Robert Spera

Meet Robert Spera, a director with an extensive background in film, television, and theater as well as a twenty-year teaching career at the American Film Institute. With the wealth of knowledge he has acquired over the years, he has chosen to gather it all together to share with the masses in his debut publication, Film/TV Director’s Field Manual: Notes, Thoughts and Counterintuitive Techniques to Change Your Filmmaking. This finely crafted anti-textbook contains seventy fundamental core values, or maxims, that are certain to open possibilities of inspiration and guidance for aspiring filmmakers as well as give veteran directors different perspectives to take into consideration when directing.

What Sets Spera’s Book Apart from the Others?

Readers may be wondering, what makes this manual about film different than any other book on the shelf about the same topic? For starters, the word “anti-textbook” is certainly one to make any reader curious, for how could a book meant to teach also be opposed to teaching? That is certainly not the case as Robert Spera teaches his core values as if he were directly speaking to the reader in everyday conversation. His writing style will make it feel as if he is sitting in the room speaking to the reader and his straightforward responses for his variety of topics will make it feel as if the reader is gaining excellent advice rather than being taught valuable lessons.

What to Expect From Spera’s Debut Book

Now, what exactly will readers learn from this anti-textbook? It is rather surprising the amount of information Spera has included in each of his maxims. These maxims are separated into five main categories: leadership, camera and staging, actors, story, and having what it takes. In each of these categories, aspiring directors will learn to:

  • Use surprises that appear on set to one’s advantage
  • Thank everyone on the team (from the producer to the person who gets the coffee)
  • Take inspiration from people watching and from different environments
  • Listen to the cast and crew to learn new ideas
  • Look at settings, scenes, and anything from different angles
  • Be excited to come to work every single day and be proud of the work that is accomplished
  • And so much more

On top of learning a plethora of core values, Robert Spera also provides exercises for aspiring directors to practice and hone their skills, as well as space to write core values/maxims they learn on their own as they take on the world of film and TV directing.

Regardless of the topic an author chooses to take on, Robert Spera succeeds in crafting a memorable manual not just because of the subject matter, but how he presents it by putting himself in his writing. He writes about his experiences, his successes and failures, his knowledge and understanding, and all things he has learned throughout his career. This is excellent because, yes, readers pick up a book, especially regarding a topic they are interested in because they wish to learn more about the subject, but they want to hear from the author, as well.

Book Release Information

Robert Spera book, Film/TV Director's Field Manual: Notes, Thoughts and Counterintuitive Techniques to Change Your Filmmaking

Robert Spera’s Film/TV Director’s Field Manual will be available in Spring 2024 and will be published through Mill City Press, an imprint of Salem Author Services.

Connect with Robert Spera

Contact Robert Spera and his agency at