Innocence of the Eye

A Filmmaker's Guide

179 Pages
7x9 Paper
B&W Illustrations and Photos
Silman-James Press
Available electronic format(s):
Kindle, iBook,

Slavko Vorkapich was an artist, special effects artist, film theoretician, director, and montage specialist who is most noted for his montage work on many classic films, including Viva Villa, David Copperfield, San Francisco, The Good Earth, and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. He was also a highly original and influential filmmaking teacher.

The Innocence of the Eye, written by his friend, colleague and former student Ed Spiegel, is built on Vorkapich’s teachings—his filmic “vocabulary” of motion and image.

This engaging, well-written meditation on the essential expressive nature of movies is a profound yet practical guide to such basic filmmaking techniques as camera angles; image framing; camera and image motion and direction; editing styles; and image sequencing. Drawing on examples from both classics and contemporary films, the author shows how certain film techniques can shape an audience’s perception and empathy. This unique guide presents filmmaking principles that transcend periods, genres, and styles and address makers of all types of films—drama, documentaries, experimental films, music videos.

About Ed Spiegel

Ed Spiegel, work as a filmmaker—producer/writer/director/editor—has been honored with numerous awards: He directed the Hellstrom sequences in the Oscar-winning documentary The Hellstrom Chronicle. He was editor and second-unit director on the Oscar-winning feature Salt of the Earth. He produced and directed Surrender at Appomatox, which won two Emmys, a Cine Award and other prizes; The Sounds and Sights of San Francisco, which won a Peabody Award; The Sounds and Sights of Chicago, which won an Emmy; and has written, produced, and directed many other award-winning films. He has taught at USC, Cal Arts and San Diego State University.

“Great teaching occurs when the great teacher passes what he knows on to the student who is ready to listen and learn. In Innocence of the Eye,  Ed Spiegel offers up his gift of understanding the principles of movie art given him by Slavko Vorkapich, enriched by Ed’s own filmmaking experience. All who are ready will have much to learn.”
—Irvin Kershner, Director, The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again, Eyes of Laura Mars

“Slavko Vorkapich was a great filmmaker and teacher who inspired me to chose a career in cinematography. Ed Spiegel, a distinguished filmmaker, perhaps best understands Slavko’s timeless ideas. In a lucid and entertaining style Ed lays these ideas out for a new generation.”
—Conrad Hall, two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer, American Beauty, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

“Ed Spiegel has been one of many who can point to the success of their own careers as stemming directly from the inspiration and principles taught by this great teacher. My first use of claymation technique was to illustrate an assignment from Professor Vorkapich, Ed’s work and my own are different expressions of Vorkapich’s legacy.”
—Art Clokey, procuder/director, creator of Gumby

“Ed Spiegel made a profound impression on me with his understanding of the special qualities that differentiate one kind of art from another. In our work together on the movie Flight Forms, he was able to transform flying sculptures into exquisite cinema.”
—Tom Van Sant, artist, founder of The GeoSphere Projec

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