As a director, one of your most important jobs is eliciting great performances from actors, and like playing the guitar, it is a skill that is developed and nurtured over time. You’ve heard the term “actor’s director” before, but what does it really mean? Why does it matter? And how can you become one?
An actor’s director is simply a director who respects actors, can read their wants and needs, understands the craft of acting, and knows how to optimize an actor’s performance with simple, short directions (or no apparent direction at all). While actors routinely compliment directors by bestowing this title upon them, becoming an actor’s director means far more than earning the respect of those in front of the camera. In truth, the best directors are actor’s directors by definition. The temperament and skill set of an actor’s director yield superior performances, and it leads to more fulfilling actor-director relationships. By studying the strategies, attitudes, knowledge base, and habits of actor’s directors, you too will be on the path to better performances in your own films and series.
What You’ll Learn:
- What it means to be an “actor’s director” in general
- What you need to be familiar with ahead of time in order to be one yourself, including
- A basic rundown of the craft and challenges of acting
- How to use empathy. What a strong actor-director collaboration looks like
- How to harness the power of ‘yes’, and how to correctly ‘watch’ a performance while on set.
- How best to prepare before production, including navigating scene work, the read-through, and rehearsal process.
- Dealing with shot lists, and creating a schedule while keeping your actors’ needs in mind.
- How best to handle walkthroughs and blocking and when to use stand-ins.
- The best ways to interact with actors on set, including how to meet with them ahead of time.
- How to carry yourself and speak while on set.
- Offer tips on how to work with non-actors, including children and animals.
- How to use improvisation.
- Strategies for solving problems that occur on set, including how to identify a weak performance.
- When to move on and circle back, and how to decide what you really need to move forward.