allow your unconscious to be free... The conscious mind is going to suggest the obvious, the cliché, because these things have offered the security of having succeeded in the past.
If you find that a point cannot be made without narration, it is virtually certain that the point is unimportant to the story (which is to say, to the audience).