It is a great book which helped me to understand Eisenstein's montage theory. The book is a conversation with students and the process when they are building story by images is amazing.
Tell the story by cuts - through a juxtaposition of images that are basically uninflected (page 2).
The best image is an uninflected image (Eisenstein) - A shot of a teacup. A shot of a spoon. A shot of a pork. A shot of a door. Let the cut tell the story. Because otherwise you have not got dramatic action (page 2).
What does the protagonist want? It is this journey that is going to move the story forward. What does the protagonist want? What does he or she do to get it - that's what keeps the audience in their seats. If you don't have that, you have to trick the audience into paying attention (page 11).
Always do things the least interesting way, and you make better movie (page 20).
In House of Games, when the two guys are fighting about a gun in the doorway and we cut away to a shot of the sidekick, the professor character, looking on, then you hear the gunshot. That is pretty good film-making (page 32).
In the Uses of Enchantment, Bruno Bettelheim says of fairly tales the same thing Alfred Hitchcock said about thrillers: that the less the hero of the play is inflected, identified, and characterized, the more we will endow him with our own internal meaning - the more we will identify with him - which is to say the more we will be assured that we are that hero (page 38).
The job of the film director is to tell the story through the juxtaposition of uninfected images - because that is the essential nature of the medium (page 60).
Audience - They want to see what's happening next (page 62). Interest in a film comes from this: the desire to find out what happens next (page 63).
The way to shoot the car crash is not to stick a guy in the middle of the street and run over him and keep the camera on. The way to shoot the car crash is to shoot the pedestrian walking across the street, shoot the shot of onlooker whose head turns, shoot the shot of a man inside the car who looks up, shoot shot of the guy's foot coming down on the brake pedal, and shoot the shot underneath the car with the set of legs lying at strange angle (with thanks to Pudovkin, for the above). Cut them together , and the audience gets the idea: accident (page 76).